May 2017 Blog: The Five Year Question


By: Lisa Knisley

If you had asked me five years ago where I saw myself now, I can guarantee you the answer would not have been, “Close to finishing court reporting school.”  At that time, I was working behind the bar of the same restaurant I had worked at for the previous nine years.  Part of me thought I would work there for the next nine, or nineteen, years.  Another part of me assumed I would find something that…that…that what?  Therein laid the problem.  So I started to think about what I would WANT from a job.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want a job, I wanted a career.  Don’t get me wrong, having a job is great.  It has allowed me to do all sorts of things like eat and have a roof over my head.  And while it’s nice to know you can pay the bills, I wanted more.  I wanted to feel challenged.  I wanted to feel important.  I wanted to learn a skill (I’d already done the “learning for learning’s sake” college experience and all it got me was a piece of paper and years of slinging drinks).  And I didn’t want to be doing the same thing all day every day.  Unfortunately, you can’t put all those career options into Google and get an answer on what to do with your life.

Fortune, however, was on my side.  My husband was working with a woman who was in the court reporting program at Anoka Tech.  She would rave about it at work.  He suggested I do a little research into what it was, exactly, that court reporters do.  So I did.  And as I did, I compared what I found to the list of things I was looking for in a career.  Challenging?  Check.  Important?  Check.  A skill?  Variety?  Check and double check.  It was official.  I had found what I was going to do as a career.

Even after all the research, I didn’t fully understand the profession until I started the program at Anoka Tech.  I didn’t realize the dedication and the commitment it takes to become a court reporter.  I wasn’t aware of the (much deserved) pride that court reporters have in their skill and the passion they have for the profession.  It was inspirational.

Of course, no amount of inspiration makes court reporting school easy.  I have had moments where I have questioned my ability to become a reporter.  I have cried.  I have had to stop myself from knocking my machine over in frustration like a child losing a board game.  But I stuck it out, and now here I am.  Nearly four years after starting school, I am nearing its completion.  I am so excited to soon join the ranks of working court reporters!  I can’t wait to get certified and be able to sport some letters after my name.  Most importantly, I am so glad that my answer to the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is completely different now than it was five years ago.

Lisa Knisley is a Judicial Reporting student at Anoka Technical College, and the 2017 Paradigm Student Scholarship recipient.