Tuesday, September 23, 2014

RU Writing Center Special Edition: MYTH-BUSTERS, Part 1

Welcome to the (first!) Myth-Busters edition of the RUWriting Blog where we will take on common ideas and misconceptions about the Writing Center and either CONFIRM  or BUST them!

Our first myth:
“The writing center is only for students who don’t know how to write. If I’m a good writer, I won’t get anything out of a session”
Finding: BUSTED
Explanation: The writing center is for everyone! The staff here works hard to cater to the needs of each specific student, so whether you feel like you can’t string a sentence together or like prose falls from your pen with the ease of a dolphin swimming, we can help you to become the best writer you can be. Whatever stage you are in (brainstorming, outline, first or final draft) we do our best to help you work towards consistency and a high level of quality in your writing. We can help with any concern you may have from outlines to quote sandwiches (It’s tastier than you think!) Coming in to the writing Center doesn’t mean you do not know how to write. Coming here means you are striving to be a better writer.

Myth #2:
“Using the writing center is cheating, because the tutors will write the paper for you.”
Finding: BUSTED
Explanation: The tutors here will not write the paper for you. (Sorry to those of you who just got really excited). We are trained to help you find your voice in your writing. While teachers may scribble over your paper in red ink, we do our best to focus on larger issues we believe will help the student in the long run. We prefer to sit and talk to you about your writing, the topic of your assignment and about the ideas you are trying to articulate in your paper. You’ll probably hear the phrase, “WRITE THAT DOWN!” more than one time in a session, and that is because we want you to compose clearly in YOUR OWN VOICE, not ours. We find that letting students take ownership of their writing, even as simple as writing down corrections or additions, allows them a better understanding for future pieces than merely “correcting” a paper for them. All of the writing is yours, we just try to bring it out of you.

Myth #3:
“We cannot guarantee you an A on your paper”
Explanation: We never guarantee a grade for a paper we have worked on, because, quite honestly, that’s not our goal. We want to help you become the writer YOU want to be. Your goal may be to become an “A” writer or it may just be to understand how to write an outline. Regardless, these things take time, and a lot of it depends on the student. As we stated before, we cater our sessions to the writer and try to focus on what we see as a few overarching topics we can work on for that piece. If the student continues to come in, for that piece or another, we can continue to refine the work as the student progresses. Writing, like most things, is a skill that relies on progress. If you want to put the work in, most likely, you will reach your goal, and we will very happily help you each step of the way.

-Hillary E.

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