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Through countless ups and downs, my Daily Bruin peers made the hard work worth it -30-

Megan Tagami stands for a portrait. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

By Megan Tagami

June 11, 2023 9:39 p.m.

In all honesty, I didn’t think I would make it past my training as a News intern.

It was November 2020, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and I was on the verge of leaving the Daily Bruin Slack workspace and never looking back. My first story – a feature on professors raising children during the COVID-19 pandemic – had just changed angles, requiring me to ask one of my sources for a third interview in two weeks. As a second-year student who felt embarrassed speaking up and asking questions during office hours, I was ready to call it quits.

But I was already spending my sophomore year at home, over 2,000 miles and an ocean away from campus. In a year when online learning and Zoom calls with friends replaced in-person lectures and unforgettable memories in a crowded dorm room, I wanted to minimize my regrets as much as possible. And so I promised myself that I could quit the Daily Bruin – as long as I got one story published.

Almost two years later, I’ve written many more stories, and I’ve never been more grateful that I stayed.

As an aspiring journalist, the Daily Bruin has guided me to a career path – albeit one riddled with more tears and frustrations than I can count – but it has also helped me find my place at UCLA. Even as I struggled with homesickness – with my refrain of “I want to go home” all too familiar to my editors from my junior year – I could always count on Slack messages full of love parrot emojis and encouraging notes from fellow writers to brighten my day. As I stepped into the role of PRIME content editor in my senior year, I consistently looked forward to weekly section meetings, filled with ridiculous icebreakers about celebrity breakups and creative writing activities that had me laughing to the point of tears.

To be sure, being a student journalist is far from easy. I’ve dealt with more angry calls from sources, late-night edits and frantic writing sessions than I’d like to admit. But, years from now, when I fondly tell people that I worked for the Daily Bruin, I won’t recall any of that. Instead, I’ll remember the sense of purpose and fulfillment that motivated me to spend months upon months reporting on my Executive Order 9066 story last year. Or I’ll fondly recall the rush of pride I felt at PRIME’s first social event of the year when I saw our writers – new and old – sharing snacks and painting mini pumpkins side by side.

My experiences at the Daily Bruin have been nothing short of exceptional, and I have some people to thank for this.

To Kari Lau – thank you for believing in me and the stories I wanted to tell, even before I believed in myself. I owe so much of who I am as a journalist – and a friend – to you.

To Christine Tran, Shaanth Kodialam, Justin Huwe and Ramona Mukherji – my time at the Daily Bruin would not have been the same without all of you. Thank you for being the people I always turned to for advice, late-night rants via Slack and a friendly face in the office throughout the past two years.

To the writers at PRIME – it has been the greatest honor to work with all of you over the past year. Your endless creativity, dedication and love for our section fills me with so much pride and gratitude, and my time at UCLA would not have been the same without all of you.

To Abi Siatkowski and Megs Fu – I wouldn’t have wanted to go through this year with anyone else. Of everything I’ll miss from the Daily Bruin and our past year of editorship, I’ll miss working, talking and laughing with the two of you most of all.

My first story in November 2020 admittedly wasn’t my best. The stories that followed weren’t much better. But, like so much else in journalism, I got through it – and came out with some unforgettable stories I’ll always tell with pride.

Tagami was a News and PRIME staffer 2020-2022 and PRIME content editor 2022-2023.

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Megan Tagami | PRIME content editor
Tagami is the 2022-2023 PRIME content editor. She was previously a News and PRIME staff member. She is a political science and public affairs student from Honolulu.
Tagami is the 2022-2023 PRIME content editor. She was previously a News and PRIME staff member. She is a political science and public affairs student from Honolulu.
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