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Personal Daily Bruin role models inspired me to create community for others -30-

Lauren Ho stands for a portrait. (Megan Cai/Assistant Photo editor)

By Lauren Ho

June 4, 2022 7:51 p.m.

All day, I had been hyper aware of just how awkward I felt. My mouth hurt from weirdly grinning at all the other incoming students around me in an effort to seem nice and cool. It was so hot. I felt sweaty. Everywhere. I regretted every life decision I had made that led me to the unfortunate situation of New Student Orientation in the 95 F August heat. Now, it was time to talk about classes with my New Student Advisor. Great!

Looking up at the walls of my advisor Claire’s dorm room, I forgot about all that. Maybe it had a little to do with the air conditioning in her shared plaza. But I think my new peace of mind was mostly a result of the beautiful art – golden seascapes, lush forests, boundless mountain ranges I saw hanging on Claire’s walls.

“Wow, you drew those?”

“Yeah!” Claire said.

Claire told me she was an illustrator for the Daily Bruin. Some of the pieces in her room were purely her own, outcomes of the itches inside her brain that pushed her to create. Others, like this groovy Dance Marathon piece, came out of her role at The Bruin. I thought it was so neat that I would soon be surrounded by classmates as talented and wonderful as Claire.

With the idea of the Daily Bruin marinating in my brain for the following two months, I submitted an application to the Design section in early October. Much to my own surprise, the Design editors accepted me, even after I forgot how to use words and had an awkward staring match with Ed, the director interviewing me. I would soon find out that, funnily enough, one of the assistant Design directors was Callista Wu, Claire’s best friend.

These two, whom I affectionately both call “mom,” became integral parts of my UCLA experience. They made the office feel like a comfortable place where I could find respite from failed 31B midterms, annoying Bruin Walk hecklers and the Los Angeles sunshine. (I really don’t like the heat.) They provided thoughtful, articulate life and class planning advice and emotional support, mostly in the form of funny chihuahua photos. They opened their apartment doors and huge, cushy L-shaped sectional to me in the summer of 2019, when I needed to be in Westwood for editor training but before dorms on the Hill opened for move in. Callista and Claire were some of the first people I had met at UCLA, and although they probably saw me as just another student or designer at the time, knowing them really made all the difference to me.

Progressing through the roles of assistant Design director and then Design director, I strove to create the Daily Bruin experiences Callista and Claire gave me for those around me. Meeting new designers became my favorite thing, and whenever others would shadow my print shifts, I would hope for their futures in Design to be as fun and fulfilling as mine had been thus far. I think my efforts and Callista’s and Claire’s positive examples paid off because I’m leaving UCLA and the Daily Bruin with so much genuine friendship and so much pride in the legacy we’ve built.

Callista and Claire – thanks for making the Daily Bruin home. I’ve really missed your presence this past year, and I will always look up to you. I’m so proud of you for achieving all that you have since graduating, and I hope I can continue to make you proud.

Sam and Sophie – thank you for acting as big-sister figures to me. You were always there for hugs in the corners of gross parties whenever I felt sad or for advice about which ecology and evolutionary biology classes were the best (or about how MIMG was the worst major at UCLA).

Benny and Indya – being stuck inside for about a year and a half was the worst, but you two made it so much better. It always made my week to chat with you both over Zoom, and I really love you a lot.

Maya and Rachel – thank you so much for your support this year. I am thoroughly impressed with how well you handled the transition from remote to in person, and I hope you were able to have some fun in the office. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know you two, and Design is in amazing hands.

To everyone in the office, including the puppies – thanks for being the reason I continued with The Bruin all four years. You each have contributed something special to my time at UCLA, and I’ll miss you.

Ho was a Design contributor 2018-2019, assistant Design director 2019-2021 and Design director 2021-2022.

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