A love letter to the Daily Cal

connor lin

I applied to UC Berkeley on a whim. It was just another checkbox on the UC application that I clicked without a second thought, absolutely certain that I wouldn’t get in. So when I was admitted, I was dumbfounded.

I did not apply to The Daily Californian on a whim.

I knew from the moment I committed to UC Berkeley that I wanted to join the Daily Cal — I had been admitted off the waitlist, which only intensified my impostor syndrome, and I yearned for the same tight-knit relationships that I had found in high school journalism.

I found those relationships the first day I walked in the door. Thank you to Kaitlan, Courtney, Alex and Emily for providing that sense of community and for always believing in me. Thank you for embracing me with open arms, for being the first people at UC Berkeley to make me feel like I belonged and for training me through all of my firsts as I followed in your footsteps. I owe so much of my success to you.

I’m thankful for the nights we forced Alex to binge-watch “Victorious” and for trips to Brewed Awakening for matching tropical smoothies. I’m thankful for the last-minute Dyar runs for chicken kebab plates with half frice/half frice before prelim and the times we learned TikTok dances while waiting for flats. I’m thankful for not one, but two semesters of editing I got to share with this team, spending more than 12 hours a day, four times a week in the office and then still making time to see each other on the weekends and after work for bus rides to Burma Superstar and Meet Fresh. From making beautiful (and some less beautiful) spring rolls in Garden Village to spamming our group chat with design memes nobody else would find funny, so many of the highlights of my college experience were spent with you all.

Returning to the office after a year in quarantine felt like walking into a new environment. Cubicles were empty, my role models had graduated and I was stepping into leadership roles they had spent years preparing me for. My only goal was to make them proud and continue their legacies.

It felt impossible to fill their shoes — not only in a talent sense, but in their natural ability to make me feel like a valued member of this publication. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to replicate the welcoming atmosphere for the paper’s next generation. On a personal level, I feared that I’d never find close friendships like that in the office again.

Luckily, I was wrong.

Thank you to Joseph for never failing to make me laugh and for being emblematic of the close friendships I was scared I’d never be able to make with the younger generations of design. Thank you to Simmone for your persistent positivity and for teaching me to look for the bright side of things. Thank you to Aishwarya for showing me what it means to be resilient and unconditionally supportive. I feel so lucky to have worked alongside such great deputies and friends. To the rest of the design department I’ve had the pleasure of working with, thank you for your unwavering love and dedication to this publication, even when it doesn’t deserve it — I am continuously inspired by your positivity, work ethic and talent.

Thank you to Sunny for being my first Daily Cal friend outside the design department. Thank you to Joyce for inspiring me to be more confident and outspoken. Thank you to Sam for teaching me that it’s okay to put myself first and for teaching me how to make a quality drink. Thank you to Maria for the late-night talks and for teaching me how to wrap a sturdy spring roll. Thank you to Aditya for showing me what it means to be a dependable, generous friend and for visualizing budget more times than I can count. Thank you to Annie for learning TikTok dances with me between flats and for reminding me how enjoyable the office could be. Thank you to Veronica for taking the leap of faith and joining this community and finding ways to uplift me when I need it most. Thank you to Taila for teaching me that close friendships don’t need to take a long time to form if they’re with the right people (and that Reputation might not be Taylor Swift’s best album).

Thank you to Mallika for embracing my love of Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift and letting me share the 15-minute-long “All Too Well: The Short Film” as a link of the day when prelim itself was only 10 minutes. Thank you to Maia for introducing links of the day when prelim went virtual and for being the kind of leader and person I strive to be. Thank you to Lisi for being someone I can confide in, for always meeting me where I am and helping me get to where I need to be. Thank you to Jocelyn for reminding me to treat people with kindness and for always cheering me on, even when we both know I’m being dumb. Thank you to Jasper for showing me what unconditional friendship feels like and for being the one I go to first when things get hard.

And to my friends and family outside of the Daily Cal who have stood by me these past four years, thank you for reminding me there’s a life worth living outside of the paper. Thank you to Mom, Dad and Jo for loving me regardless of all my mistakes and for all the sacrifices you’ve made to let me pursue my passions. Thank you to Katie for being my best friend and for graciously listening to my rants about the Daily Cal without ever having any context. Thank you to Cara, Jenna, Eugene, Hanalei and Danny for including me even when I wasn’t always there, and for understanding when my obligations to the paper had to come first.

Saying goodbye to the Daily Cal has been so much harder than saying goodbye to UC Berkeley. This organization was such a key aspect of who I was in college and who I am now, and I’m grateful to this community for teaching me about love and friendship and for giving me a purpose beyond myself.

I know that in a few years time, the office will look completely different — the Slack reacts of Olivia Rodrigo and Scarlett Johansson that graced my upper management term will be retired, the wall quotes I pinned in the channels and on the office walls will be replaced by people I won’t recognize and the newspapers I designed and so proudly displayed at the design desk will be covered by new accomplishments.

But that’s one of the most beautiful parts of the Daily Cal — it always goes on. I joined for the people, the people are the reason I kept coming back and it’s reassuring to know that this publication will continue to provide students with the same sense of community and belonging that it was able to provide me. I’m a combination of every creative director, design editor and Daily Cal staffer who came before me, from names I’ve only heard in passing all the way up to those with whom I’ve spent more nights than I can count huddled around the design desk. And I can only hope that I’ve made them proud.

Connor Lin was the summer and fall 2021 creative director. He joined The Daily Californian in fall 2018 as a layout designer and graphic artist and was a deputy design editor in fall 2019 and spring 2020, the design editor in summer 2020, a deputy projects editor in fall 2020 and the design editor in spring 2021. He graduated in fall 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in data science and economics, as well as a minor in journalism.