Tonya Bauer
Tonya Bauer (Submitted photo)

Like most children growing up, I had a big imagination and along with that came big dreams. I dreamt of being a country music star, or the next Lizzie McGuire. I wanted to be a teacher and at one point an astronaut, but around age 14 I discovered my true passion, journalism, and through that a new dream was born -- to work for NBC.

I found this quote the other day, "If you never chase your dreams, you'll never catch them," and it really resonated with me. I've always been very ambitious in my pursuit of journalism, beginning at the age of 16 I became a reporter for the local paper. I continued following my dream by applying to one of the top universities for broadcast journalism and got accepted. It was during my sophomore year at Syracuse University when NBC came to recruit interns for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

The process was intimidating. There were over 100 applicants for 30 or so spots. After the application and interview process, I waited for two months. I jumped at every email and played every possible acceptance and rejection scenario in my mind. Finally, May 20, I got the email I had been waiting for. I re-read it three times to be sure, but I had been accepted as an NBC Olympic intern.

This past February I spent the month working as a Logger for NBC Sports during their broadcast of the Sochi Olympic Games. I got to spend 8 to 10 hours a day in a control room logging footage, watching every single second of the Olympic Games and drinking copious quantities of caffeine. It was absolutely magical. Being in that atmosphere was an extreme adrenaline rush, but I felt at ease. I spent the month learning new skills, perfecting old ones and confirming that this is where I want to spend my career doing.

Now, I was not at the Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia; I was at NBC Sports Group's International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. It does not sound quite as thrilling, but for me it was. The energy of the games electrified the studios and being able to work behind the scenes on such a big production -- if not the biggest production in TV -- was a dream come true. The internship was not without its challenges, but problem solving and working through the bumps only enhanced the overall experience.

It's crazy to think that the work I did will live on in the NBC archives for many years to come, and when the 2018 Winter Olympic Games roll around, they will use my logs to locate footage for promotional videos and highlight reels. I'm thankful for the opportunities NBC and Syracuse University have given me and while the 2014 Sochi Olympics were my first, hopefully they won't be my last job with NBC.

My dreams still include working for NBC or maybe another major media outlet, but my resolve to achieve my goals is even stronger because I've experienced the accomplishment and the victory of chasing a dream and catching it.

Tonya is a junior at Syracuse University studying broadcast journalism and history. She loves coming home to Bismarck on school breaks to visit her family, walk by the river and eat Knoephla soup.