My journey in journalism has been a rollercoaster. As a first generation student, I’m trying my hardest to make my parents proud. This would be easy if I chose to study medicine or law. But I chose a major that would bring me closer to the community and let my creativity thrive.

I debate with myself from time to time between my happiness and my income. I fear graduating college and falling flat, getting stuck in a job that I don’t want, living from paycheck to paycheck, and regretting not choosing a job that would guarantee me money.

Between coursework and my job, I live the day-to-day of a college student trying to get a degree so I can start my life. But every once in a while I have an experience that reminds me why I’m doing this. Next Generation Radio was the most significant experience in my journalism career thus far.

Monica Sealey editing audio during the 2019 Next Gen Radio in Orlando. (Photo credit: Abe Aboraya)

I can summarize the experience with what one of the editors said the first day we all met: “This is what we do as journalists. We share food, drinks and stories!” At Next Generation Radio, I felt like a respected member of a newsroom. I was an actual journalist, not just a college student. I got to apply the concepts I was learning in school. I created my story with my ideas, not the way my professor wanted. I got to express my creativity and add my voice to the piece.

The story I told resonated with me. My subject and I shared the same mindset: our parents expected us to be doctors but we wanted a life in the arts. We are both torn between making our parents happy and living a happy life. I also got the opportunity to shine a light on an important social issue while uplifting a member of the community.

Next Generation Radio also expanded my network. I got to work with journalists in my community as well as others from across the country. I was able to live my dream job of being a multimedia journalist for a week.

My mother loves to joke about how I was destined to be a journalist since the womb because she worked at a news station while she was pregnant with me. I grew up listening to NPR in the car with my dad. So it means the world to me that I can bring home a story that will make my parents proud.

Share This