Note from Uncle Dale: The Speech 

Hi every one, it’s your Uncle Dale.

Well, the moratorium is over (edit-well that dates when I wrote this!).  It is time again for students or those you mentor who should be attempting certification to, in equal parts, avoid eye contact with you in case you may be tempted to ask them their testing goals and/or try to extract from you a guarantee that they WILL pass the certification test on their first attempt.

FYI, I won’t make guarantees for things I can’t control. 

I will look at samples of your work and tell you if I believe you are in the ballpark or not.  I may even tell you if I think you are on the field, in the bleachers, buying  hotdog in the mezzanine or still tailgating in the parking lot.  But, I will not promise that you will produce work at the moment of performance test that meets the expected standards. 

That is all on you.

I have given pep-talks to many potential interpreters before the NIC(k-e-y…) as well as prior to various and sundry state certifications. Like other professors, mentors and supporters I do my very best to make sure each person I helped prepare is as prepared as possible. 

I also send them with, what I believe to be, a very important final assignment.  

Each one is to call me the minute they finish the testing so that I can give them “The Speech.”

I originally got a version of The Speech from a friend of mine the afternoon of the second day of my Bar exam in Massachusetts.  I then gave it to the first student I sent into the breech.  She was fully ready but I thought she was going to have a nervous breakdown when it was over. 

And now I give The Speech to you. 

Use it well for any applicable situation, not just certification testing.

Ahem. So, you just walked out of the NIC (or State test or other QA)?

At this moment you are thinking “Now I wait… ” 

Yep, now you wait.

Next you will think “what if I screwed up!”

Eh, Maybe.

Your heart will start to pound and your palms will sweat and you will tell yourself, “I will just not think about it until I get the results.”

Yes you will.

You will, just accept it.

All the comforting, but self-deluding, thoughts that you “will just put it out of your mind” won’t stop it from plaguing you.

You will worry about it. You know you will.

So, give yourself permission to, but on your own terms!

Here is what you do, set yourself a time, 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours… it does not matter just set a time, and for that time give yourself permission to totally lose it. Second guess everything you did.


Remember THAT moment.


Pick apart your performance.

Beat yourself up over your ASL grammar and English sentence structure.

Be relentless!

And when the alarm goes off, stop.


Let the fear and anxiety and self doubt in, let it show you what it’s selling, and then kick it out without buying it.

If you don’t give yourself permission to do this at a time and in a manner you choose, you will still do it. You will just just do it in every quiet moment or sleepless night from the time you walk out to the test until the day the results arrive. The doubt and anxiety will wait for you in quiet hallways and sneak up on you each time you close your eyes.

Do allow the fear and self-doubt to take over at the time you choose, in the place you choose and in the way you choose, and when it tries to creep in you can say, “we’ve already talked about this, still not interested.” When negative talk treats your head like a time-share you can tell it, “I’ve seen what you’re selling. I sat through the whole sales pitch and I did not buy in. Go way.”

Give all that crap a chance to wear itself out and you can own your own mind.

Thus endeth The Speech.

Author: uncledalesrules

These blogs (I have two) began as a series of sayings I use to teach interpreting workshops, and political diatribes on Facebook. They moved from Facebook to this blog site: 1. as a way to remove them from my head (cuts down on the noise in there); and, 2. to give a better home to both my "less serious and satire laden posts" and my "more serious and satire laden posts." I guess it's up to you to decide which is which.

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