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Interview with Graduate, Erika Darnold

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Where do you currently reside?
I currently reside in Robinson, IL.

What years did you attend CCR?
I attended CCR from June of 2011 to January of 2014.

When did you begin working after completion of the program?
I took the IL CSR May of 2014 and found out I passed it in June. I got hired the day after I found out I passed (I interviewed before the CSR ) and I started working June 16th 2014.

What is your current position and where?
I am an Official Court Reporter for the State of Illinois. My office is in Lawrence County, but I also work in Crawford and Richland counties as well.

What were your strengths/weaknesses in school?
My strengths in school were the CAT and transcription classes. I really liked those classes because it made me feel like a working reporter . I would have to say that even though I wasn't terrible at English and vocabulary it was probably still my weakness. I don't think you can ever be good enough when it comes to English and vocab. There's always new things to learn. My biggest challenge was getting over the 160 wpm speed bump. I was at that level for two semesters. It happens to everyone so don't get discouraged!

Do you have any certifications?
I have the Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporter certification. I only have to pass the testimony portion of the RPR to obtain that certification, and I'm hoping to pass that within the next few months. I would love to have all the certifications that NCRA offers. I think it's always great to have a goal to strive for even throughout your career.

And if you could give any advice to a struggling student, what would it be?
The advice I would give to any struggling student would be to stay focused and not to get discouraged. You're so much closer to working than you think you are. I didn't realize how close I was at the end of school either. All the reporters I was interning with kept telling me but I didn't believe them. Looking back on it, I was so much closer than I thought I was! Everyone goes through speed bumps. It happens. Stay focused and get through it because there will be a breakthrough! Another thing I would tell students is to definitely learn those briefs and phrases and the shortcuts for editing in CAT! You wouldn't believe how much these come in handy when you're out working!

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