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Recorder, check. Headphones, check. Camera, check. Day one, conducting interviews.

I first fell in love with audio three years ago, and have been pining to be a part of this program ever since. When I first got the news I had been accepted into NPR Bootcamp, it felt like a dream. A three year long goal had finally been met. However, the celebration was quickly met by nervous anticipation for the week.

I thought the week would be five stressful days of proving to our editors what we already knew how to do, but it was just the opposite. We were held to a higher standard than the classroom, but our editors and mentors created a safe environment for learning, taking risks, and growing professionally. It was an amazing experience to be given the responsibility and creative freedom of a professional, but also given the forgiveness and extensive feedback as a student.

Day one was humbling to say the least. It was challenging to lock down interviews and pitch stories our editor approved of. Traci, our editor, was strict with story ideas and deadlines. The story I went with did not necessarily fit the vision she had. However, it turned into the biggest lesson I learned this week: how to work with an editor. It was challenging, but it’s a lesson I will hold onto the rest of my career. I am so grateful for Traci’s support and encouragement, and to be given the environment to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them.

I am proud of the work I produced this week, and all of the risks, mistakes, and successes that came with it. Stephanie Serrano, my mentor, was with me every step of the way, giving me the support, invaluable advice and artistic freedom to excel.

The structure of this program pushed me to accomplish more than I thought I could, and taught me valuable life and professional lessons that I will carry with me long after graduation. I am so grateful to had been a part of this program and to have the opportunity to learn from the inspiring, talented individuals. Thank you to everyone who was willing to share their time, resources, and knowledge with us this week. I learned so much, and enjoyed every second of it!