The NCRA Virtual Mentor Program (VMP) is a great way to give back to the profession by providing encouragement and guidance to court reporting and captioning students, especially as they work towards their next speed. Mentors can share their own experiences and offer advice on speedbuilding, overcoming plateaus, and maintaining a practice schedule. They can also build relationships with students that frequently turn into friendships that last a lifetime.
Currently, a number of students are asking for mentors through the VMP, so the demand for new volunteers is high. In past years hundreds of students have been matched with a mentor through the VMP, and those mentors who have volunteered have ranged in experience from recent graduates to seasoned veterans.
Recent graduates and new professionals can provide important support to students, especially when it comes to the stress and anxiety commonly experienced when struggling to reach speeds and high accuracy rates. Seasoned veterans of the profession bring insights to the students they mentor along with decades of experience from working as officials, freelancers, or captioners.
No matter what a mentor brings to the table, common responses to the question “Why do it?” typically include the positive feelings associated with giving back to the profession, the desire to help promote the profession by assisting others to succeed, and the opportunity to assist students with finding job-shadowing opportunities and internships. Many also agree that the program offers students firsthand insights into the real world of court reporting and captioning, a valuable resource for encouragement and advice as well as practice tips, and a friend to lean on when those goals seem unattainable.
Students and NCRA members interested in learning more about the Virtual Mentor Program can find more information at NCRA.org, or contact VMP@ncra.org.
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