By Mallory Ferriter
In 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo. My decision to attend the Convention was a little unusual because I was brand new to the profession, and I mean brand new. Just three months earlier, as the school year came to an end, I submitted my resignation letter to my principal and ended my 10-year teaching career with plans to pursue a new career in court reporting. The only thing I had under my belt was the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, which had convinced me to make the jump from teaching. I attended the NCRA Convention with the intention to “double make-sure” I was making the right choice.
Without knowing a single thing about theory or speed building and without even owning a machine yet, I still found the experience of attending the NCRA Convention invaluable. Without a doubt, a lot of the content in most of the seminars went over my head. However, I attended the student-oriented seminars, and much of that content I found helpful even with the lack of experience I had at that time.
I felt empowered attending the Convention. I met successful graduates of court reporting school who shared a consistent message: Work hard and you can do this. I also learned about the many different career paths available to court reporters, and I think most importantly, I witnessed firsthand the level of professionalism and the sense of pride that belong to professionals in this field. I left the Convention encouraged that this was the right choice for me, and I had just glimpsed where all the hard work and long practice hours would land me. Talk about motivation!
Another benefit to attending the Convention was the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other students and with professionals in the field. I live in Montana, so I was an online student from the day I enrolled in the Green River College court reporting and captioning program in Auburn, Wash. However, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I bet many of us students are now learning online and miss the interaction that comes from attending class in person. It was refreshing to spend the day with other students, and I was lucky enough to actually meet some of my fellow colleagues in the Green River program. Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, an official court reporter, captioner, and CART provider from Washington, D.C., also hosted an event called High Tea for High Achievers, which was a wonderful opportunity to get away from the hubbub of the Convention and to focus on student-centered topics and questions. Not only was the company delightful, but the tea and desserts were delicious!
I realize that concerns about the coronavirus may give some of us pause when considering attending the 2021 NCRA Conference & Expo this year. However, if you are a student wondering if the experience would be helpful to you, I want to erase any doubts you may have. Even as a student who didn’t have a single day of court reporting school under my belt yet, I found the experience extremely helpful and inspiring. If you’re considering it, GO! GO! GO! You won’t regret it; that I assure you.
Mallory Ferriter lives in Great Falls, Mont., and attends Green River College in Ashburn, Wash.
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