Senior Farewell: Catlan Nguyen


by Catlan Nguyen, Editor in Chief

After three years working for The Daily Aztec, I think the lessons that will stick with me the most are the ones I’ve learned beyond how to be a good journalist.

Undoubtedly, The Daily Aztec gave me the tools to refine my reporting, writing, and multimedia skills and helped me gain invaluable experience that led to my post-graduation job. 

However, I’ll always remember my time at The DA because it taught me more about who I am as a person.

I was told by multiple of my predecessors leading up to becoming Editor in Chief of this over-a-century-old publication that no one truly understands how difficult the role is until you’re in it. 

That was without a doubt an understatement.

This role has tested my character, patience and overall fiber of my being in countless ways, but I wouldn’t trade my time as EIC for anything else in the world.

My editorial staff was tasked with the seemingly impossible goal of bringing back the weekly print issues, the in-person live broadcast and everything else that comes with running an in-person news organization after the virtual year of instruction brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And we kicked ass and accomplished that, but I do worry at what cost.

I’ve made more mistakes than I can even remember BUT I am not afraid to admit to them and own up to them.

The most defining moments for leaders are what they do after their mistakes and I believe I’ve acted in a way that’s in accordance with who I aim to be.

The Daily Aztec helped me realize who I want to be. I see what I want to change in myself, as well as the parts of me that I am insanely proud of.

They say it takes about six months to a year to fully get comfortable in a new job but that is the entirety of our editor positions at The DA, so I’m giving my staff and myself the grace we deserve.

I’m proud of everything we were able to bring back this year and I am honored to have worked alongside some of the brightest, most resilient, hilarious and witty people I’ve ever met. 

I’m going to miss laughing at the absolute stupidest things because my staff and I are running off the last of our fumes on production nights. 

I’m going to miss the deep conversations I’ve had in the newsroom with the beautiful array of people I’ve had the privilege to know.

I’m going to miss the couch in my office because it was the most comforting place of solace whenever I was sleep-deprived, stress-crying or watching T.V. shows with people during our breaks.

I’m so grateful for everybody I’ve met on my journey here at SDSU because, without all of the highs and lows, I wouldn’t have landed my seemingly dream job of getting to work as a Producer-in-Residence at the KING-5 station in Seattle, WA.

I want to thank my parents for always supporting me in my journalism career even though the mere thought of financial instability was anxiety-inducing for them both.

I also want to thank my brother, Harrison, and my lovely cousins for reminding me that pursuing what I love despite what others may think is important, especially when many in my generation have the privilege to do so.

I want to thank Brittany Cruz-Fejeran, everybody in AAJA and my friends back home in Stockton for keeping me sane, and reminding me why I love journalism and this life so much.

Embrace and revel in every second you get as a college journalist at The Daily Aztec because it is one of the most exciting times of your life – you get to explore anything and everything! No singular beat or role is tying you down, so don’t be afraid to explore all journalism can offer.

(Also, don’t take yourself too seriously and never take anything personally.)