I’m grateful to have been a part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio. Having constant help and support from my mentor, Gabriela Saldivia, along with a “pocket full of people” there to help me succeed, has been a once in a lifetime experience.

Most of my journalism experience before this week has felt very solo. I’ve mostly interviewed people via Zoom and done a lot of my writing and editing alone.

While a lot of my interactions this week have been over Slack and Zoom, this is different. I got to interview Bleu Adams in person. And with every step, there was an army of supportive professionals standing beside me.

Something that has always been difficult for me as a journalist is my relationships with the people I interview. I often feel like a burden on them. This wasn’t different with Bleu.

I’m sure these feelings aren’t uncommon and I know with more practice, I’ll become more confident.

What I loved most was crafting the audio story. It was so satisfying to look through an hour of tape and find quotes that worked together and told Adams’ story in only four minutes.

I also love the physical act of creating the story on Audition. I loved finding the quotes and piecing them together. Watching Selena Seay-Reynolds mix the story and working together on the pacing was fun and satisfying. I learned how important mixing is to telling beautiful stories.

I’m proud of my story and so thankful for Adams’ openness with me. I learned that reporting and telling stories is not a one-person job. It takes a lot of people with different strengths working together. I’m happy to have worked with all these people.

NextGen showed me that I am excited and ready to step into a career in journalism. I’m happy that when I take that step, I have the people I’ve worked with this week supporting me.