I’m not good at remembering things.
I didn’t think much of it when I joined the Daily Bruin. I applied on what was basically a whim a second before the deadline for applications closed and probably didn’t read the paper until the day of my interview. It wasn’t a prominent start to something I’d end up spending the greater part of my last year at UCLA doing.
The time between then and becoming an assistant editor was a blur of columns, pitches and edits. I can’t recall anything much more specific than that.
I don’t mean to be cliche, but I honestly didn’t think I’d ever become an editor. I started this job thinking I didn’t deserve it – and who am I to say I did? I don’t think I was the strongest writer, the most opinionated person or the most dynamic personality in the Opinion section. I was in all of these categories what I had been in most aspects of my life: average.
But I cared about the job. I loved and love the Opinion section in more ways than words can say, so I won’t even try.
I do have to admit though – being an assistant editor wasn’t as idyllic as I wanted it to be. There’s a lot of things that I wish didn’t happen, things that I could’ve done differently and words I wish I hadn’t kept to myself. I’ve left this office crying in frustration more than I’ll probably admit to anyone.
I wish I had known a lot of things then. I wish I had known there’s absolutely no one dumber than someone who thinks they’ve learned everything. I wish I had known your reputation is everything – it’s something that can make or break you. And I wish I had known that second-guessing yourself, no matter how naturally it might come, only means that other people will too.
If I’m honest, I spent a long time wishing I acted on that advice.
In one of my moments of frustration, someone asked me to remember the reason I do all the work that I do – our readers. And he was right. A big part of why I spent as many hours as I did in the office grueling over columns was so we could give our readers a quality Opinion page.
But if I’m honest, that’s only one of my reasons, not the main one.
The things I do remember clearly are the good things about the Daily Bruin: the writers whose articles I’ve enjoyed editing, the editors I loved working alongside, the columns I enjoyed writing and the paper we somehow always managed to get out every day.
I remember my columnists, who I want thank for all of the time and dedication they’ve put into this paper. They were who I cared the most about helping during my time here and I can only hope that I did a decent job. You are all intelligent and highly capable writers – keep doing your best.
And I remember my fellow Opinion editors, who know more than anyone the hours that go into making this page. Thank you to my counterpart, Omar Said – you made me want to pull my hair out more times than I can count but you’re a little brother to me whether you like it or not. And thank you to Keshav Tadimeti, who taught me what it means to be not just a good editor but also a good person.
I spent long hours in this office, more than I probably needed to, because I always knew I only had a year here. I wanted to make it count. Now, with my time as an editor coming to a close, there’s still a lot more I wish I could’ve done – columns I wish I could’ve written, sources I wish I could’ve spoken to, writers I wish I could’ve helped just a little bit more.
But what we did this year was a lot.
I know there have been highs and lows. But we did amazing work and I’ve enjoyed toiling alongside the people in this office all year.
And that’s something worth remembering.
Gasparyan was an Opinion columnist in 2017-2018, News contributor in 2017-2018, assistant Opinion editor in 2018-2019 and editorial board member in 2018-2019.