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Learning to love the late nights – and so much more – in Kerckhoff 118 -30-

By Isabelle Friedman

June 10, 2024 9:04 p.m.

When I heard my dorm building had flooded in the middle of a print shift, I don’t think I could have predicted that night would end up being one of my favorite UCLA memories.

The sprinklers had apparently gone off and soaked several floors of Sproul Cove. Elevators were unavailable, so I would later have to climb the six stories to my dorm via the rarely used outdoor stairwell. I learned all of this only from my floor’s GroupMe updates, of course, because I ended up on campus for more than 18 hours that day.

Little did I know, when I was sitting on the office floor pondering the state of my dorm, that I would be telling stories of that night in November 2021 for years to come – and not in horror.

I ended up staying in Kerckhoff 118 until nearly 4:30 a.m. that night, even after pages had been sent to the printer at 3:45. We played Jackbox, watched a delirious push-up contest and buried ourselves in the yellow office cushions. Years later, when recalling DB lore to new editors, I tell them about these glimpses of laughing to near hysterics while everything that could go wrong did.

Daily Bruin staffers take a time-stamped selfie as they leave the office. (Isabelle Friedman/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Apparently the glimpses are all I remember, though, because in fact-checking this column, I realized that I had conflated the events of two separate print production nights together. The details – or whatever actual journalism we were apparently doing those nights – came second to the feeling of sitting there with my new friends knowing we were all in it together.

Chasing the feeling of belonging, camaraderie and nonsense that came with a 4 a.m. print night, I signed up for every print shift I could as a slot editor. It was my first year on campus after spending my freshman year remote. Being an editor made me feel like I immediately had a place at UCLA and, more importantly, a group of people I could laugh with through all of the computer malfunctions, misplaced modifiers, impossible headlines and ungodly late nights.

Working for the Copy desk at the Daily Bruin brought many more shifts that inevitably made my roommates shriek, “You were in the office how late last night?” But countless more late hours arose watching “The Bachelor” in study rooms on the Hill just to lose the fantasy bracket, hosting socials just to play matchmaker or painting someone green for a Hulk costume just to stay up past 2 a.m. scrubbing it off.

As Copy chief my junior year, I dedicated three hours of our retreat to teaching other editors my favorite card game, and I watched the sun set and every other car drive away while editing football wraps at the Rose Bowl and California Memorial Stadium.

The night before my editor in chief hearing, instead of staying in and resting up before a grueling day of speeches, the Q&A session and nerves, I led the Copy team at Sports-lympics – winning gold in the wheelbarrow race, I might add.

Members of the Daily Bruin Copy team pose for a picture. (Courtesy of Isabelle Friedman)

Now as a graduating senior and editor in chief, I may stay for print production less often and try to prioritize my sleep a bit more, but I never stopped treating the office as a second home nor the staff as a team I could rely on.

I thought for 2 1/2 years that production shift from my sophomore year would be my latest night in the office and that I was safe from the dreaded “slept in the office” club.

But with just one month left before I walked the stage, my streak collapsed, and I know this will be the Daily Bruin memory I repeat at every alumni reunion.

Moments after brushing my teeth, taking out my contacts and turning off the lamp to go to sleep, I got a call saying I had to come in – violence at the pro-Palestine solidarity encampment was escalating.

The next two days were probably some of the scariest and most exhausting of my life. But when I look back, I also recall the 25 staffers sprawled around the table, taking nap shifts in every corner of the office when they could or reporting out in the field at Dickson Plaza.

That night of coverage took a village in every way imaginable. The staff’s ability to rally and come together to serve the community during major campus events astounds me, yet I’m still even more thankful for the home they built in Kerckhoff Hall that managed to make every dorm and apartment I’ve lived in at UCLA pale in comparison.

There’s no way to properly acknowledge the hundreds of staffers I’ve crossed paths with who have contributed to my home away from home, but I’m forever grateful to my slot editor teams for keeping me sane and rationalizing some of my sillier grammar rabbit holes. Thank you for sharing some positive moments from your days when we all just wanted to vent and teaching me how to rely on my teammates.

Members of the 2021-2022 slot editor team pose for a picture at their last meeting of the year. (Courtesy of Isabelle Friedman)

Kaiya, I know I’m not the only one to consider you a mentor or a mom, but I’m so grateful I was assigned to shadow you three years ago. You’re the reason I was so excited to join the staff in the first place. Thank you for always driving me so I could leave Westwood once in a while and being just as passionate about trying new restaurants as me.

My true MVP, Abi, I never would have survived this year without you. You were my rock and had my back when it felt like no one else did. Thank you for getting me out of the office with our coffee chats and bringing your optimism and enthusiasm every time I saw you.

And to Sam, my best friend, you encouraged every crazy ambition of mine and caught me every time I fell. Beyond the skills you taught me from editing countless stories – even after you graduated – I learned the importance of setting boundaries and taking care of myself. I can’t wait to be a washed-up alumnus with you.

To the next staff, particularly Lex, Sanjana and Mia, I am so excited to see the direction you’ll take the Daily Bruin next year, and I know you’ll rise to every challenge that comes your way. I wouldn’t wish for anyone else’s building to flood, but I hope that future generations of staffers love being in the office so much that they’ll find any excuse to stay – that they’ll find a community in Kerckhoff Hall that makes any late night worth it.

Friedman was the editor in chief 2023-2024, Copy chief 2022-2023, a slot editor 2021-2022, and Copy, Sports, News and PRIME senior staff.

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Isabelle Friedman | Editor in chief
Friedman is the 2023-2024 editor in chief. She was previously the Copy chief and a slot editor and has also contributed to Sports on the women's golf, women's soccer and gymnastics beats. Friedman is a fourth-year public affairs student.
Friedman is the 2023-2024 editor in chief. She was previously the Copy chief and a slot editor and has also contributed to Sports on the women's golf, women's soccer and gymnastics beats. Friedman is a fourth-year public affairs student.
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