Post by Alex Bernas’ 19
What do long lines in the dining center (DC) and the struggle to write papers have in common? They’re inevitable parts of the college experience!
What is the key difference between long DC lines and the struggle to write papers? There are people who can help you through the struggle of writing papers. Unfortunately, they cannot get you to the front of the long DC line.
Did you ever have to write a paper for a class where you couldn’t ask your professor for help? Was your professor too intimidating?
Or were office hours just not an option?
Maybe you have a class/sports practice that always gets in the way.
Maybe your concerns had nothing to do with your professor. You just don’t know what to write about.
This happened to me a lot last semester when I was tasked to write a paper that had multiple open-ended prompts to choose from.
Then, there is the classic case of writer’s block, wherein writing the very first word feels like an accomplishment.
Or maybe, it’s another situation where you write then reject your ideas.
Because how are you supposed to write so much about something?
As the deadline approaches, you realize that you can’t procrastinate any longer (just as I’ve been procrastinating with giving you the Writing Center memes).
BUT you don’t need to panic. Together, you and your tutor at the Writing Center get through the inevitable struggle of writing the paper.
The tutors are trained to deal with all your writing emergencies!
Photographed from top to bottom: paper (washing machine), you (ironing board), tutor (floor).
Maybe they never took the class you’re struggling with, so they don’t know anything about your assigned topic.
Especially for specific courses like my first-year writing seminar on the History of Haverford College. Having visited the Writing Center for this course at least once every two weeks, I learned so much about writing from Religion majors, History majors, Economics majors, and English majors.
They ask you for your thesis statement. This might be your reaction.
Or maybe you know your thesis statement, so you tell them what it is. And you have your outline planned out to the finest detail too. But when they probe you to go deeper or play devil’s advocate, this is your reaction.
No worries, they’re here to help you either way.
After all the questioning and probing, your thesis statement becomes a gem.
Maybe your tutor rephrases your words into exactly what you’ve been wanting to say all along. Or maybe you arrived at the answer yourself. Congratulations to the both of you for unearthing this new gem of knowledge!
And you become more secure in your understanding of the topic.
You become amazed both at yourself for your new understanding and at your tutor for how they unearthed this wisdom in you. Then you ask your tutor for the notes they took during the session. And they remind you that they wrote your words, not theirs.
The Writing Center is here to help you, no matter what stage of the writing process you’re in or what you have to write about. So don’t suffer in silence. The writing process is a communal experience of exploring and sharing knowledge. While you learn to finesse your writing, your tutors enjoy gaining new pieces of wisdom from your papers.
*Editors note: We apologize for the delay in post as Monday’s tech outages impeded a timely delivery.