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Gentle reminders for the days we feel stuck

Catalina Chiang Yuri

By Catalina Chiang Yuri

There’s a chance you’ve seen it by now, the viral performance art piece that features Yoann Bourgeois making multiple unsuccessful attempts to climb a staircase. Each time he reaches a new height, he finds himself floating back down to a trampoline that propels him back up, often to the steps prior to the ones he fell from. “Success Isn’t Linear” resonates with us because its message is universal. And for court reporting students, while there is value in considering how we define success and the path by which to achieve it, we should put equal or more emphasis on the ways to build and maintain our safety nets for the days when we are tired of falling.

Small, incremental change can yield big results

In the race to 225, it is easy to find yourself dwelling on how long it’s taking to see improvement. Sometimes it helps to narrow your scope to the present, to alleviate yourself of the pressure you or others have placed on yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The small things that you accomplish on a daily basis — whether it is practicing, testing, studying briefs, theory review, or straight-copy — these things, routinely performed, can result in significant change. In this way, we can also think of failed attempts as chances to reassess and reorient ourselves for next time.

And while all of this should be easy advice to apply to our daily lives, sometimes it isn’t, and that’s okay too. On those days, refer below. 

Shoot your shot

A court reporting student’s experience is a unique one, and because of that it is so important to build community with people who understand our daily struggles. As an online student, I am especially thankful for the kind email I received in my second semester of class from a student extending a point of contact. She was far braver than me, and she gave me the assurance to extend a hand to others in similar fashion. She, and now others too, have become my sounding boards and motivators. Together we solve problems by pooling our collective knowledge. Our friendship is forged in the fire of speedbuilding, mostly because we encourage each other to feel whatever we are feeling at all points in this process.

We are so lucky to be in an industry where people go out of their way to make a path for students. NCRA’s Virtual Mentor program is a great way to initiate a relationship with a working professional. Stay in touch with your favorite teachers. You can also search in online forums for study and accountability groups to join. Meet people who will help you build momentum in person, at your state or national conferences, or by reaching out to a working professional near you.

Be kind to yourself

The highs and lows of test-taking often result in burnout when we don’t take the time to care for ourselves. If you are having trouble focusing, allow yourself a break without feeling guilty. Get some fresh air, move your body, eat a healthy meal, catch up with loved ones, get some sleep, meditate, and then find your way back to your work. When you have replenished your emotional and physical needs, it becomes easier to focus and work with intention.

Catalina Chiang Yuri is a student at the College of Court Reporting from Orlando, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee. She can be reached at