Em Chan Grad Pic

(Courtesy of Marcus Ren)

When I applied to join the Daily Emerald the spring of my sophomore year, I was second guessing everything I was doing. I couldn't figure out why I did so much, yet still wasn't feeling fulfilled.  

Being a part of the staff — particularly the arts and culture staff, writing about food, relationship advice, social media and culture — turned my life around in more ways than one. 

As a University of Oregon student, I never really felt there was a place or group that I fit in to. I wandered between workplaces and student organizations, doing what I could and making some friends, but I didn’t feel at home until joining the Emerald staff. I’m so glad that I found a place with ambitious, dedicated and hilarious people that loved their work as much as I did.

I have to first thank Ryan Nguyen, my best friend, for pestering me to apply for the Emerald shortly after he joined during our freshman year. Thank you for keeping me grounded, putting up with my bad jokes and riding the struggle bus of balancing classes, work, all the extracurriculars and life together throughout these last four years.

My growth in writing has been a whirlwind that I could not have done successfully without my editors Ilana Slavit, Syd Dauphinais, Grace Murray and, most importantly, Sarah-Mae McCullough. I am always in awe of your poise and good humor, putting up with my hijinks and the drama that follows my work. I will miss you so much!

One of the unexpected side effects of being a part of the Emerald was realizing I love to do all the things — no, seriously, all of them. I don’t think any other place would allow (read: enable) me to write about food, maintain an advice column, co-host a podcast, speak in videos and pitch in with social media ideas and strategies. 

Thank you to Jamie Diep, Marcus Ren, Jordan McMinn and Ashley Ng for allowing me to push the boundaries of what we create and letting me get my hands into it as much as I could. The amount of projects I’ve been a part of creating has somehow resulted in my reputation preceding me, which is both exciting and terrifying. 

Doing what you love is what we all aspire for, but for most the problem lies in trying to find a place to do it. So thank you Bill Kunerth, Kathy Carbone and the other pro staff for continuing to hold this space for students.

Lastly, there’s no way I can finish this piece without acknowledging the people and programs that got me to UO in the first place. Thank you to my parents, older brother Ryan and other family for your support. I love you all so much! 

Thank you Pathway Oregon for seeing my potential and granting me the opportunity to attend. To my favorite professors, who’ve seen me cry and burn out but always remained incredibly encouraging. In no particular order, thank you Kelli Matthews, Dean Mundy, Dr. Pompper, Deb Morrison, Shan Anderson, Bob Rickert and Tom McDonnell. 

I can’t forget to thank the woman who inspired my love of journalism in the first place: Lorraine Stratton. Thank you for giving this timid high school freshman the courage and strength to find her words. You were right about everything, of course.