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I’d noticed flyers in the hallways on my way to class for the Next Generation Radio Bootcamp last year, and I decided to apply. I submitted my application the night before the deadline, maybe a few minutes before the deadline. No editing, no  real thorough thought process, either. I can’t say I was surprised when I didn’t get a call back. . But the possibility stuck with me. A seed was planted and I made it my mission to get a spot in NextGen before I graduated.

At the beginning of the last Spring semester, I prepared and submitted my application months before the deadline, on accident. (Notice the rolling deadline, don’t confuse another school’s date for yours!) As the semester went by and I juggled classes and work, I had forgotten about my application, save for a few times when it would come up in conversation with professors or peers.

Getting my acceptance email from Doug and earning a spot in the program was a testament in how far I’d come in the past year – getting more involved in school, writing and publishing more often, and trying a little bit of everything.

Before the first official day of the program, I had set some intentions for the week ahead: Walking in everyday with gratitude for the work and experience I was learning with NextGen, absorbing as much advice and knowledge from my mentor and others’, and staying fully engaged in what I was working on and in the conversations I was having with others.

The past five days have been busy, demanding, and sleep-deprived. But, I’ve sincerely enjoyed every moment of writing, logging tape, interviewing, and creating something to share with an audience.

Mixing and producing the audio for the story taught me so much about how important little sounds, room tone, and introductions are. As Patrice, our sound engineer, mixed my audio, I was introduced to an entirely new world of Adobe Audition. I was amazed at the different ways she was able to make the sound flow consistently and smoothly, and I probably could have sat there and watched her do it for hours. (Thank you, Patrice!)

Most importantly, I learned that, on a time-crunch for a deadline, I don’t have time to be scared or timid. My mentor constantly encouraged me to push myself in order to get the story. When your interview is on Tuesday night and the whole story needs to be produced by Friday afternoon, you don’t have time to be afraid to ask your interviewee deeper, more uncomfortable and meaningful questions or get into certain spaces in order to get the sound you need for the story to make sense on the radio. (Thank you, Maggie!)

I am earnestly grateful for what the past week has taught me and for everyone on the team who played a significant role in encouraging one another and pushing one another. I am also grateful for the to-do board and its role in the competition of finishing the story.

I can’t wait to see what kind of opportunities come next to put to use the skills I learned this week in this program.