I only have one regret for my first two years of college.
I applied to the Daily Bruin as a news intern fall quarter, got in, freaked out, and never showed up for training. I used Saturday training as an excuse. Then, I went to the Berkeley game one of those Saturdays.
Hypocrite. Spineless. I’d call myself an opportunist but that wasn’t even an opportunity.
I chalk it up more to a lack of self-confidence and an excess of priggishness than the presence of moral fiber.
The Bruin was one of two things that tipped the scales when I was a senior and kept me from going to Irvine or Santa Cruz. I give you my word, I was reading the DB in high school. I had wanted to be a professional writer since freshman year – I did casual freelancing for the Highland Community News for three years, and I was getting much more serious about writing.I was thinking about USC for journalism, but I decided on UCLA after they accepted me, my teacher (a Bruin herself who I adore) praised their history program to the skies, and I got sucked in by quality work – Katie Strickland was probably my favorite. (I came to UCLA almost by accident – ask me about it sometime!) I even annoyed the hell out of my Orientation group by bringing up the Daily Bruin in every conversation I had. Seriously.
Of all the things I will do in this life of all the praise and blame I will ever hear, I can never say I was a four-year DB staffer. (Well, I could, but then I’d have to take a 5th year, and my parents would flay me, then nail me to a door by my partially-flayed hide.) I can’t say I was a student journalist all my college life – and while I enjoyed my work with CAC and SP freshman year, it feels like a lost year.
That’s the only regret I have. Everything else I did, every lecture I missed, every party I went to, ever questionable decision or act of total idiocy – I don’t feel the need to apologize for. Most of them were great fun, anyhow.
The one regret I have is for when I forgot the reason I was even at UCLA, when I gave in to my insecurities, when, in a moment of weakness I threw away the whole reason for my presence in LA…and I had the audacity to claim it as standing on principle and self-denial for my faith and convictions.
I don’t know what makes me sicker, the realization I hid my own weakness behind beliefs I couldn’t back up or the fact I was so coy about something I could have and should have grabbed with both hands.
I got over it and I’m now content (I love my job and I feel at home – “Most Eager Intern” indeed!) but there is the regret at the timidity I had freshman year. I’m not going to let go of that, because I have no intention of letting it happen again. Whenever I waver, or get indecisive, I’ll remember what I’ve written here, how I mocked myself for a whole year, and the hollow justifications I conjured up for myself.
…but aside from that, college is going like a dream. Good (not decent, good) grades, a dream job, good friends, and the liberty of being a single man. Why am I complaining? In all honesty, I’m probably making too much out of this. Having only one regret for your entire college career – indeed, your entire adult life – is pretty good.
All that concede, I’m pretty sure I’m making a big deal of this so that it’s my only such regret. Make every mistake once – you don’t learn anything new if you don’t make new mistakes.
Is that, perhaps, the true explanation of the Fall? Knowledge of good and evil, death, redemption, and the whole narrative thereof? Interesting alley to walk down, but I’m no theologian, and it’s almost 4 in the morning out here. I need to sleep, pack, and plan. That alley of possible heresy remains unexplored this evening.
A word on regrets…keep them to a minimum. Grab the world with both hands. Bite off more than you can chew. Do it.
I suppose I ended up getting “Most Eager Intern” at -29- because I felt like I needed to make up for lost time, and I did make up for it.
To the student who picks up The Bruin every morning the staff is an enigma. He or she cannot possibly realize that the paper comes out under the combined efforts of a staff of almost 75 students, . . . who through their love of journalism and their hope of rising on the staff, work as many as 30 hours per week in KH 212, students who work Sunday so that a paper can hit the stands Monday, students who work on holidays so that a paper will come out the day after, students who work until 2 a.m. putting the paper to bed when they have early classes the next morning. (Editor Martin A. Brower, DB, 2/14/51.)
We’re in Kerckhoff 118 now, but the same spirit holds true in the nine-decade old Bruin – at least, it does for this wayward staffer. The only reason I’m not working 30 hours a week right now is because it’s summer and vaca…er, travel-study call.
I wonder if there’s an award for “Most Eager Editor?” Heaven help me if there is. Come August, I have more lost time to make up for.