Three years

A little over three years ago, I went to a Python conference that changed my life. I ran into Mirabai Knight, got to see her provide live captioning for a speaker, and came home totally inspired to try to learn steno myself. Ever since that conference, I have dreamed of learning steno, being good enough to use it at work, and getting to show other co-corkers what steno looks like in person.

Because of the pandemic, I have had a lot of time to practice steno, but have not seen any co-workers in person for a while. In fact, I now work for a new company (called Finite State, which has been an awesome place to work!) and even moved across the country to Oregon. A lot has changed!

Yesterday, for the first time since going to my first Python conference, I got to meet up with co-workers in person (during a retreat), bring my steno board, and answer questions about steno in real life. It was absolutely unreal and so much fun.

It’s interesting to think about how I imagined my steno journey happening compared to how things actually played out. I certainly didn’t see the pandemic happening, or any of the other global events. The world has been through a lot, and both my family and I have changed too. Being a bit too optimistic perhaps, I had seen myself picking up steno rapidly. It turns out that there is so, so much to absorb, though, and gaining the dexterity and muscle memory that you need just takes time. Doing all of this with little kiddos and all of the changes that came with the pandemic also made steno practice tricky, too.

There were also some amazingly cool things that happened that I didn’t see coming either: making this mini-blog, stenoing to music, learning how to steno in emacs with a friend, or even trying to steno in a different language.

A lot has happened. So much has changed. But during all of the ups and downs, steno has been an amazing tool, a fascinating skill to learn and practice, and finally an excuse to hang out with one of the most passionate and friendly communities I’ve ever come across.

Steno used to be something you had to go to school for, but now it’s something that anyone can enjoy as a hobby. I’m amazed by and incredibly grateful for steno, the new community that is being built around, and everyone who helped make this whole thing possible.