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IN THE NEWS:

Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

How the Daily Bruin helped me discover the meaning of perseverance amid setbacks -30-

(Anika Chakrabarti/Assistant Photo editor)

By Kalysa To

June 6, 2021 4:54 p.m.

The first time I applied to the Daily Bruin, I was rejected.

My online application was rebuffed with an email. No phone calls, no interviews – I didn’t even make it past the first stage.

The second time I applied to the Daily Bruin, I was rejected.

This time, I managed to actually snag an interview. After scheduling it, I spent hours scouring the Daily Bruin website and, as an unsure underclassman, researching interview tips. At the time of my interview, I sat in the lobby of Kerckhoff 118 for over half an hour, hands slightly shaky, heart pounding, waiting fruitlessly for my interviewer to greet me. I stared at the clock as the minutes ticked past my scheduled interview time. I watched person after person leave the room as I remained seated, still waiting for my interviewer.

In the end, after frantic unanswered emails to my interviewer and one successful attempt to catch the attention of a staffer who was walking through the door, I finally entered the newsroom. I completed the process over half an hour later than scheduled with another person who was pulled from their work to hold a makeshift interview with me.

Despite the hope I tried to keep afloat, I was unsurprised to receive my second rejection. And despite my lack of surprise, I still felt dejected and disappointed when I once again received a rejection email. The Daily Bruin was the first opportunity I had to take part in journalism, and there was something so compelling about the field’s relentless pursuit of the truth that had appealed to me for years. Another rejection felt so dishearteningly resounding, a conclusive end to my journalistic dreams.

When applications for the News team were released the following quarter, I approached them with hesitation. My previous two rejections were at the top of my mind, plaguing me with doubts and causing me to wonder whether it would be worthwhile to spend another couple of hours filling out a new application for what would likely be yet another rejection.

Yet, just as my doubt reached its pinnacle, I opened the Daily Bruin website and could not stop myself from opening article after article. I read story after story, line after line. And it was on that website, among reports of breaking news and album reviews, that I realized this was an opportunity I could not give up on. The prospect of contributing to an outlet that was so deeply connected with the UCLA community was an opportunity I had to continue pursuing. There was something so profoundly compelling to me about seeking stories and uncovering the truth – and the Daily Bruin made those feats possible.

With newfound determination and a fresh sense of optimism, I submitted my third application to contribute to the News team.

A few weeks later, following a successful interview, I finally received my first acceptance from the Daily Bruin.

This story of my repeated attempts to apply to report for the newspaper taught me about the power of perseverance and persistence. Looking back, these lessons represent my time in the newsroom. Whether it is through pitching stories, contacting sources or making edits as a reporter, working for the Daily Bruin has been a lesson in determination and tenacity. It’s getting shot down and finding the courage to start over, continuously growing and improving, looking at multiple shut doors and still summoning the energy to search for one that will open. The journey is a difficult and draining one, but ultimately one that is empowering and rewarding. There might not be a stress quite like typing away furiously to finish a draft before a deadline, but there is also no exhilaration quite like seeing your story on the front page of a Daily Bruin issue.

Throughout my time here, I’ve interviewed professors and students; I’ve attended conferences and meetings; I’ve written and reported. I have gotten to interact with various niches within the UCLA community, to become more familiar with the many organizations on campus, to learn about our university and its population on a more extensive, profound level. I am so grateful that I decided to submit my final application to the Daily Bruin and am incredibly proud that I’ve gotten to call myself a Daily Bruin reporter for the past few years because the memories I’ve made and experiences I’ve had are irreplaceable. I’ll miss the restless energy of a buzzing newsroom, the excitement of seeing an article come to life and all of the stories I’ve heard from the many sources I’ve interacted with over the years.

And so, as I prepare to let go of the source of many sleepless nights, I hold tight to the facets of my Daily Bruin experience that will remain with me.

Throughout my amazing years of reporting, what I’ve learned is this: Make the most out of any opportunity that comes your way. Search for truth. Remain driven. Persevere.

To was a News contributor 2019-2020, News reporter 2020-2021 and News staff in 2021.

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