The Missing Piece
By Patricia Lim

When I was selected to be a part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project, I really didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that I’ve been eager to get out in the field and report again. 

My last semester as a journalism student at The University of Texas at Austin was abruptly cut short due to the global pandemic. I felt like I was missing a piece to complete a puzzle, and I can confidently say that this project filled that empty space. 

Despite the program being virtual, I felt supported every single step of the way. It was clear that everyone wanted to be there and wanted all the mentees to succeed, especially my mentor Dani Matias. I was lucky to have a mentor who I have a lot in common with and someone so supportive and understanding. 

There were so many valuable lessons and self reflections that I learned throughout the week, but the most important ones were: 

  1. The more you take care of your health, the easier your day will go. “Make sure to eat and drink water” was a reminder that was said throughout the week, and I definitely needed this. There was a day where I forgot to eat and drink water, and I easily burned out.
  2. A super long interview will bite you in post-production. So focus! I had a one hour and thirty minute interview with my source, and the audio story was only supposed to be four minutes long. 
  3. I knew this is where I belong. I enjoyed the stress, being on the field, editing and every single part of the process of this program. It’s an amazing reminder that I want and will have a career in multimedia journalism. 

My story about Victoria Stambaugh held a special place in my heart. As someone who recently retired from high-level taekwondo competition, this story made me nostalgic. Although I’ve tucked away my uniform, I’m determined to still shed light on taekwondo athletes by telling inspiring stories like Stambaugh’s.

NPR’s Next Generation Radio really gave me a unique experience and opened up hundreds of networking opportunities that I will never forget.