Next Generation Radio is like an ice bath of journalism—you can prepare for it before it starts, but nothing can really explain what it will be like until you begin.

My mentor John DiCarlo and I made our audio recording at a gallery in Kensington. On the way there, our train zoomed past our intended stop and we had to double back and walk to the space. While we were standing outside the closed door, worries raced through my head; what if no one came to the door? What if I messed something up with the equipment? What if it didn’t work? But everything worked out in the end, and artist Jonathan Santoro, was a great interview subject.

John was helpful at every step of the way, from coaching me through the interview and solving problems with the recording equipment (it turns out microphones work better when they’re turned on), to offering editorial advice, digitally splicing together audio, and other things that would make this paragraph too long.

This week has been a reminder that even though journalism can sometimes feel solitary, it is ultimately a collaborative effort. Without whole-hearted efforts from John, Jonathan, the Next Gen team of editors/web producers/general advice-givers, and the Fine Arts department at Penn (three professors contributed to this story!), completing the project would have been entirely impossible.

This week was not without its challenges, but they all contributed to a story that I’m very proud of. During Next Gen, I was able to learn new sound-editing skills on unfamiliar software, as well as polish my writing and illustrating abilities. Clicking on our page and seeing all of those efforts integrated together into one story has been a wholly unique experience, and I’m so pleased with our finished product.

At the close of Next Gen, I realize I learned some things I expected to experience in the program and some that I could not have anticipated. I have developed new skills (and a Pavlovian response to Corner Bakery food) that I will apply both as I go forth with my internship this summer and whenever I practice journalism in the future.