I think most of you would agree that getting motivated to practice every day is one of the most difficult daily struggles court reporting students face. Not only does practicing take hours out of your day, but it requires deep concentration, endurance, and, oh, yes, accuracy.
It all comes down to self-discipline. It means resisting the temptation to shorten your practice session or skipping practice altogether. It means a willingness to forgo things you’d rather be doing for a payoff in the end. When you are out in the working world, self-discipline will mean working overtime to meet a deadline, missing out on social events, and working nights, weekends, and holidays to keep up with your backlog. As one of my colleagues, Ken DiFraia, RPR, said, “If you’re not into it from the get-go, this profession is not for you.”
I always practiced alone. It’s the only way I could focus. Ken, however, mentioned that he used to practice with another student, so it’s something you may want to consider. He said there were many benefits:
- it broke up the monotony of practicing alone
- it allowed you to share ideas, briefs, tips, etc.
- it provided for friendly competition for readback and speed
- it provided much needed support from a peer
This option may not be for everyone, and it shouldn’t replace time practicing alone. It may be worth trying a couple of times a week to see if it helps improve your skill and your spirits. Choose a partner carefully and set up a plan for each practice session. This will keep you on task and avoid wasted time. It is interesting to note that Ken and his fellow student practiced together from the outset, and both passed their first 225 in the beginning of the summer session after their second year.
Sometimes shaking things up a little can prove beneficial. It may be worth a try. Good luck!