CCR Interview with Jessica Williams
When did you start at CCR?
I began at CCR in June, 2015.
What lead you to pursue court reporting as a career?
I have worked in the Circuit Court of Colbert County in Alabama as a judicial assistant for 11 years. I have scoped for the court reporter also. The judge and the court reporter actually encouraged me to look into court reporting because I love to type and have also done medical transcription in the past. Also, when my judge retires, I will not have enough time to retire, and as we all know, most new judges bring their own judicial assistants. So I felt like it was time for me to do something different and still be able to take care of my family. Also, find something to do to make more money!!!! A hesitation from a word unfamiliar can make you pause and miss 5 or six other words, right? So grab a book or newspaper or magazine and enrich your vocabulary! I promise it will make you a better writer and captioner!
What made you choose CCR?
I chose CCR for a number of reasons. First of all, because they are accredited by the NCRA. Second, they didn't charge me a fee for living out of their state. Most of all I must say that Nicky made me realize how wonderful CCR really was, and she took the time to show me. They helped me decide what classes I already had and needed. They really took the time to tell me about the costs and the financing, and how to get all the help I could get, and figure out what payment plan was good for me and my family! I absolutely love all of the CCR staff! They make you feel as if you are part of a family.
What do you consider your greatest strengths as a student?
I would say my greatest strengths as a student is my dedication to practicing at least 3 hours a day, if I can squeeze more time in, I do! I also feel that because I have been a paralegal for many years, and have been a medical transcriptionist that I have a good knowledge of the terminology used in depositions and in the courtrooms. I have always been able to type very fast, however, I know that steno is very different, but it just seems to flow right along for me! Of course, just because I can sometimes get something for everything, doesn't mean I can read what I wrote! :)
What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a court reporting student?
I would say the most challenging thing about being a court reporting student is thinking I am doing great, I nailed that test, and then looking at your notes and being like, what is that! It hurts! Also, finding time to squeeze all your practice and homework in each day, and take care of your kids, cook, work, clean, sleep, etc. I must admit that it takes a little while to get use to it all, but you do get use to it! I get to practice at work a lot to so that really helps me out. It's so overwhelming some days and I feel like I can't and won't get it, but the more I practice I eventually do!
Do you have any children?
Yes, I have two beautiful girls. Savana is age 18 and Julianna is age 3. I also have a wonderful husband, Jeremy, who helps me very much!
Have you continued to work while in school?
Yes. I work full-time at the courthouse and part-time at the Rattlesnake Saloon as a waitress.
What is your number one tip for managing your time?
Make a journal, calendar, or notebook! I sit down each week, and pencil in my family, work, and school events, and work to be done! I always make sure I do the things with my family!! Then I add on the classes and school work in between! Some days I get up an hour earlier if I have to or I will work through my lunch break. I basically squeeze steno in as much as possible! I hardly ever watch TV anymore, and if I do, I have my steno machine out typing away!
What do you envision yourself doing upon graduation?
Going on a week vacation to celebrate! Lol! Finish all my certification tests ASAP!!! I would like to freelance or be an official, but I am not quite sure yet! I am hopefully fixing to start interning with a freelance and a official reporter and learn more about each one. I would sort of like to travel around, maybe even move to a new state.
What would you tell someone who is considering pursuing a career in court reporting.
I would tell them to jump in and get started. I would tell them that CCR is a great place to start no matter where you live! We need all the court reporters we can get! It may seem hard at first, but it does get better and the rewards of getting those tests passed and building that speed feels amazing! If you put your mind to it, I believe you can do anything!
What advice do you have for current students who are struggling.
Honestly, all I can tell the students struggling right now is to keep practicing and practice at higher speeds! At first, you will be like, I can't get that, but you will! Practice high and then come back down to your goal speed! It will sound slow! Also, practice one five minute piece until you get every word correct! Over and over! Then you will have gotten those steno stokes down pat!!!! Get the speed first, then perfect the words! Make your dictionary to suit your writing! You are the one that is going to be editing it! So long as you can read it is what matters! And last but not least, READ YOUR NOTES!!!!!
We all have hectic lives either with families or pets or lots of jobs, but I truly believe if you set your mind to it, you will succeed! Also, don't stress yourself out all the time! If you had a hard or bad day, take a little break. Take some time for yourself only if it's 20 mins! You will be surprised at how much it will help to get you back in the mindset you need to be in! Don't give up!! It is hard and frustrating, but it's also an awesome challenge to face and overcome!!!!! And we still have fun! And live our lives!!! But all the other time is steno, steno, steno!!!!!