Monday, September 29, 2014

Everyday Thoughts from the Writing Center: Lessons Learned

A common misconception about tutoring services is that they are only for students who have minimal experience in the field (i.e. writing, science, math, etc.). Coming to the Writing Center for tutoring and requesting help can benefit every student from a first-year freshman to a fifth-year senior and beyond. After all, there are professional consulting firms all around the world that get paid the big bucks to assist businesses with major projects. My work thus far in the Writing Center has helped me understand how beneficial seeking advice can really be.

When I was hired to be a writing tutor for Rogers State, I had a general idea of what to expect. I knew I would be helping students with their papers; anything from brainstorming, to producing an outline, to helping with the perfect finishing touches. In many ways, I would be acting as a consultant. I also believed in that misconception that I would mostly be working with the freshman class. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the variety of students I have encountered has taught me a valuable lesson. Everyone can use some help.

One of the first tutoring sessions I was involved with happened to be a senior working on capstone project. Obviously, this was much different than what I had expected. As it turns out, he was a really good writer. He was organized and had thought out his paper carefully. He said he had always had success with his writing assignments in other classes, but for whatever reason it simply wasn’t working out with this particular teacher. Of course, he was a little discouraged, but here he was seeking advice. It made me think about how I would have reacted if put in the same situation. As a senior myself, I sometimes think that I have everything figured out, and that my way is the right way. It is easy to get defensive of criticism, and I admired the way he was handling himself. He was open to suggestions and advice to make his paper better.

I realized that I can get so caught up in giving advice that I forget all of these resources are available for me too. I hope that after this experience I will utilize the many tutoring and learning services offered at the university more to make my future projects the best that they can be. Never be afraid to ask for help. I’ve learned that even the most experienced writers can benefit from another set of eyes. I can’t imagine a situation when seeking advice would fail to be beneficial. Just remember to go into it with an open mind!

Rogers State offers a variety of  tutoring services on campus and I encourage everyone to look into them. For more information on the Writing Center youcan click on this link. Do you have a busy schedule? We can also assist you online (via email, video chat, or instant messenger).

So, whether you have a hard time writing a grocery list, or are about to publish the next New York Times bestseller, a little help will never hurt!

Good luck!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Everyday Thoughts from the Writing Center: Fulfilling Work

Hi, RSU students and faculty! My name is McKinze Hefner. This is my first year as a tutor in the Writing Center, and I have learned so much. Being a tutor has taught me to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in others. Every student at RSU is required to take Composition I and II, so, essentially, all students are writers. However, how strong of a writer a student is all depends on the strength of the student. Some students are not strong writers, but this does not mean they cannot produce a good, academic paper.

As a tutor, I have encountered both types of students, but I have noticed that all of the students who come to the Writing Center are always striving to be better. I had an appointment with a non-traditional student who had not been to school in at least eight years. She started the appointment by telling me she was not a strong writer and apologized for what she referred to as her “horrible writing.” I responded immediately with encouragement and told her that what she had written was only a first draft. I explained that first drafts are never very good in general and that is why students should always have their papers looked over by others.

After we finished the session, she was much more confident about her paper and seemed much happier than how she was in the beginning. I have encountered many other students just like her, but I always remember that every paper can be transformed into a solid academic essay. Everyone is capable of being a good writer, and students who come to the Writing Center asking for help are those who show the desire to improve their writing. Helping other students is very fulfilling, and I have learned just as much from them as I hope they have learned from me.