By Sierra Zanghi
Sometimes court reporting school can feel like the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. When you’re spending two to six years in school, seemingly endlessly cycling through drills and exercises and takes and readbacks, sometimes the frustration and doubt can build up. It’s probably why we lose so many students along the way.
Conferences, seminars, mentors, and practice groups are just the thing to rekindle one’s love of steno.
I had the pleasure of attending the NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo., in 2019 along with a fellow student from my program. As a mid-level student, I was not only feeling the weight of my longer-than-expected slog through school, but I was also having new doubts and concerns about the future of the profession in general. Luckily, the Convention was exactly what I needed.
From a student’s perspective, this community has been nothing less than supportive — enthusiastically so. Not only was our attendance at the Convention fully sponsored by our program, but we were also immediately adopted by a couple of past graduates and reporters from our state who took us under their wing. Throughout the long weekend, we were wined, dined, regaled with stories from the field, invigorated by hardware and software advancements, and introduced to reporters and captioners who wanted nothing more than to share their passion for the profession with us.
I had many deep, thoughtful conversations with people about globalization and the threats and opportunities of technological advancements. We met reporters who had traveled the globe for their job, protected the record at the highest courts in the world, and captioned in multiple languages. We had a tea party at a local business where industry leaders really “spilled the tea” and opened up honestly about their visions of the future. By the end of the weekend, I left with the feeling that not only is there a bright future for this profession, but there is also a place in it for me.
We can’t thank you enough, members of NCRA and individual state associations, for everything you do to bolster us students. I’m now an intern in my exit speeds, and though there are days when I still feel like throwing my beautiful Luminex II out the window, I have a very full Rolodex of professionals whom I know are in my corner. I can’t wait to attend my next NCRA Conference, this time as one of your peers.
Sierra Zanghi lives in Bothell, Wash., and is a student at Green River College in Ashburn, Wash.