The Daily Bruin.
Those three words carry more weight than I ever thought possible for the name of an academic journal. Just going through all my memories of this article overwhelms me with conflicting emotions: pride and dissatisfaction, joy and anger, happiness and sorrow.
This article defined my experience at UCLA, taking me to places I never thought I would go. Allow me to meet people I would never have met otherwise. These included:
Looking for leads for stories on topics ranging from film school students receiving an outdated education to a former philosophy professor threatening a mass shooting on our campus.
Interview people about transit project updates, ordinances affecting homelessness, and the desperate need for housing in our community.
Hear the experiences of alumni and current students as the beloved Stan’s Donuts has been closed during the pandemic.
Dive deep into the latest developments in science and health on campus, ranging from AI to genetic studies.
The Daily Bruin has allowed me to talk to so many unique people on our campus and share their insights with the world. And for a very long time, because I’ve written so many other-centered stories, I thought I’d never get the chance to record my own.
But, in many ways, I created mine through the memories I shared with everyone in the journal.
As I reflect on my story, so many details and memories jump out at me. But it’s not about the satisfaction of becoming an editor or finally publishing a long-term story. It’s the little memories, the ones that, at the time, seem so boring and uninteresting. They are the ones I will always cherish.
For me, it was having nuanced discussions about philosophy and ethics or finding new ways to make terrible puns at 2:30 a.m. with Justin throughout the pandemic.
It was passionately discussing Kirby Slackmojis with Anushka or Christine or being told I was going to 626 Night Market without any warning.
He was sitting in the musty old pre-pandemic desk at the news desk with all the editors and other reporters, having stories tossed around for edits as we talked about Club Penguin and its secret PSA missions.
Even the Slackmojis I use are keepsakes, steeped in origin stories, that help me remember my time here at the newspaper.
It’s the little moments that count. But all was not happy.
I have seen this newspaper disappoint its readers and staff time and time again, with many of us screaming into the void, asking for a change or even just a break. The frustration and anger I felt whenever I felt silenced compounded the difficulties I had with the DB.
That same frustration caused me to take a shift hiatus at the start of my sophomore year, as I wondered if I would stay in the paper the following calendar year. As an editor, I seriously considered quitting, bending under the weight of my role as I simultaneously juggled tasks with no real break.
The culture here has never encouraged a sense of balance, always requiring us as editors to be prepared to report on the latest happenings at odd hours without any real compensation. Many of my relationships in the diary had their ups and downs as we struggled to separate our work from our lives.
Beyond that, the newspaper went through a pandemic as we went through history. In the news, I wrote about how people’s lives have been turned upside down due to current events. I saw how the people of the newspaper fought alongside me to succeed overnight, across the continent and the world.
Yet the newspaper continued, leaving people behind and not listening as they repeatedly pleaded for help.
I want to love this place, the work we’ve done, yet I felt this constant feeling of betrayal, a muzzling of sorts. So why did I stay involved for nearly four years?
I don’t know if I could ever give a straight answer, but there were a lot of people who made life easier. Who helped me on my way to writing and learning the ropes of what it means to be a journalist.
David and Martín, my City and Crime editors, welcomed me to this paper and supported all my shenanigans. They helped me develop my judgment about the news before I left for the Enterprise. Melissa, my editor when I was on Enterprise, encouraged me to apply for the job and supported me as I stumbled while guiding my contributors, new and old. She helped me grow as a leader and as a person.
Working with you, Justin, during my first year of writing really made me a better journalist. You never let me get away with shortcuts, and for that, I’ll always be grateful. This year’s news team guided me as I covered a range of stories and welcomed me without hesitation when I joined the newsroom so late. I really couldn’t have reached the finish line without you.
The Daily Bruin. It means so much to me, both good and bad, and saying goodbye will be one of the hardest things I will ever do.
But hey, if it was my job to write stories as an archivist for years, maybe I’d never really have to say goodbye. Although the diary is no longer a big part of my life, I will find a way to remember it.
After all, it’s the little things that count.
Oruganti was News contributor 2018-2019, News staff 2019-2022, Enterprise editor 2020-2021 and city and crime editor 2021-2022.