The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

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    Charles Nguyen: Editor in Chief 2007-08

    Well here I am at the other end, spent up and beat down. I
    imagine I feel a lot like the Pittsburgh Steelers did at the end of the 2005
    NFL season: exhausted after winning four in a row and underestimated because
    they were entering the playoffs as the last seed.

    And that’s what my brother and I treasure most from that
    memory. It wasn’t the series of heart implosions that started with Jerome Bus
    Bettis fumbling, followed by Big Ben tackling and ended with Vander-jacked
    missing. It wasn’t breaking Carson Palmer’s leg. It wasn’t even the eventual
    Super Bowl beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks.

    What my brother would have me remember most is that single,
    excitable moment preceding every successful campaign, in life and in football.
    I’ve eyed many prizes that were over my head and stepped into many tough
    situations deemed unfitting for my permissive nature. And that’s when that
    moment occurs, always bringing up a firm answer to boil: Bring it.

    I imagine that thought occurred to me a lot as editor in
    chief. I imagine the Steelers thought it a lot before they blazed their path
    toward Super Bowl XL. And I imagine my brother (to whom I dedicate this piece
    for his everlasting lessons of manhood, dedication, diligence and integrity),
    used the thought to surpass a poor and fatherless life by scoring a high-paying
    job in Japan before dropping it all to return and care for my then-sick mother.

    My brother’s story is one of instinct, led by toughness. As
    the immature short-cutter he always reamed me for being, I amended his lesson a
    bit. The original probably sounded like, “Bring it on. The success comes later,
    if it ever comes at all. Do it anyway.”

    And that’s the hardest part, isn’t it? In a day and age
    where we dread over-shares and covet personal space, who wants to take on any
    more things? Who wants to be a magnet for things outside their trust circle or
    beyond their safety net?

    Journalists do. My brother’s lessons gifted me with a unique
    reaction to problems: Run toward them. An attraction to problems, for whatever
    reason (the impending challenge, excitement of the chase, full-on masochism),
    is a journalist’s defining characteristic. It is the common characteristic in
    all Guardian staffers that will always leave me flustered with pride and honor.
    I’ve met some of the most forward-looking, captivating, inventive and
    pioneering minds at the Guardian, and they all have, at one time or another,
    flanked me while I blindly made my run at problems. This piece seconds as
    paltry attempt at thanking all of them for being journalists — and running with

    To 2007-08: I know our road has been an unconventional one,
    especially being led by the little-brother type editor. What I lacked in poise
    and assurance I tried to make up for in hard work, openness and humor. It
    probably ended up a big mashup anyhow, so all apologies. If I seemed cold, I
    was trying to be quietly strong. If I seemed overbearing, I was just trying to
    be convincingly firm. If I seemed depressed, I was just trying to be solemnly
    contemplative. If I seemed distant, I was just trying to avoid you seeing me
    drunk and/or high (j/k!).

    The yearlong erosion of my character brings to mind the
    headline of a farewell column of a fellow editor: “In which she swears she’s
    not a bitch.” I feel your pain, girl.

    The most appropriate courtesy would be to recall something I
    tell my sister in heartfelt conversations, and often I think it’s the only kind
    thought that keeps Sophia forgiving my faults. I’ll repeat it to you now, to
    thank you all for being brothers and sisters that have taught me, nurtured me,
    comforted me and supported me: I hope I made you proud.

    To 2006-07: We started many things together, from an
    advisory board to an alumni reunion to a new Web site. Every single thing was a
    building block; nothing this year would have been possible without your
    hand-built foundations. Cheers to Heather for leading the pack with her
    sharpness, Andrew for keeping me down to earth with his harassment and the rest
    of the crew for being my fire and fuel for the job of a lifetime. To the
    business folks Anna and Mike, who abided the staff’s youthful spunk that was no
    doubt at times relentless. You guys made me want to achieve and build something
    special with our little newspaper.

