I’m very happy I was given the opportunity to be a part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio program. I learned so much about the technical aspects of producing and directing my own projects, and I’m overwhelmed with the experience I gained from working on the project on different media platforms. 

The radio boot camp wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but it’s exactly what it sounds like: a boot camp. They weren’t kidding. Every day for five days beginning at 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and sometimes a little over, I was either interviewing my subjects, learning how to mix my audio, filming or editing my shots. I even worked on my project outside of our work hours. I became completely invested in the process.

I’ve learned so much throughout the process of putting my story together. For example, mixing audio is not as easy as people think. Audio was the biggest challenge I face. I struggled with audio mixing, but luckily I had free access to the two audio engineers Next Generation Radio provided to us. They were the most detailed people I’ve ever met.

Besides learning new techniques, I worked on facing my own insecurities throughout the program as well. I learned how to build relationships with new people that will last a lifetime. I learned to be more open-minded with new ideas and to take constructive criticism as a helpful gesture. The program also allowed me to be comfortable with asking for help from those around me. Teamwork really made the dream work during these five days.

I plan to take the skills I’ve acquired with Next Generation Radio and to pursue an internship with NPR and my career as a documentary filmmaker. I’ve received so much positive feedback on my work and it made me feel more confident in my ability to be a successful documentarian. This was truly an amazing experience. I met so many positive people that did nothing but uplift me and made me feel important.