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Overcoming adversity, impostor syndrome to find my place at the Daily Bruin -30-

Megan Fu stands for a portrait. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

By Megan Fu

June 11, 2023 10:05 p.m.

My first Daily Bruin article never made it off the cutting room floor.

After being hired as a part of PRIME magazine’s first intern class, I poured my heart into writing a rather subpar story about UCLA’s Korean American Student Association Dance Off. It was a far cry from Daily Bruin standards, yet somehow I was still shocked when it never got published. This discouragement did not help the seed of doubt already forming in my mind: I did not belong here.

I remember dreading going to the office. My fellow interns seemed so much more capable than me, pitching stories worthy of The New Yorker, while I was still figuring out what a nut graf was. Their journalistic prowess intimidated me to the point that I would purposely lag behind in the office after section meetings to avoid socializing on the way back to the Hill.

But I eventually found my voice as a writer – publishing stories that felt true to myself, including a profile about a student OnlyFans creator, a couple of mini-graphic novels and a story documenting my first experience with rave culture. However, just as I found my footing, the rug was pulled out from under me as I stumbled into the role of PRIME art director.

As I was trying to figure out how to spend my last year at The Bruin, I never seriously considered the idea of editorship. In my mind, I was too much of a storyteller rather than a reporter to be a good fit for a content editor, and I was too much of a writer rather than an artist to be a competent art director.

But after a little push from PRIME patron saint Justin Huwe, I applied and somehow landed the job. Maybe it was because my background as both a writer and an artist afforded me an intimate understanding of the two realms I was meant to bridge. Or maybe it was because the role was uncontested, and I was quite literally the only option.

Either way, I was the least qualified art director PRIME has ever had – or at least it felt that way. My predecessors were all either Design or Illustrations directors with strong backgrounds in either field. I was first and foremost a writer who did the occasional illustration. I downloaded Adobe InDesign the day I got the job. Once again, I felt like a fraud.

Production week of our fall 2022 issue was a nightmare. I will never forget desperately messaging Tang and Maya on Slack the day before I had to compile the magazine, begging them to help me redesign some questionable spreads. Tears were shed. Designs were scrapped. But after what felt like the most stressful week of my life, the magazine managed to hit the stands. And then again winter quarter. And then one final time this spring.

Every magazine encapsulates not only the writers’, artists’ and editors’ hours of dedicated work but also that of every single person who lent me a lifeline along the way. To anyone to whom I’ve promised my firstborn child after you saved the fate of the magazine somehow – whether that was doing a last-minute photoshoot, teaching me how to use InDesign or pacifying me with a margarita at Barney’s – thank you. To the future of PRIME, as devastated as I am to leave, I could not be more confident in your abilities to take the section to new heights. I will be cheering you on every quarter.

And finally, to Abi and Megan, my rocks throughout this whirlwind ride, there would be no PRIME without you two. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, seeing your beaming smiles in the office instantly reassured me that everything was going to be OK. I will miss having you both just one Slack away.

While leading section meetings alongside Abi and Megan this year, witnessing our interns giggle and trade silly anecdotes made me think back to the scared freshman who felt so out of place in the same stuffy ads office. I can’t help being sad about what I missed out on, but I’m overwhelmingly proud of how far I’ve come and the camaraderie I’ve helped cultivate. I finally found my place.

Although my first story will never see the light of day, I’m consoled by the countless others I’ve helped bring to life this past year.

Fu was a PRIME staff writer 2019-2022, Arts contributor 2020-2022, Illustrations contributor 2020-2023 and PRIME art director 2022-2023.

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Megan Fu | PRIME art director
Fu is the 2022-2023 PRIME art director. Previously, she was a PRIME staff writer and a contributor for Arts and Illustrations. She is also a fourth-year English student minoring in linguistics and cognitive science.
Fu is the 2022-2023 PRIME art director. Previously, she was a PRIME staff writer and a contributor for Arts and Illustrations. She is also a fourth-year English student minoring in linguistics and cognitive science.
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