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Stretching beyond bylines, my best moments in Daily Bruin Arts were intangible -30-

Vivian Xu stands for a portrait. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

By Vivian Xu

June 11, 2023 9:25 p.m.

Before I go to sleep every night, I write in a journal.

The entries vary in their content and prose, but my primary motivation for this nightly ritual is to keep a detailed record of my life. Knowing this, I’m sure you can infer a lot about me. But if making inferences isn’t your strong suit, then here’s what you need to know: I’m meticulous, I’m persistent and I’ll be damned if I don’t see a task through.

Unsurprisingly, this combination of personality traits is what propelled me to write for the Daily Bruin in the first place. To be part of an organization that produces tangible products of your efforts every single day? Sign me up.

So naturally, once I leapt over the initial hurdle of applying into the Arts section, I hit the ground running. In my first year as a contributor, I churned out as many features as I could with hopes of being promoted to reporter by the end of the year. In addition to reaching reporter, I became Music | Fine Arts editor the following year, in which I doggedly strove to finalize my story ideas no later than Monday of each week. And after I took the reins as Arts editor, I was always finding ways to innovate and optimize, whether that be through expediting our workflow or branching into covering new realms of entertainment.

As I had expected, the Daily Bruin’s on-the-go culture of producing daily content brought me immense gratification. Regardless of where I stood in the ranks of the paper, the swell of pride when I watched my list of bylines grow longer or saw an Arts spread in print yielded a satisfying sense of accomplishment. For me, the sacrifices that came with being deeply embedded in a daily newspaper were worth all the concrete rewards that the experience produced.

But everything I didn’t expect to gain from the Daily Bruin has been entirely intangible.

There aren’t metrics for quantifying the giddiness I’ve felt after an enlightening interview in which I resonated deeply with the source, whether we were discussing representation in film or art as a medium for social commentary. Nor is there a means of measuring the elation I’ve experienced when making minimal edits on a stellar first draft, where each crafted sentence reflected the care poured into the piece.

And now that I’m more than a year removed from my editorship days, it’s striking to me that all I do recall fondly are the intangibles. Frankly, I couldn’t tell you how many stories I have to my name, and I certainly couldn’t tell you the number of articles that have passed through my eyes as an editor. The numerous Excel spreadsheets and WordPress guides I’ve created are murky in my mind, and the strict print deadlines I once adhered to are now arbitrary to me.

But here is what I do remember.

I remember the exhilarating adrenaline rush of racing against the clock to turn in concert wraps from inside the Coachella press tent. I remember the pulsating beat of my heart as I tried to calm myself down before conducting red carpet interviews at the Sundance Film Festival. And, of course, I remember the friendships that have persevered outside the newsroom, resulting in visits to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and splurging on sushi by the waterfront in Vancouver, Canada.

To my big sisters Alyson Kong, Paige Hua and Yasmin Madjidi, I wouldn’t have made it through my first year of editorship or the COVID-19 pandemic without your quips and guidance. Thank you for being the technicolor splash against the bleakness of a remote school year.

To my soul sisters Isabella Durgin, Janice Yun and Zinnia Finn, there are no others who would have been able to match your dedication, empathy and insight. Thank you for fearlessly helming the Arts ship with me and riding through waves both turbulent and tranquil.

To my friends outside my Arts family, my experience wouldn’t have been complete without you. Thank you for all the adventures, from cutting class to cover a men’s volleyball match in La Jolla to packing seven people in a compact car to catch the sunrise at Big Bear Lake.

At the end of the day, my nightly journal entries aren’t filled with records of how many retweets each one of my articles has gotten, nor do they contain an annotated list of all the celebrities I’ve interviewed. Rather, the memories in my journal consist of the nebulous in-between: the intangible thrills, joys and laughter that being a part of this newspaper has gifted me.

So, to the Daily Bruin – thank you for giving me something worth writing about.

Xu was an Arts reporter 2019-2020, Music | Fine Arts editor 2020-2021, Arts editor 2021-2022 and Arts senior staff 2022-2023

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Vivian Xu | Daily Bruin senior staff
Xu is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment. She previously served as the Arts editor from 2021-2022, the Music | Fine Arts editor from 2020-2021 and an Arts reporter from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and anthropology student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Xu is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment. She previously served as the Arts editor from 2021-2022, the Music | Fine Arts editor from 2020-2021 and an Arts reporter from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and anthropology student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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