If I was easily embarrassed, I probably wouldn’t be in the Daily Bruin.
I was rejected from the Photo section twice before I finally made it in. Although they were a bit tough to swallow, I saw each rejection as a push to improve and take more photos. I grew a lot as a photographer after my first year but ruled out applying a third time and potentially facing another rejection.
“Why not?” a friend asked me. “What do you have to lose?”
She made a good point. I applied again and interviewed, this time with the calmness and confidence of someone who had no expectations. I got in.
I’ve had unbelievable fun embarrassing myself since then.
I was incredibly grateful and excited to be in The Bruin and threw myself into Photo, taking as many shoots as I could – an 8 a.m. birdwatching club, a diving tournament, students making a film called “Pee.” When the pandemic hit and everyone went home, I found new ways to contribute while connecting to my home town. Over the year, I did more than 25 remote shoots over Zoom and FaceTime and began to work on more personal solo galleries.
Despite being more than 2,000 miles away, my editors Kanishka, Lauren, Daanish and Ashley helped me stay connected to Photo. I cherished the opportunities I had to get to know the people in my section through Zoom meetings and socials. Without this time – as bittersweet as it was – and the example these editors set, I never would have applied to be an editor myself. They pushed me to grow as a photographer and set an example of what kind of editor I wanted to be.
There was a steep learning curve at the beginning of my editorship with countless invaluable – but embarrassing – moments learning Daily Bruin jargon and catching up on UCLA knowledge after a year at home in South Carolina. One of my first weeks as an editor, I was asked to find a photo of Ronald Reagan on file. I asked the other Photo editors if we actually had file photos of the former president, only to be gently corrected that they were in fact talking about the UCLA medical center. Similarly, when I shot football for the first time, I excitedly pointed out head coach Chip Kelly to the other photo editor shooting with me. “Where?” David asked. “Right in front of us!” I said, pointing to defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro. He pulled up a picture on his phone of the actual Chip Kelly, and I had the realization that I had uploaded incorrect photos of “Chip Kelly” several times already.
These embarrassing moments were always offset by the joy of laughing at myself alongside the other editors and photographers I was working with. As a result, working for the Daily Bruin has given me immeasurable joy and fulfillment. I have gotten opportunities I never would have imagined. Shooting concerts, women’s basketball in Las Vegas, the rivalry game and LA Fashion week felt surreal and glamorous. But more than that, I treasured the moments in which I was able to get to know other editors and contributors in sections across the paper and getting the chance to see my coworkers more as friends. As a photographer, especially during the pandemic, I had almost no interaction with people from other sections. Spending time with these groups this past year has made me feel more connected to the paper and the community within it than ever.
I love photography, and it has kept me rooted to the paper throughout my time at The Bruin. But I’ve found, as so many others have, that what’s really special about this paper is the people in it and the relationships that you are able to forge.
To my fellow Photo editors – the oatmilkers – I can’t thank you enough for the laughs, adventures and extravagant dinner reservations over the past year. Because of you, I always looked forward to work, meetings and Slack messages. Thank you for being willing to embarrass yourselves with me and for the – frequent – roasts that pushed me to be a better editor, leader and friend. I’m so proud of the work we did this year and the section we created.
To the rest of Photo – working, laughing and growing with everyone in this section has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college experience. I am so grateful to have been a part of it, and I know you are in great hands with Anika, Megan, Jeremy and Joseph. I love you all, I’m proud of you, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for our section.
I hope you have had as much fun as I did embarrassing myself the past three years.
Joglekar was a Photo contributor 2019-2020, Photo staff 2020-2021 and assistant Photo editor 2021-2022.