Keeping calm amid chaos
By Faith Castle

This week, I learned many things about myself while growing technical skills. I learned some new functioning keyboard edits from Selena and Tinu that made it a lot easier for me to edit and cohesively piece the story together. Unexpectedly, I gained more writing skills. Typically editors will quickly edit a piece without discussing their decisions. Working with Stephanie was helpful, and I gained a few tips, as well. 

Overall, the program was intense but enjoyable. I expected it to be a lot of work, and it was. In addition to working on this project, it was my most intense week this semester. On top of three final exams, meetings and interviews for internships, my hard drive broke in the middle of our workday, I forgot my SD card when filming my standup, I had a Zoom bomber in a meeting I was leading, and I had to pull an all-nighter. All this to say, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through this program without the great team. I think that says a lot about NextGen. With their help, I was able to complete more than I expected. It was through their patience and encouragement that I was able to move things forward. 

Journalistically, I realized how much I love storytelling. Throughout my time in college, I’ve felt discouraged about journalism and especially multimedia work. However, my experience with Ivy Walls made me realize why it’s so important to tell stories and the benefits of connecting with others. After the interview was done, I was nervous about whether or not I had enough pieces to tell the story, but right after the interview, Ivy sent me a text message saying I was a great journalist. It was unexpected, but the encouragement I needed. I am so happy I have the opportunity to share her story. I learned a lot from Ivy, and as a Black woman myself who grew in a predominately Black community, it was encouraging to see her passion for her neighbors. Now, I want to go plant some vegetables, haha. 

I also learned more about my strengths and weaknesses. I would like to improve my writing skills and my ability to turn around web stories quickly. I would also like to improve connecting with others, especially virtually. I wish I had more time to do so, but hopefully, I can meet with the other program participants in the future. That being said, I enjoyed the audio work and editing. Besides interviewing, editing is becoming one of my favorite aspects of the process. I hope to learn more about the functions and vast ways to turn around a story. 

Overall, this experience was outstanding. Yes, my eyes hurt, but I am honored to have been selected. I had many great experiences with the mentors and editors. I was surprised to have gained such a support system in a short amount of time. I am also surprised I was able to turn around all these pieces in a week.  I am glad the story came together in the end. The biggest lesson I learned was to keep a peaceful mindset. I had many tasks and unfortunate things pop up this week, many of which were out of my control, but remaining positive was the goal! Despite my anxious and tired body, my fresh mindset carried me to the end. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work with the team and tell Ivy’s story.