    To 2005-06: My experience being journalistically raised in
    what I now dub the “Golden Age of Guardian” became not only the touchstone that
    I regularly retreated to this year for inspiration, but also formed a crucial
    part of my still-in-progress coming of age. That was the year I discovered a
    world outside my home, where questions flew, everything was dirtied by sin and
    all you needed to prove yourself was the guts to deliver. The scandal that was
    Steve York’s televised cock, and the reporting I did on it, would have been
    nothing if not for the tutelage and guidance of my managers at the time: Vlad,
    Ian and Grant. In fact, I still look on this year’s staff with the warmness a
    policeman would feel when recalling why he entered the force. You guys are the
    reason I will always write; it’s a practice that is surprisingly unnatural to
    me but I do anyway, because it forces me to challenge myself, value
    introspection and be inquisitive.

    To the longest of friends and groupies: Rael, who held down
    Guardian gangster-ism with a cooled sensibility I’ve always admired. Danai, who
    had the kindness to pay me undeserved compliments. Richard, whose high
    tolerance for our late nights and my editorial fuckups always gave me something
    to lean on. Utako, whose ever-disarming charm was a welcome thing to any dark
    Guardian day. All the sloshball players in this year’s championship Guardian
    team, I hope Ichiro’s lead-offs and subsequent barfing proved that not all
    journalists are squares. Matt L, whose perfection set a new set of standards.
    Serena, who had the guts to tackle a position, and then more

    To the Guardian’s newest class: My happiest moments are yet
    to come. They’ll happen next year, when I see you guys developing, growing and
    blossoming to heights I know I could have never even conceived myself. To Matt,
    for being the gravity that attracts so much of our talent, energy and, most
    importantly, good fucking times. To Hadley, one of the strongest women I know;
    I should take cues, girl. To Reza, for undoubtedly keeping ghetto Guardian
    alive next year. To Jesse, history’s best hippie ballplayer. To Kim, a down-ass
    chick. To Sonia, for her innate courage to always speak her mind. To Chris M.,
    whose unrivaled knowledge of cinema was big enough to make my quoting of Denzel
    and Pacino somewhat enjoyable. To Chris K., whose originality and quip-filled
    character made him an artist in the truest sense. To Simone, for teaching me
    strength by never seeming as burdened as me by her drive to work (I’m Debbie
    Downer without you, girl). To Alyssa, the impromptu editor whose kind but gutsy
    nature single-handedly set a course for her section. To Nicole, who I know (as
    a fellow comic-book lover) possesses pure unadulterated imagination, a very
    rare quality in these disillusioned, see-it-to-believe-it days. To Teresa, who
    backs Rihanna just as feverishly as I do — now I’m not as ashamed, girl.

    To the editorial critics: No career is without its potholes.
    From Sun God to SRTV, I’ve been at the butt end of administrative, political
    and student-led fire many a time. My writing has seen me in a number of
    compromising situations for a journalist. I’ve misquoted: In a union story a
    ways back, I mixed up a quote attribution between opposing parties. I’ve
    misstated: In his second run at the A.S. presidency and my year as news editor,
    UCSD alum and political gadfly Daniel Watts ripped into me — furious to the
    near point of tears — for alleged misconceptions about his platform and uncouth
    public handling of the death of his friend Benjamin Sumner, an A.S. councilmember.
    I’ve even reneged a whole piece: Last year, I wrote an Opinion column in which
    I retracted my two-star rating of Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds.” I
    know what you’re thinking: “What kind of journalist does that?” The answer: all
    of them. Expect mistakes from me, but also expect the humility that allows me
    to talk any issue out. E-mail, ask,
    prod, and represent your own community.

    My brother has taught me just as much. His influence drove
    my comic-book illustration on the preceding page.The vigorous spirit he
    instilled in me during childhood has grown into inescapable teenage yearning
    for nothing less than heroism — the stuff of films, comics and legends. I can
    take comfort in the fact that he first taught me to the ways of manhood before
    letting me dream of heroes.

    Then he taught me that a hero doesn’t make a man — one of
    life’s truest lessons. But Anh, I still want to be both.

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