I received a Tweet from a court reporting student who missed her 80 wpm test last week by 1 word (.25 of a point). She wrote in her Tweet “Try again next week. My psych is down. Send Help!” All court reporting students and court reporters out in the working world understand the feeling of being so close to perfection, and yet misstroking a brief or dropping a word and then “freaking” out or having a “psych” that is down. Court reporters are perfectionists, and we can be very hard on ourselves – but being a perfectionist is often a trait that makes a great court reporter.
I want my Twitter friend who came so close to passing her 80 wpm test to know she is GREAT and better than she knows. If a person is languishing in a speed class for months at a time, super close to passing the speed tests week after week, but not passing, I would argue that you are too much in your head and you’re not letting your fingers do the work; that your mind is getting in the way (too much thinking). To take a test and not pass by .25 of a point means you are able to write the speed. The fact that you are in a particular speed for another week or two because you did not pass a test does not mean that you are becoming a slower writer. In my mind it means you are becoming a stronger writer at that speed. You will be more ready for the next speed class. So don’t beat yourself up about missing a test. (I know it is easier said than done – I used to drive to the bay and cry during court reporting school when I barely missed a test.)
Young court reporters new in the profession sometimes will have the same experience of taking a deposition, getting 98 percent of everything perfectly, and then not being able to read one or two strokes. They learn to figure it out, move forward, and become more experienced writers. I know some young court reporters that have given up on themselves early, don’t try to take “hard jobs” and only want depositions that are “easy to write.” Those court reporters are selling themselves short and are selling our profession short. We need strong, realtime writers out in the field.
So, my Twitter friend, be energized and excited to take the speed test next week. Know you are able to write the speed. Be strong. Be confident. I believe you, court reporting students, and court reporters out in the field are all better than they know.