Two girls from my steno class, Amanda and Kathy, and I all went out to lunch today at this English pub downtown called the Royal Mile. After we ordered our drinks and food and had had some conversation already, there was a natural lull. Amanda turned and looked at me, getting serious for a (big) change. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "Katie, we're pretty concerned about you. Usually you're really on top of things, but you've been pretty flighty lately and you seem distracted. Is there something bothering you?"
I was pretty surprised. Kathy and Amanda are definitely friends of mine. When you go through this program, the friends you make in it have the capability to last a lifetime. But I had no idea they cared enough to know that this was definitely an off-week for me. It was surprising, humbling, and most of all, heartwarming. To have friends who care enough to ask you what's going on when they think something may be wrong...you don't find that too often.
So I told them the truth. I'm really stressing about this program. I haven't passed any takes yet this term. Getting back transcript after transcript that just says "T" at the top (it stands for "transcribed", as in, "Thanks for playing, you weren't close enough for a percentage") is discouraging. The GI Bill benefits for me are expiring in May, and I worry about not passing my speed class this term a lot because of that and because of my own personal standards and expectations. I just feel there's a lot of pressure on me all the time to perform, perform, perform.
I know people who haven't done this program can try to empathize, but unless you've gone through it, you can't ever truly understand what it's like. It's emotionally draining -- the high points of passing takes and speed classes, the low points of no-takes-passed streaks (like now). It's not that I'm not doing the work. I really am. It just hasn't clicked for me yet. That's the phrase the advanced speed students use. "One day, it'll just click."
I really hope that day is soon.
Until then, I know I have some truly wonderful friends to help me get through it, to inspire and encourage me, and to eat tasty bar food and drink beer in the middle of the day. (Only one!)