Student Spotlight: Vickie Osten

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! My name is Vickie Osten and I have been a Career Step MTE student since October 2011. I live in southwest Florida with my wonderful husband and Bam-Bam, our little Yorkie. I was born and raised in a small town in southwest New York state. My greatest joy is my grandchildren.

For the past 25 plus years, my “career” has been in the legal field, retiring from N.Y. State Unified Court System. I have worked for judges and attorneys in New York and Florida. My last position was a paralegal for a personal injury attorney.

My journey to becoming an MTE student was quite a roller-coaster ride.  I had numerous health problems arise, including a transient ischemic attack, a heart attack, and a broken wrist.  My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. He had surgery and has since recovered fully.  We felt then, and every day since, very blessed. 

Later that year, due to the economy, I was permanently laid off. I owned and ran a small janitorial business, was employed as manager of a local office building, and we were the primary caregivers for my mother-in-law, who suffered from advanced Alzheimer disease. I felt that with all my jobs and personal obligations, I was stuck in a nonstop revolving door. In October 2011, I knew I needed to find additional part-time or new full-time employment, and with caring for Mom, I thought about a work-from-home position.   

Chatting with my husband’s niece in Spokane, WA, she stated she had been an MTE for several years. She recommended Career Step, as she is a Career Step graduate. I called immediately, had all my questions and what-if-fears answered, and enrolled.

As a paralegal, I read medical reports and typed medical summaries for opposing counsel, motions, trials, etc. I felt comfortable with the medical terminology that I knew. Rude awakening!  I have always prided myself on being a perfectionist, a finisher, and a great multitasker. Over and over, I have cried (tearfully), “I quit! I can’t do this!” “I am tired of doing this!” Note: This is called a ‘being out of school for 44 years temper-tantrum.’ It took some time for me to get my study habits back!   

Some advice: When you feel totally lost, and you will, get up, take a deep breath, walk away, go back later or the next day. Talk to your advisors. Seek help from others. Stay calm. Never hesitate to contact your instructor. That is their job—to help you! They are quick with responses to any and all questions, or for moral support on a daily basis, if necessary. If you need an extension to finish, get it. No shame in that.

The course is not easy. Use the study planner feature. Revamp it, often if necessary, to make the right schedule for you. It helps organize your time. I highly recommend it. I was not faithful in doing so. Keep personal and course obligations from over-riding each other.

The transcription practice will be difficult (sometimes the stuff of nightmares)! Frustration can run rampant trying to decipher what the mumblers, speed talkers, and dictators turning on/off their recording devices mid-word are saying. Just keep at it! Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed.

My motto: “lif-z-adventure” = Life is an adventure. Career Step is my current adventure. I see a glimmer of light at the tunnel’s end in becoming an MTE. I envision the day when I take the final exam and click “submit” for the last time and a new adventure begins. I know being an MTE will be challenging, a great learning experience, and, most importantly, a great career.

Wishing everyone the best of luck in their Career Step adventure.

Vickie Osten : )

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