I guess I have to start from the top. When I came to Cal, I came as a spring admit, and not as one of the ones who does the Fall Program for Freshmen. I started, as relatively few people do, in January. I thought my status as a spring admit wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but that nagging feeling that I would only get three and a half years on campus, never four, guided my entire college experience.
I threw away my first semester, essentially. I didn’t join any clubs or do anything interesting other than attend lectures and kill time with people on my floor. That’s my fault, although I feel like the deck was stacked against me a little bit here. It’s tough to get involved when most recruiting happens in the fall, and I let myself slip through the cracks.
My sophomore year was when I started rushing into things. I was trying to make up for lost time, so I got a job, joined a club, snagged a leadership position and eventually rushed right into the most defining aspect of my Cal career when I was hired at The Daily Californian.
You have to understand that when I came on campus, I had no desire to be a journalist. It just wasn’t on my radar — not even a little bit. The events that led to me joining the paper are actually quite absurd. The details are too lengthy to list out here, but I happened to open the paper one day to a bogus column written by a certain Michael Rosen that made me so upset that I drafted a lengthy letter to the editor in frustration. That letter led to an impromptu discussion with a couple of editors on Sproul Plaza. And that discussion led to the suggestion, “Hey, we’re recruiting right now — you should apply.”
And even though I had no interest in journalism, even though I had never thought about being a writer or editor before, I had that little voice in my head that said, “You only have three and a half years here, and you’re behind already.” That voice rushed me into one of the best decisions of my life: joining the Daily Cal.
After reading the column that shall not be named, I had the confidence to think that I could do this job better than the people who already worked at the Daily Cal. So I ran home from Sproul and submitted my application an hour later, just sneaking in under the deadline.
A week later, I interviewed for a position with the sports desk. In that interview? Michael Rosen. Oops. But he was cool, his editor, Seung Lee, was cool, and I was hired.
From there, I covered some great beats, served as an editor for way too long and generally threw myself into this job like nothing else. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I came to Cal. It didn’t take long at the Daily Cal for me to figure it out.
My time at the Daily Cal was all a lead-up to last semester, when I was the sports editor. That semester had everything: controversy, long hours, boring meetings and great, great work. It was New York’s hottest night club.
That semester took everything from me. With a job and class, I was working 15-hour days regularly. I thought about quitting almost twice a week. But I made it through, and it’s my semester that proved, “If I can do this, I can do anything.” I’m happy I did it, and I’m proud of the great work my department accomplished that semester.
There are so many people that have helped me along the way that I can only list a few. Michael and Seung gave me my shot, and they were the best mentors for me. Sean and Shannon were the most faithful partners in crime — I can’t imagine having gotten through it without them. There are so many more — you know who you are.
I’m going to miss the Daily Cal. I’m going to miss the Bay Area. I’m going to miss a million and one people that I’ve met here. I’m going to miss Berkeley. This is it, it’s time to head into the wild green yonder.