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Leaving Kerckhoff 118 with a legacy of in-the-moment memories -30-

(Anika Chakrabarti/Assistant Photo editor)

By Sam Connon

June 6, 2021 4:39 p.m.

Since I started at the Daily Bruin, I’ve been thinking about what I would put in my farewell column.

It’s been almost four years, and I still don’t know how to come at this one.

Ironically, I have over 550 bylines for the Bruin, have blazed my way through countless instant wraps and handled quick turnarounds with ease. I’ve written articles from McDonald’s parking lots and thought up column ideas in bed at 2 a.m.

This piece is obviously very different from the rest though, and I don’t know if I should make this into some sob story, call to action, jokey riff or something in between. For the longest time, I’ve always seen this column as the most important thing I’ll ever write for the Daily Bruin – the last article to populate my author page, my final mark on an organization that has meant so much to me over the years.

I guess my time at the Daily Bruin can be summed up with one word: legacy.

I can attribute that mostly to David Gottlieb, who was the Sports editor my freshman year. He pulled me aside right as I finished training and told me he expected big things out of me. While that was a lot of pressure right out of the gate, it felt good to have mentors like David, Kelsey Angus, Melissa Zhang, Nick Yekikian and Ryan Smith believing in me from the start.

David created an insanely competitive environment in the Sports section, and that was just what I thought I needed. I spent most of my freshman year racing my women’s basketball beat partner Joy Hong to the 50-story mark – she beat me there, but we became great friends regardless.

It was a cutthroat year from start to finish, coming to a head in a hotly contested battle for the assistant editor openings. I made some of my best friends through the whole process, but will admit I did some things I regret – all to maximize my ceiling in the paper.

Once I was an assistant Sports editor, I fought tooth and nail to get spots on the football and men’s basketball beats so I could fully prepare myself for being Sports editor the following year. Once I had settled in as Sports editor, I spent a good chunk of the year getting ready to run for editor in chief the year after that.

It was all about the bigger picture for me – writing more stories than anyone else, hiring the best people around me and making a lasting impact on my section and the paper as a whole. In those respects, I did everything I set out to do.

But then midway through my junior year, as I was interviewing editors to see how to shape my editor-in-chief platform, I hit a wall. I took a few days to think things over and I realized I was sick of fighting my way up the ladder. I was sick of always looking five steps ahead.

I decided not to run for editor in chief my senior year, and I made peace with that. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the future of college sports was left up in the air and I decided not to run it back as Sports editor either.

As much as I loved calling the shots, the first few weeks of quarantine made me realize I had been over-prioritizing power and control in my semiprofessional life.

So to everyone I’ve taken under my wing or who has followed in my footsteps, all I have to say is make the most of every chance you get, but never forget to live in the moment.

I spent a lot of time looking forward, thinking about what I was going to do next and how it would affect the way people viewed me one, two or 10 years down the line. I regret nothing, but taking this past year to focus on writing and enjoying myself has shown me that my legacy at the Daily Bruin will reach far beyond the infoboxes I standardized, what wound up in print or the late-night battles I waged over every last detail in every last article.

My legacy can be the trips I took to San Francisco and Phoenix with Ryan, Joy, Gabe McCarthy and Angie Forburger, or Ben Bolch’s wild Christmas party for the UCLA beat writers. It can also be about the weekend retreats I went on with Jacqueline Dzwonczyk, Jared Tay and Jason Maikis, as well as all the times I went to the movies with EJ Panaligan, Kristin Snyder, Paige Hua, Jack Perez, Jacob Preal or Raunak Devjani.

I don’t know exactly where I’ll go in my career, but I can say with confidence that my time in Kerckhoff 118 has prepared me for whatever comes next – both in a professional and personal capacity.

The Daily Bruin will always have a piece of my heart, and I’m so lucky to have found this place to become my best self, surrounded by the greatest collection of student journalists on the planet.

Connon was a Sports contributor and reporter 2017-2018, assistant Sports editor 2018-2019, Sports editor 2019-2020 and senior staff 2020-2021.

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Sam Connon | Alumnus
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
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