As a student myself, I know that showing your work to other people can be very frightening. It is something that you have probably put a lot of hard work and research into and you don’t want that work to be bleeding with red ink resembling a massacre. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is not what the Writing Center is about. We are not your instructors; we are your peers. We are not going to pretend that we know the details of every subject outside of our chosen field, but we are good at what we do, which is writing. We are here because of our knowledge in writing. We as tutors want to pass this knowledge on to you so that you may also improve on this vital skill.
In order for the Writing Center to be well rounded and for us to help you work on those skills, each session is different depending on the tutor. We all have different approaches to help you learn. I can give you the general idea of what you can expect during a tutoring session. We want you to leave the Writing Center feeling better about your work and maybe understanding certain concepts you once did not understand. The purpose of us as tutors is not to write your papers for you, but instead to go through and act as peer reviewers. We will work on issues together, brainstorm together, and it is more like a conversation with a new acquaintance or even a friend. The strategies we use also depend on you, but are based on what works for us during our process as well.
My tutoring strategy usually begins with the brainstorming part of the session. I like to hear your thoughts and your ideas because after all this is your paper. I help you do this by asking you questions about your assignment or having you free-write for a couple of minutes. Free writing always helps me the best in my writing process, so I try to use it in my sessions. A couple of ways that you can free-write at home or in your dorm is by jotting down anything you know and want to know about your subject, you should time yourself and maybe do this for three to five minutes. Once you have done this, what I would have you do is pick out key ideas that you think will work well or that you want to focus on more thoroughly. By free writing you are able to jot down ideas that we can help you expand on for your paper. Most of the time, free writing is a way to get your ideas down on paper because being a student is stressful and we don’t always know where to start – this activity is one that will help you begin. I think that free writing and brainstorming gets the ideas flowing. You could come up with a lot of greatness in just a couple of minutes and that is the ultimate benefit of free writing and brainstorming.
As the tutor, I want you, the tutee, to succeed, which is why I choose to brainstorm with you. I want to hear your ideas because the Writing Center is for your benefit. As tutors, we are here for you. We will try our best to encourage you and to work with you during the writing process. We want you to do well on your assignment, but also in the future with both your academic and career driven life. Writing is important; it is a stepping-stone to a lot of different career paths. You will be asked to write personal statements, fill out résumés, and maybe even have to write a thesis eventually, so we are here to help with every stage of your future in writing. So if you avoid making an appointment because you are afraid of what we might think or because you do not want to show your work to anyone, or even if you don’t know how to start, just remember: We want to help you. This is why we are working in the Writing Center. We are too just beginning the tutoring semester and we are trying to get a hang of it. If you are nervous to set up an appointment or for the appointment itself, don’t be because chances are, we are just as nervous as you.