When I first found out I was chosen for this program I was overcome with mixed feelings; extreme excitement, and perhaps even a sense of pride were first. Fear and apprehension came after. Would I have what it takes to produce good content that serves my subject and audience, or that lives up to the standard of an NPR reporter?

Up until that point, I had only covered three hard news stories for Nicholson Student Media, the University of Central Florida’s student-run news outlet. I had never worked with audio equipment or software, so it felt like my lack of confidence was duly justified.

The program also came during college finals, arguably the most intense and stressful week of the school year, and it came only four weeks after I was injured in a deadly crash. I was mentally exhausted and expected the program to be stressful. When I entered, I thought I could not wait to get through it and be done, before it had even started.

Yet the week flew by and I found myself loving every single second of it. As I am watching it all wrap up now, I am struggling to let it go. It is hard to accept that I will not be headed back here to the WMFE station next Monday morning to continue working with this incredible team.

The things I have learned since we started are too many to list, but a few stand out. I learned a world about recording, pulling and mixing audio. I also learned to capture and caption good photos that help tell a story. Most importantly perhaps, I learned to collaborate with a great team in a real newsroom environment.

Working with my mentor and our editors taught me to take a step back and listen, even when I feel strongly about my work. Their experience and wisdom have done nothing but help make my work shine. I don’t know if every single Next Generation Radio team is like this one, but I feel honored to have had the opportunity to succeed along with this bunch. I could not have asked for a better, more supportive news team.

Ultimately, this program changed the way I want to approach my journalism career. I had originally planned to focus on print and only applied to this program to learn and expand my résumé. I never thought I was made for radio or broadcast yet, now that we are done, I have a hard time picturing myself doing anything else moving forward. I feel like I could do this all day.

This program showed me just how far my potential can go and inspired me to do more. My subject taught me much about myself and it was a pleasure to listen to his story.

Moreover, I consider it a privilege to help him tell it. I hope it gives him a voice and impacts our community to help propel positive change.

After this week, I feel like a journalist.

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