Reporting on the arts gave purpose, meaning to my time at UCLA -30-
(Anika Chakrabarti/Assistant Photo editor)
By Alyson Kong
June 6, 2021 4:58 p.m.
Landing at the Daily Bruin is perhaps the most serendipitous plot twist in my college chapter.
I was comfortable but not content in my first three years at UCLA, struggling to find an enduring purpose I can wholeheartedly pursue and flourish in. With no journalism experience under my belt and a carpe diem attitude, I decided to apply to be an Arts reporter on a whim halfway into my third year. I clearly remember the elation of receiving that acceptance email in Powell Library, reading it multiple times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
But that was only the first taste of what was to come and, looking back, I was not prepared in the slightest. My first article will always be the most memorable as I came to realize I’m responsible not only to myself but to the sources, readers and editors when it comes to doing the story justice.
And with that sense of gravitas in mind, I went into the process full-out, spending hours and hours transcribing and carefully picking the right words. Penning this column feels a bit like deja vu as I’m constantly revising my phrasing. Though to be fair, I don’t think I’ll ever be wholly satisfied in capturing my time at the Daily Bruin through words alone.
This experience has taught me so much, and I don’t think I’ll ever look at an article again without remarking on its sentence structure and punctuation. The Daily Bruin really pulled back the curtain for what goes into journalism, allowing me to see a whole team of dedicated college students who inevitably swept me up in their passion. And after seeing my name on the byline for the first time, I decided right then and there to apply to be the theater | film | television editor.
In retrospect, transitioning to an editor after only a quarter of writing is unequivocally the hardest yet most rewarding character-building process in my life thus far. From the chaotic remote transition to my beat’s dried-up sourcing, it was rough going at the start and didn’t get much easier afterward. But I would not have made it here today without the guidance and support of my Arts editors past and present.
A huge thanks to my amazing Arts editor squad this year: Vivian Xu, Yasmin Madjidi and Paige Hua. You have been my pillar of strength through this year’s ups and downs, and I will forever treasure the laughs and tears we shared along the way. I could not have asked for a better and more consistent team while a pandemic has been upending the status quo in every way possible.
Though I have not had the chance to mingle outside the Arts circle due to the remote setting, I also want to acknowledge the amazing work all the contributors, editors and management have been doing to keep this organization running and improving.
There is very little I regret about my time at UCLA but joining the Daily Bruin so late into college would be one of them. This organization has been a constant source of inspiration and growth for me as a writer and individual. The amazing people I’ve gotten to work and realize my visions with will always stay with me as I close this chapter in my life.
To my parents who said it’s not worth pursuing the arts, being a TFT editor has shown me just the opposite. The incredible stories of creatives I’ve had the honor to pitch and publish demonstrate just how impactful and meaningful these works can be.
As my reflections come to an end, this column is every bit the bittersweet goodbye I was dreading as spring quarter turned around, but it’s cathartic in the best way too. The Daily Bruin has challenged and expanded my limits, and I never felt more prepared to begin my ascent to the next proverbial mountaintop.
And to top off this simp of an article with even more cheese, the friends you make along the way are really the best part of the journey.
Kong was an Arts contributor in 2020 and News contributor and theater | film | television editor 2020-2021.