As a child, I was captivated by the concept of infinity. I would sit in my backyard looking at the mountains that lay just across the flood control basin. I would make up stories about the deep canyons that cleaved through the monoliths of stone and chaparral, and wonder what quiet streams ran undiscovered through the glens and forgotten glades.
I came to UC Irvine five years ago with this strange and nebulous mindset. I hoped I was someone with potential. I hoped to find myself. I hoped to become a better, wiser person. I’ll admit that I haven’t always been completely happy here. I came without a major, and bounced around between academic interests. I was lost and afraid. As I look back, I’m happy to say that I could never have imagined what an amazing journey it would be when I first set foot on this campus in September 2007.
I would like to thank all the people who guided and supported me.
Thank you mom and dad for letting me study what I wanted to. Thank you for driving me to internship interviews and for just believing in me.
Thank you to my fraternity brothers in Beta Theta Pi. You’ve shown me the meaning of lifelong friendship and helped me to tear down my walls, always in _kai_.
Thank you to my literary journalism professors. Professor Siegel, you taught me to develop my characters, to never stop digging for details and most importantly, that writing is rewriting. Professor Wilentz, you challenged me to refine my writing and to develop my voice. Professor Corwin, you showed me that concise writing can be beautiful as well as powerful, you treated us as writers rather than students and you showed us how to work on a tight deadline. Amy DePaul, you’ve shown me that I can never stop learning how to report — an invaluable lesson.
To my professors in the Spanish Department: professors Amar Sanchez, Morales-Rivera, Navajas, Schwegler and Sefamí, I learned far more than I thought I would as a Spanish major. I had the privilege of studying topics as diverse as Latin American poetry, Spanish and European cinema and existential philosophy. I learned how to speak and to write more fluidly. Most importantly, my curiosity is forever piqued. The incredibly rich world of Spanish and Latin American literature has been opened to me, and I will explore it for as long as I live.
Finally, I arrive at the New University. For the past two years, this newspaper has been a home. Whether it was spending long Sunday productions in the newsroom, or hanging out after Editorial Board meetings, most of my time and energy was spent here. I would have it no other way.
I spent 2010-2011 as one of two associate news editors, but I quickly found out that it was more than just a job. I found a space where seasoned editors were willing to take a chance on a newbie, and ultimately, a group that hung out constantly. It set the stage for this year. I can think of no other group of people with whom I would have been able to make such great memories: the late nights in Newport, bouge cooking nights at my apartment, oysters, hood bears/eagles/swans, www.everythinghappenstomichael.com, poutine, ribs, hash browns, LA trips and camping in Big Sur, all among so many others.
Amanda: I cannot think of a better person to have had by my side this year. It’s been hilarious, it’s been real talk, it’s been GSD — everything. Remember, you’re in the breakfast of your life.
Soraya: Even though the newsroom can get a little hilarious, you’ve always powered through everyone else’s ass-hattery, and hung out afterward for some shenanigans.
Vinh: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you bring so much honor. You’ve been both the source of much hilariousness, and some of the best reporting at this paper.
Jessica: Be excited for next year and never stop believing in this paper. You’re part of the beating heart of this campus, I know you’ll continue the tradition of being a boss journalist, and making sure the newsroom is a happy place.
Kevin: You’re seriously the best, and I don’t know how you managed to do everything that you do, and still make time for the newsroom. Congratulations again on your bougey internship.
Natasha: I’m so glad to have gotten to know you these past two years. We’ve seen shows in LA, partied with Mike and survived the Casa de Untold Terrors. Party Tip: party hard.
Charles: From BAM squad to Five Writers, you’ve been there for all of the craziest, most spontaneous moments in my life this year. I’m gonna miss the cooking nights and climbing random crap and rage cage.
Annie: You’ve constantly been the happiest person I know. You rescue lost puppies and rock climb like a bad ass.
Jun: I’m so happy that you’re going to be leading this paper with Jessica next year. We might poke fun at you for mispronouncing common words, but we love you dude. I’ve never known anyone who works so hard and who loves this paper so much. You’re always friendly and smiling, but you also know your shit. Have fun and GSD next year.
Michael: I knew the moment I stepped into your apartment for your birthday last year that we would be friends. I’ve known you for one year, but it feels like much longer.
Young: You’ve been one of the most unique voices on the Ed Board this year, and we all love you for it. Keep balling so hard in life and in spirit.
Ian: I’m so glad you decided to come back this year. You’ve been invaluable, and the innovations in layout that you’ve accomplished with Young this year continue to be phenomenal.
Justine: I can’t thank you enough for hanging around two quarters after you’ve graduated, and for being down for all the adventures.
Zach: I’m so excited you’re taking over Entertainment next year. Thank you for the hilarious Lancaster stories, and for always looking on the upside in the newsroom.
James: You’re more than a bear hunter and an Asian Edward Norton. You’ve proven yourself to be one of the best reporters at this paper, and to be full of unexpected sass. There’s no buttered scones for you. There’s something better, I’m sure of it.
Anna: It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and to work with you this year. There’ve been so many moments from #21 to Big Sur, you’ve been there.
Priya (and layout): You are all our saviors. This year would never have happened without your constantly amazing work. And you all did it with an awesome sense of humor. Priya, we’ll never forget the time you made a fake Facebook event … on that page, Michael was getting a tramp stamp, and you invited his grandpa. Priceless.
During my five years at UCI, I’ve learned how to let go and embrace life, it is infinity evolved. I’m running out of words, but these words have taken on a life of their own. They’ve introduced me to some of the best people I have ever met. In the words of the Russian poet Boris Pasternak, “Let’s scatter our words as the garden scatters amber zest, absentmindedly and generously bit by bit by bit.” I hope now that as I scatter my words, they blossom and bring me into a world beyond my imagination — a beautiful flowering of the infinite.