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Still Matters - The New Girl
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Hello, Escalon, Oakdale, and Riverbank. I am the new girl at the Oakdale Leader office. You may have seen my name on a few different articles, pictures, or both in various issues. Or by now, you may have even met me in person.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself. I am a California native, born and raised. I grew up in the Central Valley and have had the pleasure of calling Stockton, Farmington, and Escalon my home. I am married and have an amazing family, immediate and extended.

I don't think that starting a new job is easy for anyone. Even if it is something you are really excited about. Journalism is my heart and passion. I was so excited after Marg Jackson called and offered me a position as a staff reporter for the Oakdale-Escalon-Riverbank papers. On the phone, we discussed a few job specifics and the day that I would start. Afterwards, I couldn't help but think about the new adventure that I was about to embark on and the fascinating people that I would be crossing paths with. The thoughts were flowing in, which led me to think about the office environment and my soon-to-be colleagues. Would we get along? Will I be welcomed? Will I fit in? Will I catch on with policies and procedures, quickly?

I have now been with the Oakdale Leader since October and the days just seem to be flying by. Although the newness is still lingering it is almost gone. The transition has just felt natural. Also, I am happy to report that the office welcomed me with warmth and open arms. The editorial department has been accessible and has given me some gems of advice. In the first few weeks, my colleagues were so kind to invite me to a lunch outing. And I couldn't have asked for a better boss. My editor, Marg is very patient and shares her knowledge and experience with me on a regular basis.

Being the new girl, I have had some blunders and I am still in the learning process. So working with people that are patient and willing to teach, is all I could hope for. Even if I do cause a stir of chuckles when I ask silly things like, asking about their 'special book' of contacts, when they were actually just talking about the phone book. In my defense, you would have had to be here to hear the whole conversation and its circumstance. Or when I made coffee for the first time and put in way too many scoops of grounds. All I kept hearing was "who made the coffee?" in a not so fun tone. I will admit, it was a bit strong. Those were just to name a few. Although being new is not too bad when people are willing to train you and give you a chance to figure it out.

I have been fortunate to cover stories in all three communities. Some of the stories have been political, regarding charities, or entertaining, either way they all have been important experiences. I have big shoes to fill with the departure of John Branch and Kim Van Meter. They both have a long legacy with the newspaper and have left their mark. I was very pleased to have met both of them and will never forget the words of wisdom that they have both given me.

This experience so far has been fun, surprising, and filled with information. I plan to continue to grow, be an asset to the editorial department and really get to know three fantastic communities. I have realized that you are never too old to start something new and dreams do come true. Sometimes it just takes a little faith, believing in yourself, and the strength to keep trying. In my reality, it all still matters.

Virginia Still is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.