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The morning of the first day of Next Generation Radio, I looked in the mirror at my hotel and let out a long sigh. “This is going to be a long week,” I thought.

Prior to coming to NGR, I had zero experience in radio. Sure, I run a newspaper at my college Chico State, but that’s black and white. Audio is a whole different ball game that not a lot of people know how to approach.

When I downloaded Adobe Audition, I was immediately discouraged. “How in the world do I even read this?” My mentor Vanessa quickly and clearly showed me how to use it, which then took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to cut one clip. Man, am I not keeping up with the times.

I made mistakes while trying to do this radio piece, but it all came together by Thursday. Thank goodness I had a professional journalist by my side the whole week, because Googling YouTube tutorials was not an option.

Initially I was afraid to ask for help on Audition. I felt like a bother because I didn’t know how to fix the weird gaps or add fade-ins, but I was so grateful I had my mentor Vanessa and our sound engineer Patrice to clean the whole thing up. Whenever I had questions, Vanessa was right there to help.

Besides sound, our professional photographer Erica tagged along a few times in the field to help with photography. She gave me many tips on how I should adjust my ISO or what angles I should look from when taking photos. I felt nervous because I thought I knew the basics of my camera, but my photos turned out blurry many times.

Luckily, my subjects were extremely understanding and friendly. I fell in love with how sweet my subject Clara was and how she had adorned her home with Halloween decorations. It was a welcoming environment.

She told me stories of belly dancing, her time in the Women’s Army Corps and how she met a cousin across the country from her home state of Michigan. I couldn’t help but smile. This is why I love journalism. I have the opportunity to meet people like her.

By Thursday, I realized that it never hurts to ask for help, especially when there are trained professionals. When I’m in my newsroom at The Orion, I want people to ask questions because it’s how they learn. It’s how I learn.

I need a little nudge or encouragement sometimes. It isn’t always easy to ask for help, but when there are valuable resources surrounding me, why wouldn’t I use them?

Here are some things I learned while at NGR:

  • If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
  • Professionals are here to help.
  • Sometimes it takes going out in the field to get story ideas. Actually, many, many times.
  • It’s important to take time out of the day to socialize with the other mentees.