One year ago, I turned 22, in the middle of one of the most difficult periods of my life. I was just over 4 months past my graduation from American University, had just completed a summer internship at WAMU, and was getting by on just a little bit of (much-welcomed) freelance video work at the station.
I was counting my pennies, fretting about how I was going to find a way to earn enough money to pay my rent. I was seriously weighing whether or not I would have to call it quits and leave D.C., moving back to San Francisco. Nothing against San Francisco… but I had fallen in love with D.C., made incredible friendships and networking connections here, and I didn’t want to leave them. But I was running out of resources and running out of time, all of which made the fall of 2013 an incredibly distressing experience for me.
I could never have imagined all the incredible opportunities that this year would bring.
In just one year, I have learned all the skills to become a professional audio engineer and board operator at one of the top public radio stations in the country. I have run live studio shows, participated in breaking news productions, and even helped with the setup of a remote production. I have worked alongside professional experts in the radio industry and soaked up their expertise like a sponge.
If that wasn’t enough, I also became a producer for a startup public radio show that airs on a half dozen stations and whose podcast receives nearly 10,000 downloads a week. I helped with the installation of all-new digital television equipment at ATV–the student TV station that I practically grew up in during my undergraduate years–learning a plethora of new IT and networking concepts along the way. I oversaw an early voting center for a full week, plus ran an efficient voting precinct on Election Day, for the D.C. Primary back in March/April. Plus I did a bunch of smaller accomplishments that I don’t have room to list.
And as I turn 23 today, tomorrow I will officially begin my first full-time job. It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet.