Day Six: Breaking down walls, building up confidence

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

By Melissa Chen, June 15, 2019


Today was quite relaxing even though it’s the weekend and we’re all still working. I was really stressed about my story most of this week because I couldn’t find sources to interview. In the end, I managed to find a few, but it felt like a pretty close call. Now that that’s over, I kind of miss it. It’s weird, but I love the anxiety and energy when the deadlines come up; it makes me more focused and productive.


I was editing my first draft and writing interview questions for my next story in the morning. During lunch, I went out with some really cool people — a few I hadn’t really gotten to know before. I think everyone’s shifting gears from their first to second story. For me, it’s good to have time to reflect on what I’ve learned from my reporting so far and brainstorm ideas for my next stories. I started outlining an opinion article on an issue I’m very passionate about.


I had a more straightforward story tonight covering an event at Backesto Park in Northside — a fun and exciting way to end my Saturday. There was live music, food and vendors. There were so many dogs (which made everything better) and people in attendance; the turnout was really great.


I wasn’t nervous at all when we got there, but as we started walking in, I remembered I had to actually speak to people. I didn’t want to disturb and it felt awkward to go up to them. Ruth, who was the photographer, jumped right in with her camera. I think that helped me be more comfortable. I started strolling around, noting everything down. I walked up to someone with my list of prepared questions, but not more than a minute later, I gave up on the list (which felt super unnatural) and just tried having a good conversation. I think when it was natural people were more friendly and open.


I was still awkward, but I stopped overthinking and it was a success. My instinct was to go for people that had babies (in my head they were nicer), but I ended up talking to anyone. One couple really liked to travel and sample different food, and another woman had moved from Ireland three years ago with her husband. That latter conversation was my favorite because she was a little quiet and nervous too, but we had a good connection. The woman had a strong Irish accent that I didn’t even pick up on at first. I realized later in the conversation, though, that I was kind of subconsciously mirroring her inflections.


For that moment, I was speaking in a really bad Irish accent, interviewing an awesome stranger and surrounded by adorable dogs in the middle of a San Jose event called Bark-esto, all for a newspaper called The Mosaic.

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