Court reporting students, probably more than students in any other field, fail their tests almost weekly. As a student, you press on day after day, week after week, and beyond, only to see “FAIL” on your graded paper. You can fail because of one missed word. One. And just when you finally pass a test, the process begins anew and you will most certainly meet with failure again the very next week. The cycle can be downright demoralizing.
But take heart.
Every reporter before you has failed, repeatedly, and has come out the other side to a career they love, and you can too. As students you’re expected to fail. You’re learning. You’re not there yet. Probably no one has told you, though, that failure has value, and breakthroughs can come as a result. The key is analyzing why you are failing and doing what you can to move ahead and face your next speed hurdle with renewed enthusiasm and sense of purpose.
This is why reading back and examining your writing is so important to your progress. Read back everything. Be self-critical. Why are you failing? What mistakes are you making? Are you making the same mistakes repeatedly? Try to be as specific in your analysis as possible. There could be several reasons: the same fingering errors; unreadable notes; hesitation; dropping; problems with numbers, synonyms, punctuation; lack of concentration; poor practice habits; time constraints.
Having this information is valuable! Now that you know what is holding you back or giving you trouble, you can address those areas and form a strategy to mitigate or eliminate them. There may be several areas that need your attention, which is common. Don’t get overwhelmed or be too hard on yourself. You are a work in progress. The good news is that there are workable solutions to any issue you may have. Ask for help in overcoming your particular problem area. Reach out to your teacher or a working professional for advice, or ask NCRA for a virtual mentor. You’ll be surprised at how helpful they can be.
Court reporting school is all about the journey. Only those who have gone before you know what you are going through now. The journey will have more failures than successes for sure; but if you heed the lessons that your failures offer, and make a deliberate and steadfast effort during your daily practice sessions, you will become a better writer and PASS that certification test one day!
So the next time you see “FAIL” on your test paper, add the word “FORWARD” to remind yourself to learn from the mistakes made and forge ahead.
The following is the quote from Charles F. Kettering that inspired these comments. May it inspire you too. “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”