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Going into this I had no idea what was going to happen. I first found out about Next Generation Radio through my professor. He kept hounding me to apply, so I did. I never thought that I would be chosen. They only pick five people in the entire state, why would they pick me? I threw it to the back of my mind trying not to get my hopes up.

I was one of the five people who made it into the program. There are people out there who have waited years just to be in Next Generation Radio, and I — someone who had never even heard about it until a couple weeks ago — got in.

Yes, I was happy I got accepted. But I wasn’t confident in my ability to be a good journalist so I started to worry. Which led to more worrying, I almost didn’t go through with it.

The wise words of my professor changed my mind. He told me, “You’re here for a reason.” Coincidentally, Doug said the exact same words at our Next Gen “get to know you” dinner. At that point, I knew this was meant to happen.

In one whole week, I traveled, met amazing people, ate good food, wrote more than I ever have, and learned how to be a great journalist. It was an intense and very stressful week. There was always more work to be done. But the praise I received from my mentor and others made it all worthwhile. I’m very proud of the story I produced. Voting wasn’t my favorite topic but that was part of the challenge.

I think the best part of it all was feeling the stress melt away as each task we did got marked off by an X. Watching the X’s add up was so satisfying and self rewarding.

Editing audio was by far the best part of it all. Getting to be creative and learning from our audio engineer Patrice Mondragon made me tremendously happy. Being in this program made me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life.

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