John Hunt ’26
For many students, writing can be quite daunting. From struggling to create an argument or having difficulty expressing your ideas, writing is a skill that even college students struggle with. So, one may ask, what happens when you get stuck in your writing process? You could go to your professor, but, if that’s not possible, the most accessible option is the Writing Center.
Hidden away down a long corridor in the back corner of the first floor of the English Department Building, the Writing Center is, at first, a nondescript place. Walking into the room, one will find a reception desk with many small tables behind it, mostly filled with Writing Center associates and their students. At the center, students can expect help with anything and everything related to rhetoric, such as powerpoints, essays, or long research papers.
The center offers sessions Monday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with sessions ranging from thirty minutes to an hour. Some tutors at the center also offer E-tutoring sessions, where students can send their writing to be reviewed asynchronously and returned with comments; however, all scheduled sessions are in-person at the center. These sessions are one-on-one, and, most importantly, judgment-free.
The work done in the Writing Center is completely student-driven, so whether a student needs an extra set of eyes to peer-edit their work, or are perhaps completely stuck in the process, the Writing Center is there to help. Many students may think that the Writing Center only exists to have a second opinion on an “almost finished” piece of writing, but this is not the case. Reagan Flynn ‘23, a Writing Center Head Tutor, stresses that “you don’t need to come here with a completed draft, you can come here at any stage of the process, and some of my most productive sessions have been when students come in with a blank slate and a prompt.” This collaborative process is one of the biggest parts of the Writing Center’s services, to help students create an outline of what they want to argue and give them the foundation they need to create a well-organized piece of writing.
The Writing Center, beyond helping students with writing itself, can improve student’s confidence and reduce the stress that they may experience with writing. Flynn ‘23 describes this, “To see a change in student’s confidence in their writing, as sometimes they start out unsure or are stressed, but after working with them, it’s nice to see that they have a weight lifted off them.” The Writing Center is an outlet for students who feel overwhelmed by assignments. It is a place where students can leave a session feeling both better prepared to write and in a better frame of mind.
The value of having a place like the Writing Center, open to all students most days of the week, is immeasurable. From first-year students figuring out the rigors of college writing to seniors working on thesis papers, having someone else to read your writing is always a good thing, as it can point out flaws or inconsistencies that you may have missed. It can make the writing process more manageable, as trying to approach large writing assignments by yourself can be challenging. So, the next time you have to write an essay and can’t quite nail down how to articulate your ideas or can’t find a good way to start, don’t be afraid to schedule a meeting with the Writing Center, as it is a helpful (and free!) campus resource.