Friday, February 21

Student journalism keeps older hearts young

Over the last two years there have been numerous occasions when
I have felt like an old fart.

Whether I was sitting in a classroom discussion or working late
into the night in the Daily Bruin office, there have been seemingly
endless reminders that I am just a little too old to still be in
college. Anyone here who has taken a number of years off before
finishing his or her degree knows what I’m talking about.

These are the moments when you stop by a party, only to leave
immediately to run to the store so you can have something to drink
aside from boxed wine or discount vodka. Or when someone you had
considered a peer expresses shock and dismay at the fact that you
were born in the 1970s. Or when you find yourself, frighteningly,
uttering the words “when I was your age.”

The truth is, I’m not really that much older than most
UCLA undergraduates. It’s just that for some reason the
difference between 19 and 24 can feel even bigger than the
difference between annual tuition fees from one year to the

For the most part, this feeling doesn’t have much to do
with relative maturity. My two years on this campus have given me
the opportunity to get to know some of the hardest-working,
interesting, passionate and, yes, wise young people one could ever
hope to meet. Most of them, I am proud to say, work right here
alongside me at the Daily Bruin.

With graduation day creeping closer, I have finally come to
terms with what has really made me occasionally feel so ancient,
and similar to how most things seem to work out in my life, this
realization has come embarrassingly late.

To be honest, I think I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I
might be a gigantic loser. Deep down I feared that my years away
from school in the working world had indeed made me different, but
not, as I had hoped, in a good way. Instead, I was like some sad
female version of Van Wilder, except I wasn’t having nearly
as much fun.

But a little over a week ago, the work that I have done for the
Daily Bruin, both individually and collectively with my amazing
staff, was recognized in a small ceremony. Even though I’ve
never been much for awards, I have to admit it changed everything
for me.

I may finally be graduating from college, but it is a far
greater accomplishment that I have managed to leave the smallest of
marks on this newspaper.

The long and often rocky path I have taken to get through school
has come to an end, and with it my time at the Daily Bruin has come
to a close.

I am certainly proud of earning a degree, but it was through my
many hours of work as a student journalist that most of my real
education took place.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of my
time here. You are the reason why I am now able to look to the
future with hope and to feel, at this exciting and terrifying
crossroad in my life, so incredibly young.

Mathis was the 2003-2004 Arts & Entertainment

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.