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Bruins in Paris

How the Daily Bruin gave me a place to call home -30-

Anushka Chakrabarti stands for a portrait. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

By Anushka Chakrabarti

June 11, 2023 10:08 p.m.

Home is a hard word for me.

I grew up moving almost every four years. It was hard being in a new country or state every few years, trying to integrate into the culture and lifestyle.

Yet, from the first time I stepped into the Daily Bruin office, it strangely felt like home.

If I’m being honest, during my junior year I spent more time at the Daily Bruin office than my apartment, but it was beyond the physical presence of Kerckhoff that welcomed me. Every time I met someone at the paper, I felt a sense of belonging.

I was pleasantly surprised to find so many other similarities with people from vastly different backgrounds. Growing up I’d always focused on how different I was from those around me but the people here taught me how to find lifelong connections in our similarities.

It’s now funny to think that I almost didn’t apply to the Daily Bruin because I didn’t think I would get into News. I can’t even imagine my college experience without this paper.

The Bruin taught me to be disciplined, work hard and stand up for myself. It also gave me a lens to connect with this giant campus. I spoke to hundreds of people and built connections here that I never would have had the opportunity to make otherwise. Of course, without the Bruin I also would have never met my best friends.

I will never forget the sheer shock I felt when an AP reporter emailed me verifying sourcing information for a breaking news story, or the joy I felt when a source emailed me stating that my 6-month long investigation had led to real change being made in their department. Those experiences made all the hours and the hard work worth it in the end.

But, my experience wasn’t all great.

Joining as a wintern cross-trainer in News, I had initially planned for editorship the following year. However, with News’ ever-notorious editor turnover, I found myself as the assistant News editor for the science and health beat within my first year at the paper.

Being the science and health editor during the COVID-19 pandemic was far from an easy experience.

I remember crying during my first week on the job, feeling like I was constantly drowning and like I was talking to a brick wall whenever I asked my supervisor anything beyond how Camayak worked. However, my editorship did give me a few fun new skills, like responding to Slack messages in my sleep.

After that tumultuous experience as assistant editor, I did not plan on becoming News editor. However, the more I reflected on my difficult experiences, the more I realized that all I had needed was a support system. A support system I could build if I was top editor.

But, The Bruin just couldn’t let me have an easy transition. This paper seems to love throwing me into a cycle of DIY training because the week after I was hired as top editor, the previous top editor left the paper. Beyond a few passwords to PACER and the News email, I was – once again – on my own.

Despite the difficulties, as I write this column I realize that I grew more than I could have anywhere else because of the Daily Bruin. I learned how to make and grow from my mistakes, I learned how to stand up for myself and most importantly, I learned how to build a community within my own section.

In my year as News top, I watched my assistant editors grow and flourish. They kept me grounded throughout my year as News editor and I just hope that I was a better top editor for them than the one I had as an assistant editor. Whether it was our late-night Denny’s runs after something traumatic happened (again), or it was just them being there to listen, I want to say thank you to Christine, Justin, Constanza and Victoria for being there with me every step of the way and helping News grow.

I want to give a big thank you to Christine for always being there during the difficult moments of the job and for changing my mind when I almost resigned. And Maanas, I would have never met you if not for this paper and now you’re like family. I am so grateful you stepped up to become the city and crime editor in a moment of need – even though you claimed that you would never be an assistant News editor.

I also want to thank the other friends I’ve made at the Daily Bruin – Saumya, Kyle, Kari and many more – the faces I would and continue to look for when I step into Kerckhoff.

At the end of the day, the Daily Bruin gave me a place to grow. I wrote some of my most meaningful articles for the News team and I hope that for future generations, the paper continues to be a place to grow. I hope that as the new editors and interns come in, they learn as much as I did and more. I hope that they find as much value in the windowless office as I did.

Thank you Kerckhoff 118 for finally giving me a place I can call home.

Chakrabarti was an Online contributor in 2019, News contributor 2020-2021, science and health editor 2020-2021, News editor 2021-2022 and News senior staff 2022-2023.

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Anushka Chakrabarti | News editor
Chakrabarti is currently the 2021-2022 News editor. She was previously the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the science and health beat, and she was a former contributor for online. She is also a third-year mathematics and economics student at UCLA.
Chakrabarti is currently the 2021-2022 News editor. She was previously the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the science and health beat, and she was a former contributor for online. She is also a third-year mathematics and economics student at UCLA.
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