Monday, October 13, 2014

Everyday Thoughts from the Writing Center: Safe Space

Working in the Writing Center and learning to let others peer review my paper is a handy technique I have recently learned to appreciate. In fact, I use this strategy frequently in my classes. I had a paper due for Creative Nonfiction a few weeks ago, and was worried I was doing it all wrong. It was a profile essay, and I was worried I had not written the right type of essay. I wrote the paper about my mother, and wanted to portray her in the right light, but also fulfill the paper’s requirements. I had never written a profile essay before, and had started to think I was way off base. I showed it to my friend who, although she is not an English major, writes a lot of papers herself. She went through the paper patiently with me, and when we were stuck on something we looked it up. Her main concern was with my focus. Reading through it, she immediately saw that I liked to talk about all my family members equally, instead of just my mother. She brought this to my attention, and after some quick editing the essay was much more focused. 

After we had gone over the paper, she asked why I had needed the peer review. 

“It was a good essay. We barely fixed anything!” she said. 

“Sometimes you just need an extra brain to see things from a different view, you know?” I had answered. By going through the peer review and receiving friendly critique, I was much more confident when I turned the paper in. 

To some, this lesson may seem small or unimportant. However, it has helped me in almost every aspect of my school career. Letting others view my work and offer friendly criticism helps not only myself, but everyone involved, become better writers and readers. This then transfers over to the Writing Center, where I further my skill by helping others overcome their anxieties and make better grades for themselves. Please feel free to call or email the Writing Center to make an appointment, and take advantage of the free tutoring here on campus! Click here to visit our website for more information.


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