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College was full of mistakes, but joining the Daily Bruin was not one of them -30-

(Daily Bruin staff)

By Rachel Wong

June 7, 2019 11:43 p.m.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes during my time here at UCLA.

Some of these mistakes were short-lived, and some will likely follow me for years to come. Much of my regret was a culmination of these mistakes, but looking back, I can locate the source of it all: uncertainty.

I spent four years walking up and down UCLA, from home to deep South Campus, in a haze of doubt. In retrospect, I probably should have paused, taken a step back and really considered where my path was headed. Instead, I was spellbound by the lukewarm promise of a successful future and overwhelmed by the certainty exhibited by my closest friends and peers – people who seemed to have found their calling.

I wanted that too, and I suppose I managed to find a glimmer of it.

Daily Bruin was my first and most consistent certainty in college. I joined the organization in fall of my first year, as a bright-eyed girl who loved her high school English classes with a passion, but didn’t actually know anything about copy-editing. And now, here I am – graduating after serving a year as the assistant Copy chief and spending the entirety of my undergraduate career with The Bruin.

My trek from the apartments to Kerckhoff Hall 118 was a path I memorized – physically and emotionally. When it came to the newspaper, I knew where I was going – a little enclave I had burrowed into because it felt safe, because I had managed to call that dirty, forsaken office home. The feeling was foreign but welcome, and if I ever seemed aloof or quiet in the office, it was because I didn’t know how to perform in social situations, not because I wasn’t enjoying myself.

I’m not content-trained, but I can still write. So, here are the words I didn’t know how to vocalize.

To the copy editors and leadership of old, you all made me the person I am now. I like to think I internalized bits and pieces of the Daily Bruin copy editors I admired, and I hope that in doing so, I have done justice to their legacies. The Bruin has been formative in my transition from a young adult to a slightly older young adult, and I can only thank previous Copy leadership for welcoming me aboard, year after year.

To all the stars of Copy who stuck with us through the good and the bad, the strikes and the socials – you have all been integral to the strength of the section, and it has been incredibly heartwarming seeing all of you grow into the editors you are now. Regardless if you decide to stay for another year, thank you for your contributions, and I hope each of you take a little bit from your time with Copy into future endeavors. For those who will be slot editors and staff next year, brace yourselves. I would be lying if I said it’s going to be easy, but have faith in your abilities; you have such an important job for the paper, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If there’s anyone suited for catching poor, insensitive wording at 2 a.m., it’s you!

To my wife Anush Khatri and the slot editors of the 2018-2019 term, thank you for giving me, section dad, a phenomenal year. I’m definitely not perfect, but you have all, in different capacities, managed to fill the spaces in which I am lacking. I can honestly say that I have never felt such a warm and driven team supporting me from the wings. Copy leadership this past year has taught me so much, from how to be a dependable and compassionate person, to how to breathe when some huge production error falls on your shoulders. In some ways, college has destroyed me as a person, but when we’re in that pretentious conference room joking about someone’s boundless love for Hawaii or someone’s odd obsession with “Pokemon Detective Pikachu,” I realize I’ve found small comforts in the path I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes during my time here at UCLA, but I know with certainty that Daily Bruin was not one of them. There are a lot of people in this institution – in Copy and beyond – who have given me something, whether it be perspective, happiness, pride or respect. Here’s to a not-so-grand four years and the golden memories I’ll be bringing with me to the next chapter of my life. I’m going to miss hearing “hummus!” whenever I get a notification.

Wong was a Copy contributor 2015-2016, Copy staff 2016-2017, slot editor 2017-2018, and assistant Copy chief and Illustrations contributor 2018-2019.

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Rachel Wong
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