By: Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS
A few short weeks ago, Paradigm had the pleasure of stopping in on the court reporting and captioning program at Anoka Technical College and providing lunch for the hungry students preparing to test. At that time, I shared five suggestions for New Year’s resolutions. Because these resolutions could be applied by and beneficial to more than just students, I decided to turn them into our December blog!
1) BECOME MEMBERS. If you aren’t already members of both the National Court Reporters Association and the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters & Captioners, join in 2017! Membership in one’s national and state professional associations comes with many benefits. First and foremost, it keeps you in-the-know and engaged in your chosen profession. Read their publications. Book practice to them while learning more about the issues of the day. Discuss those issues with fellow students. Paradigm created a policy in 2016 to accept only student interns who are members of both associations. I guess it goes without saying, but I will state for emphasis that Paradigm only hires new graduates who are dual members, because, to me, if a student hasn’t made these memberships a priority, it tells me something very important. As well, Paradigm wanted to add to the list of benefits received by students with their memberships. And let’s not overlook the flip side–how important your memberships are to both the state and national associations. Students are the future of court reporting and captioning, but the time to become a member isn’t in the future–it’s right now.
2) BECOME INVOLVED. If you want to really set yourself apart from the crowd, take a bold step and get involved in your state association. I assure of this: They need you, and your service will be greatly appreciated and beneficial. But, likely, you will actually gain more professional benefit from serving your association than you will give. You will become engaged at a very intimate level with various aspects of the profession about which you currently know little or nothing. You will learn a ton. You will expand your sphere of reach and influence. You will make new lifetime friends. You will rub elbows with your state’s leaders. Your voice will be heard. It’s all good! They need you and you need them. It’s a no-brainer of a win-win.
3) BECOME FRIENDS. At Anoka Tech, the student body has the opportunity to take advantage of learning in a brick-and-mortar environment versus an online course. This makes it much easier to leverage the power of each other. Who else in this world, besides another court reporter or reporting student, understands the crazy world of court reporting school? Who else gets that not passing a speed test isn’t the same as “failing”? Or that just because you’re in school for a full year, it doesn’t necessarily equate to going from a freshman to a sophomore. This is called commiseration, and it allows you to lift up your cohort when they need encouragement–and they, you. It helps you know you’re “not the only one” when you’re struggling or feeling frustrated or stuck. And minimizing those feelings that overcome every reporting student is truly HUGE. So reach out in 2017 and pull together a group of like-minded, positive-thinking students and let the commiserating begin! If you already have a cohort, consider inviting a new student or two into it.
4) BECOME LEADERS. Where people choose to sit in a classroom or seminar tells me a lot about them. Leaders sit in front. You all should be fighting for those seats in the front rows! Why? Well, sure, you can see and hear better, and that alone should be reason enough. But the front is where it’s at! The front is where the engagement is! That’s how you get noticed! Ask questions when given the chance. I am totally amazed when someone listens to a speaker and has not the first question. Raise your hand and answer questions when someone poses a question to the group. Raise your hand when someone needs a volunteer. This is what leadership looks like! So step up in 2017 to start building up the confidence and experience you will need to become one of tomorrow’s leaders!
5) BECOME (MORE) POSITIVE. We all know the famous saying, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t…you’re right!” The mind is a powerful thing… and so is the mouth. So in 2017, think and speak with positivity! Remember: Like attracts like. And you definitely want to attract to yourself other positive students who THINK THEY CAN and who will remind you that you can too when you start thinking you can’t.
Paradigm wishes all students a Happy New Year and all the best in 2017!