A journey that is just beginning

I have a special voice. A voice that needs to be heard. All the other things are teachable.

Always ask questions and stay curious. That’s my biggest takeaway from NPR Next Generation Radio. During my time with this program, there were several moments where I felt lost and overwhelmed. 

I am an incoming senior at Cal State University, Long Beach, and I haven’t had the opportunity to use some of the tools that were available to me during this program, such as Adobe Audition and, in my curriculum at school. As I was in the Zoom meetings hearing all the other students talking, I compared myself. Why don’t I know how to use these tools? Why was I even chosen for this program? I brushed those doubts aside and reminded myself: I have a special voice. A voice that needs to be heard. All the other things are teachable.

Once I recognized my worth in this program and as a young person with a voice, the things that were stopping me from being great were irrelevant. Transitioning from a student to a working professional will be a challenge, yet with the community and resources Next Gen has provided me with, I will be a success. 

My curiosity is unmatched. I have the passion to write and find stories that are driven by this curiosity, to learn from others’ experiences, to share my own, and to continue and find those differences that ultimately connect us all. That’s exciting and will stick with me for a long time. I learned that my drive and willingness to make mistakes, helped me continue and persevere, even at my breaking point. 

If I got the opportunity to do it all over again, there’s no doubt I’d do it. Not only did I create a project I’m proud of, but I really applied myself. I opened my mind to receive new ideas and suggestions from my mentor, and this made me more excited to learn. I will forever be a student: learning, keeping my eyes open, and staying curious. My message to students you are considering applying and to young journalists everywhere: You are good enough and you will be heard. 

By Tiffany Mankarios

Tiffany Mankarios is an incoming senior at California State University, Long Beach where she is studying communication studies and journalism. When she’s not reporting for the community newspaper Culver City Observer, tutoring students learning Japanese, teaching recreational cheerleading for underprivileged kids, or volunteering virtually for L.A. Works, you can find her at the beach tanning away. She plans on pursuing a master’s degree in journalism with hopes of becoming a professional news anchor.

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