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This time of year Is all about “Pomp and Circumstance.” It’s the song we all hear at high school and college graduations. I have captioned several recently for various colleges. They are pretty easy to caption since captioners typically do not write graduate names, but they can be lengthy. I tend to enjoy the speeches made by valedictorians and commencement speakers. The speeches are inspirational and usually offer good advice.

I like to use the time afterward to reflect on my work and the past year. Do what you love is almost always the first piece of advice, which without a doubt is what I do. I love my job because of all the different subjects I get to learn about, the places it takes me, and the impact it has on individuals that use captioning. Making a difference is often mentioned, and while I may not see the direct results of my work since I’m behind the scenes, I know that I am in the lives of those who will go on to do great things, such as becoming a nurse or lawyer. Those students or professionals that use my captioning will take that knowledge and change the world and hopefully knock down barriers and stereotypes about those with a disability. Then there’s the piece about how no one reaches graduation and success alone. I know that personally because my husband, Curtis, has supported me in tangible and intangible ways when I decided to change careers and go back to school for court reporting. He did the same thing when I made the switch to captioning and when I became an independent contractor again. Without him, my life would look very different and my business would not be possible.

The final piece I reflect on is how the speaker usually says something about being there for you through good times and bad. This is my family and my extensive network of friends and colleagues, clients and consumers. Curtis is often my general I.T. support. My colleagues answer any software questions I have and provide what we call briefs (one-stroke shortcuts) to help when I have a troublesome word or phrase that comes up frequently that could fatigue me sooner if I didn’t have that brief. My friends remind me of what I have accomplished thus far if I begin to doubt myself. Then there are the consumers that send me a quick note, thanking me for my hard work, and the clients that give me spellings and acronyms ahead of time that make my job easier. Yes, without this network behind me, my success would only be mediocre. Because of them, my work can shine brilliantly. For that, I’m forever grateful.