When I was asked if I wanted to write a piece about my time at The UCSD Guardian, I thought to myself, where do I start?
I remember I decided to join The Guardian after a year of being at UC San Diego. As a Fall 2019 transfer, I knew I only had a short two years at UCSD. However, it took me nearly a year to apply for The Guardian.
The tipping point that really motivated me to apply for The Guardian was when I lost my job unexpectedly due to COVID-19 budget cuts. The loss hit me hard and was particularly demoralizing, especially when I was the only one cut from the team. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it pushed me to apply for the news section of The Guardian to kickstart my career in journalism.
I had an unconventional first meeting and interview with the news editors, Troy and Andrew. I was nervous because I only had one writing sample in my portfolio, from a journalism class I had just completed. We were in the midst of the pandemic and I was on the other side of the world at my home in Singapore, battling the 16-hour time difference.
In Fall 2020, I officially became a contributing writer for the news section. I decided to take on one of the most challenging assignments proposed for the first week — The Guardian Guide to Voting in San Diego: Local Elections. It was my first article assignment ever, and it was a big one. I contacted every single campaign office, from city council members to the candidates for Mayor of San Diego, not knowing what to expect.
I was overwhelmed with the information I had to include in the article on a relatively tight deadline. It was more challenging to me than I had let on at the time. I was also not sure if my piece was structurally sound or lacked vital information.
Fortunately, Troy and Andrew were pillars of support and gave suggestions whenever I asked. I am so grateful that they have and continue to foster an environment for growth, learning and collaboration among team members in the news section.
By the time of my graduating quarter in Spring 2021, I was a senior staff writer. I had consistently produced a steady flow of articles and stories and had a great time doing it. I discovered interests in politics, science and technology through interviews and topics that I covered.
There were times where I questioned myself and my own abilities as a news writer and a student journalist, but the constant support from the news team has helped carry me through and became continuing sources of validation. I was even offered a job as a science writer based on an article I had written.
The UCSD Guardian has provided me with opportunities that I would not have imagined and is undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have made. The amazing people I have met and the experience I have had is one for the books.
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Choo