I wrote a previous blog about Gabriel Sneh, the Harvard Medical School student who rented space in our office to study for his board exam. With exemplary grades and only four errors on his exam, he was courted by every top neurosurgery residency program in the country, and he was ecstatic on being matched with his number one choice. His journey continues; seven more years to reach his final goal.
I was honored to have attended his graduation ceremony this past May. It was a picture-perfect day. The graduates were the best and the brightest in the nation. Many received not only their medical degrees that day but advanced degrees, Ph.D.s, in different scientific disciplines. So impressive!
The brainpower under that graduation tent was mind-blowing. I was feeling very inferior to say the least. But then it hit me. No one here can do what I can do on my steno machine, not the brilliant graduates, not the esteemed faculty, not the distinguished speakers. I sat a little straighter in my chair after this epiphany, knowing that my accomplishments had merit too, that my profession’s contributions to society are just as vital, noble, and far-reaching.
Harvard may have their Ph.D.s, but so do we. Those reporters who hold an RDR are in the minority among us. Perhaps we work alongside them, fellow colleagues with the highest credentials who are always called upon when the toughest of challenges present themselves. Maybe we’ve met them at conventions and have seen them in action at the national speed contests, or maybe we’ve attended informative seminars or read articles where they have graciously shared their knowledge on technology or the high-profile daily copy cases they’ve covered while traveling the globe. We look up to them with admiration and respect.
From my vantage point I’ve seen firsthand what these exceptional professionals can do, and it never ceases to amaze me what they are capable of. Armed with proven speed and accuracy, the latest technology, and true grit, they report the most grueling of assignments and continue learning and growing from every experience. They not only report the “usual” – depositions, hearings, trials – but they report the seemingly impossible: providing CART on overhead projectors in convention centers with thousands in attendance, protracted roundtable discussions between academics from around the world, confidential interviews of eminent scientists describing the most obscure minutiae of their research. Rush delivery, realtime, rough draft? They don’t say it’s easy, but they manage to get the job done.
All of us owe them a debt of gratitude for their ongoing pursuit of reporting excellence and their eagerness to be trailblazers in an ever-changing, technology-based profession. They make our community stronger and our value indisputable. May their great example inspire you as you continue your studies, and may you one day join their ranks as a top-tier court reporter. We need you now more than ever.