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daylist: ‘nightmarish sleepless reminiscent joyful dreamy friday afternoon’ -30-

Jeremy Chen stands for a portrait in front of Kerckhoff Hall. (Michael Gallagher/Assistant Photo editor)

By Jeremy Chen

June 10, 2024 8:55 p.m.

Working at the Daily Bruin gave me nightmares.

This paper has given me nightmares for years – even before I became an editor.

Here are some highlights:

2022-2023 Sports editor Sam Settleman requested a photo of his own face – rather than one of the athletes – for the gymnastics wrap’s A art. Although I had the shot, I couldn’t get to my computer to upload it. My legs felt like they were moving through quicksand.

I walked into the office and made a joke that did not land with a single person, leaving me in an awkward, anxiety-inducing moment of silence.

I learned that becoming an assistant Photo editor would give me the power to breathe underwater (this one wasn’t a nightmare, but it was too cool to leave out).

2021-2022 Sports editor Jon Christon asked me if Adem Bona was on the court, but I wasn’t even at the game yet. I had to park, run to the office and get gear, so I ended up missing the entire first half.

That was a recurring theme in these nightmares – missing out entirely on basketball games, gym meets or parades. Luckily, I don’t feel like I missed out on too much in reality.

USC guard/forward McKenzie Forbes yells in celebration toward guard JuJu Watkins after the final buzzer. The Trojans’ ended the Bruins’ 14-game winning streak with the win. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

I was privileged with travel opportunities for football, March Madness and gymnastics (shoutout Utah). I shot Hippo Campus and Lewis Capaldi in concert. I traversed the floors of Pauley Pavilion countless times, but I’ve still never attended a UCLA basketball game as a fan. I got my face published in the Daily Bruin.

I took advantage of every chance I had to photograph new events and people, and my life became so much richer due to those experiences.

The Daily Bruin showed me the beauty in capturing moments in sports and creating photos with my lens that can last forever. It opened doors for me in the sports photography field and showed me a glimpse of the career I hope to make a living out of one day.

Pro driver Jonathan Hurst drifts his MRCOOL Cadillac XLR during the Super Drift Challenge at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

None of this would be possible without the incredible photographers and editors who welcomed me to the section.

I’m grateful to Tanmay Shankar for showing me the ropes when I covered football for the first time. He became a role model for me, and the advice he gave at that Stanford game sticks with me to this day.

Sakshi, Ashley, Anika and David showed me the impact of making Photo a family, not just a section. We won Best Section in 2022, and although I was completely incapacitated while the award was being accepted, it was amazing to witness Photo at its full potential.

Being able to rely on a tight-knit group of friends and coworkers is a large part of what inspired me to become an editor in the first place. I wanted to be a part of the leadership that gave me community, confidence and purpose when I came in as an intern in 2020.

That was one of the most isolating periods of my life, and I owe so much to this paper for giving me a home and making me feel valued.

All of these bright spots are not to say the nightmares were unfounded, though.

The Daily Bruin consumes you if you let it. It definitely consumed me (and my subconscious, clearly).

Becoming an editor was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life. This job pushes you, and it tests you. It makes you wonder why you give so much to an organization that, in many circumstances, does not reciprocate your efforts or energy.

There are special moments in my life that were tarnished by the Daily Bruin. That’s the risk you take when you allow yourself to reach a level of obsession with this work – something I believe is required to achieve success in the paper. Some sacrifices will never be repaid, literally and metaphorically, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.

Everything I outlined above reminds me that it was worth it.

The Daily Bruin shaped my time at UCLA and is one of the core foundations of my identity. I gave a lot to this paper, but the experiences, friendships and aspirations it leaves me with are what make me happy. Those are what make me love my section and love this organization.

While nightmares will always be an integral part of my Daily Bruin experience (I literally have a Slackmoji called “nightmare-jeremy”), I know the good memories will persist, and the bad ones will eventually drift away.

I lost dozens, maybe even hundreds, of hours to the windowless, bark-filled office, but I still have plenty of pleasant things to take away from the last four years.

I found my best friend in Megan, who I can always count on and who always brightens my day.

I found Bryan and Jon, bonded with them over our love for animals and built a fantastic friendship that I’ll always be bullish on.

I found a reunion with Joseph Crosby, the first friend I made in my online year of college, when we both became editors last year.

I found a passion for sports photography that I never would have discovered if not for the opportunities DB provided me.

I even found Trolli Eggs in Eugene with Sam, Megan and Jon (that city is absolutely electric).

I never thought this paper would bring me so much happiness, laughter and joy.

Working at the Daily Bruin was a dream.

Chen was a Photo contributor 2020-2021, Photo staffer 2021-2022, assistant Photo editor 2022-2023, Photo senior staffer 2023-2024 and Photo editor 2023-2024.

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Jeremy Chen
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
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