“Am I too old for court reporting school?” I hear that question at least once a week.
Let me just start off by saying age is just a number….and in my case…it’s a very high number 🙂 I’m 50. Okay, that’s not so high really. I don’t drool or anything. But it’s definitely higher than 30! I relate most things to tennis. And at 30, I was relatively pain free – could play 4 times a week – singles – then eat a whole pizza. Today…lots of pain…play 3 times a week…and eat a veggie burger. BUT…after 30 years of being rated as a 4.5 player (a pro is 7.0), I may actually move to 5.0 after this year! I’m 19-4 in my tournament matches over the last 3 years – off to a good start this year. Am I getting better? No, I’m getting smarter. I’m conserving my energy on the court. I’m playing the odds. I’m hitting smarter shots. So how does this relate to steno?
People always talk about age with regard to steno – am I too old?
There’s no denying a couple things –
1 – Younger students tend to get to 225 faster.
2 – The “sweet spot” seems to be between 22-25 for students who go through fast AND become good court reporters.
After that, it’s all opinion. And here are my thoughts (and most are generalities, of course)…
I think younger students tend to get through faster because they tend to have less on their plate – have not set so many learning/living patterns yet – are more capable of letting things go. BUT…they tend to have a harder time working at first because they have less work experience – and they haven’t invested so much time that they’re not willing to quit. I can think of 5 or so students who graduated school at 20…then just said, “No thanks” to working as court reporters. They didn’t struggle enough – and they still had plenty of time to try something else. So being young is great…unless it’s not 🙂
Older students tend to have more obligations – be more set in their ways of learning – more rigid. So time management becomes more important, as well as being open to a new thought process. They’re probably not used to failing something 20 times before succeeding, so this is a new experience after a lifetime of experiences.
Overall, I think younger students need to intern more – the older students need to give up some control a bit. Good and bad on both sides.
But when it comes to finger movement, barring some injuries, it’s all the same. I think the person at 50 can move their fingers just as fast as the person at 18. So don’t let that be an excuse.
As always with steno, self evaluation is key. “Why am I where I am?” “What can I change to get to where I want to be?” You hold all the answers in your brain…your 20-year-old brain, 30-year-old brain…60-year-old brain.
Now I need to go stretch – I have a tennis match later today!
When I first started steno school in my early 50s, I bristled when people told me I was too old. While academics were no problem for my (supposedly addled) brain, the physical part was for my body. While the sudden assault on arms and wrists are nothing for a 20-year-old, I ended up in physical therapy, which set me back. While sitting on a chair for hours is nothing for some, my formerly active body protested. And then I graduated and starting doing CART. It was the best job I ever had. You have to weigh how much it will cost you against what you expect to make for the rest of your active career. And how much you want it.