10 Pitfalls to Avoid in Court Reporting School

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1. Expensive tuition

The best schools are often the cheapest.

2. Pettiness

Online and in the classroom. Don’t spend your days in gossip and worry and arguing your point. Let it go and focus on what needs to be done. Don’t waste energy; it is the most valuable thing.

3. Using only free dictation

For quality, some things need to be paid for. Unless your school offers a dictation club, you will need to buy new dictation regularly to keep things fresh (on sites like NCRA and speedbuilders).

4. Losing momentum

Do not, not, not fall behind. This is one of the most dangerous things. You get caught in a cycle where your energy is drained from the length of time of being in school, from not passing tests for so long, from being behind on your bills so long, that you have no desire or energy anymore to practice. Stay on the ball! Don’t let yourself miss a day. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind in theory or the beginning speeds. Stay agile and aggressive! Your life depends on this discipline.

5. Trying Only One Thing

Don’t just practice at school. Don’t just do high-speed or endurance speed. Don’t just brief or write out. Do everything! Try everything! Don’t get stuck in your ways. I took off for two months while in school, studied/practiced on my own, then resumed up again. So I tried all three methods while in school: online, self-taught, and brick-and-mortar. Don’t put yourself in a box!

6. Getting Distracted

Don’t go shopping. It drains your energy and money – two things important in school. Don’t engage in online arguments. Don’t try to get fancy with meals and dress. This is your time to focus on your mind. Put all the rest aside. Put your expectations aside of what you thought your 20s or 50s should have been. Let the ego go.

7. Buying So Many Books

Very few books are needed for success as a court reporter. Don’t spend too much money on books, or too much time on jury charge briefs, for instnace. Put your energy where it counts: QA briefs and dictation.

8. Trying to do it all

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your parents or help from your spouse to do the cooking or to help with tuition. Independence is expensive, and should be only a thing you afford if you have no other choice.

9. Burning bridges

I already said don’t argue online. But one thing you don’t want to do is burn bridges. This is more than just showing disrespect or fighting on boards and in groups. It’s how you present yourself. Respect those who have gone before you. Don’t swear. Run a spellcheck. Don’t have pictures with cleavage or in string bikinis or with a middle finger. Is your individuality worth a job opportunity? Don’t have status updates about politics and any controversial subject outside of politics, i.e. tattoos, breastfeeding — and try to refrain from negativity. This is how people perceive you, and in many professions, it’s not what you know, but whom. Who knows you is crucial, so what reporters think about you matters.

10. Making excuses

The harder you are on yourself, the easier the world will be on you. The hardest person on you should be you, not your teacher and not your parents. This will ensure that you are doing all that you can.

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