Going into this week I really did not know what to expect. I felt genuine excitement, but also apprehension because a part of me questioned if would I even be able to keep up. I went in with the mindset that I just wanted to do well, to come out at the end of this taking all that this program offered, and have something that I am proud to showcase.

I am usually pretty reserved when it comes to new environments and new people. Sometimes the notion of taking on an experience outside my comfort zone is daunting. But from the very first day, being around other students who were not only super-kind, but also have the same feelings I had, allowed me to instantly feel comfortable and made it easier to open up.

At the beginning of the week I was also a bit overwhelmed. I had felt prepared because I thought of my story idea and who I wanted to interview ahead of time, and I thought I was ahead of the game. That feeling soon disappeared when I had to revamp the idea of my story on the second day and start building everything from scratch again.

Having to go back to the drawing board unsettled me, but looking back I realize my frustration came from thinking that I was incapable of coming up with something else.That experience pushed me to not feel defeated when things do not work out the way I originally planned, because most times, it can be replaced with something better.

At the end of this week, I can reflect and say that I am glad my original idea didn’t work. Coming up with a new idea also meant coming up with a new interview subject. If I had not gutted my first story, I would have never met my subject Corem Coreano, who was one of the most insightful and brightest people I could have ever met. His story about going through poverty, what he dealt with and overcame, really put things into perspective for me. Being able to talk with him about how he took charge of his life by believing he deserved better and finding the courage at age 17 to run away and build a life for himself, was profound and inspiring.

Next Generation Radio took everything that I have learned in school and tested my knowledge with every task I had to take on. I am thankful for my mentor, and the knowledge she was able to impart to me. Her knowledge and perspective not only made me more aware of my quirks, but also showed me how I can improve my skills as a young journalist. The work required to put together my story reminded me that journalism is the right career path for me. Recording the story, writing the article, taking photos to give the story more context, made me realize how much I love creating a piece and molding a narrative that might inspire and inform people.

It was a lot to accomplish, but the feeling of completing every task and receiving such encouraging words from the staff along the way gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

I aim to take everything I have learned and apply the methods to every project I do in the future. I am forever grateful that I was chosen for this experience and even more thankful to everyone who I was able to learn from and connect with throughout the week. This experience has shown  me to believe in my skills and not to always doubt myself along the way. Even though it was only a week long, Next Generation Radio has already had a major impact on my life. I hope to keep in contact with everyone that I’ve gotten to know over the course of this week.

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