Nicole: It's a very challenging, fast-paced program and all of your assignments have to be at 98% or better. I like to compare it to learning a foreign language. It's a lot of practice, repetition and muscle memory because at higher speeds your muscles will react before your brain can catch up. The end-goal testing speed for the Court Reporting program is 225 WORDS PER MINUTE, after all! I'm a person who really thrives on challenges, so I find it exciting. I find that even with an extensive class time, I'm on my machine 2-3 hours a day, especially on days when I don't have class. I try to get in 30 minutes of practice first thing in the morning before heading to school, another 30 minutes before I go to bed at night and one practice session when I get home on days I don't have a shorthand class. I tend to practice more on weekends. It sounds like a lot but I've managed to find a good balance between being a mom, participating in Work Study, staying on top of my classes and making time for practicing stenography.
Can you tell us the story of how you decided to choose this as a field of study?
Nicole: I have a strong legal background. I started as an Investigator for The Public Defender's Association in King County, and then I went into Civil Litigation as a Complex Litigation Paralegal with a focus in Construction Defect and Personal Injury. The hours were starting to take a toll on me and I'd always wanted to go into Court Reporting and further my education, but as a single parent I didn't think going to school was an option. This past April I had a day off and went to the Green River Community College website to look into the Court Reporting program and found out about a Go 2 College Free funding workshop (put on by Workforce Education). I signed up and went that same day. I left the workshop enrolled and registered for classes for the upcoming quarter, with my tuition and books paid for.
What's next after completing your degree?
Nicole: Because of my legal background, I plan on going into freelance court reporting, and hopefully someday becoming an official reporter (for congressional hearings, etc).
Last of all, what advice would you give to new students who are thinking about enrolling in the Court Reporting program?
Nicole: Do your research and get informed! Going back to school is NOT impossible. There are so many resources out there to help you get started and to obtain a degree. Had I known about all the resources sooner, I probably wouldn't have waited as long.
$$$ The following Workforce Education funding programs support Court Reporting at Green River: BFET, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst.