KCEW’s First Event

First Success

This past Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the Writing Center held our first event! It was a very interesting test and we want to than those who showed up. There are plenty of things to note that should be adjusted for future reference and we have taken them into account.

If you have any ideas of events you would like to see hosted by the Writing Center please let us know. We would be more than happy to receive suggestions.


At the event we had several people show-up. Some of them wanted to just join us in doing some homework, while others had some genuine questions about writing. Both were welcomed. We shared laughs together and joked around, what else is a group of students to do?

There was an iced coffee bar, Hope Cookies, assorted cookies and some delicious pretzels. All were supplied by Hope College’s catering and we were so pleased to begin setting up and finding that they had already set up the food.

We also had some Lofi music playing in the background that created a very peaceful environment to complete assignments in.

Looking Ahead

We do really hope to keep getting good turnouts for our future events. While we are not sure what those events will be we can promise you have some to look forward to. There won’t be anymore events this semester, but some for next semester are already in the works. Keep an eye on the screens and tac-boards in the buildings for different events to look forward to.

A last note; in the last blog post the Instagram tag is incorrect as we have recently changed it for easier access;


Please do reach out with any questions! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Be Your Own Editor

The end of the 2022-2023 school year has arrived. In terms of writing some of you may never write another essay again as you move forward from Hope. Others of you we may see next year at the Writing Center. Either way, you will be doing writing that may not give you the chance to have a Writing Tutor look it over. Here are some tips to becoming your own editor.

Don’t Argue Your Thesis

Your thesis is not arguable. Take your position and state it! Many students do this but seem cautious of other people’s opinions. Ex. Honey tastes good on croissants. Well, yes, but are you firm in that idea? Scholarly writing involves a demanding statement that proudly presents the reader of the writer’s position. A strong thesis is hard to argue with and any normal person would be hesitant to challenge a confident thesis. For example: Milton uses themes and the idea of a “Muse” that were already used by Spenser to declare his project within the prologues while still turning them to achieve his own purposes.

Concluding Thesis

Sometimes when we think our best thoughts come at the end of a train of thought. Well, it’s not that different with writing! When you are writing your first draft you are simply putting words onto the page. You are hoping that by the end the paper will all come together. A conclusion wraps up the essay, therefore, it wraps up your ideas! Sometimes, our best thesis/idea comes at the end of our first drafts instead of at the beginning! Ctrl C Ctrl V that good idea up into your introduction paragraph! (This is not something that occurs during every essay writing, but there are times when your best ideas might not be at the beginning of your draft).

Happy-Medium Stakes

There are times in essays where they stakes of an argument are way too over the top. Yet, there are also times when the stakes are nonexistent. While our argumentative essays probably won’t bring about world change, we do need stakes. We need to do the work to allow people to engage with our writing and prove why the argument is necessary for today. Give your readers stakes to live by as they move forward, or at least to consider from time to time.


Oh flow. Almost every writer, of any kind, struggles with the flow of the topic they are engaging with. When you think the “flow” in your paper is off, the concern is probably centered around the thesis or the structure of the essay. To improve your flow you need to start by looking back at your thesis and asking yourself a few questions: Is this thesis actually arguable? Am I answering an analytical question? Can this thesis be discussed for the page limit I need to hit? After answering those questions you can pull the main points of each paragraph and place them into an outline form. Read those sentences, do they make sense together? Addressing these questions will help you in ensuring that your paper flows smoother than the Lake Michigan tide.

Empty Jar of Conclusion

The conclusion is an not the most important part of an essay, readers will arrive at the end of the paper and struggle for what to say. So, the hard part is over. Now you can sit back and relax a little. Bring your paper and its stakes to a close with some brief summary of the main ideas. Then, think of a snazzy way to end. It can be an engaging question, answering a question that your paper could spark, or a determined call to action!

As you go forth and write keep these tips in mind! Soon, being your own personal editor will come as second nature. Good luck and keep filling pages!

The Klooster Center is Seeking New Writing Consultants for the Fall Semester

The Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing is recruiting students interested in becoming new Writing Consultants for the 2023-2024 school year. Ideal assistants come from a wide variety of majors. Students should possess strong communication skills and demonstrate enthusiasm, empathy, and curiosity when collaborating. To apply, complete our online form.

Job Description

As a Writing Consultant your position will involve the following activities:

  • Participating in Writing Consultant training and development activities
  • Meeting with Hope College students to discuss and develop their writing
  • Administering the center’s front desk to greet students, to schedule appointments, and to answer questions
  • Participating in presentations about the Klooster Center to the campus community

The wage for this position is $10.10 per hour.

This fall we will begin your training, which will involve some workshops and shadowing of experienced Writing Consultants.

If you have any additional questions, contact the center at kloostercenter@hope.edu.

Welcome, Amanda Presswood to the Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing

This fall, the Writing Center will have a new writing center coordinator! Meet Amanda Presswood.

Amanda Presswood

Amanda and Writing Centers

Amanda is thrilled to be getting back into writing center work. Currently, she teaches at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and will make the move to Michigan this summer. She is excited to meet many new students. She is also excited to be welcomed into her new home – the Hope College community.

From a young age, Amanda always wanted to be a teacher. She had a haphazard way of getting there, but she got to her end goal. As an undergraduate, she jumped around majors for the first half of her academic career until she began working at her own school’s writing center. It was love at first write! (See what I did there?) She was sold when she found she could turn writing center work into a career.

Amanda will be teaching ENGL 113 alongside directing the Klooster Center. She says she prefers to teach introductory English courses as they bring in a plethora of students with all types of backgrounds. Working alongside students has always been a passion of hers. She believes that tutoring strategies are the best resource possible for students. Valuing student voices is also something important to Amanda, and she looks forward to working alongside the student leadership team at the Writing Center to make it a next-level collaborative experience for everyone.

Community is something that the Writing Center has been working on this year, and with Amanda on the team, it is only going to continue to transform into the best it can be.

Life Outside Writing Centers

Outside of work, you can find Amanda chilling with Boo, her fluffy white cat, and Brownie, her chocolate lab. Also, in true English teacher fashion, she loves to read. It doesn’t matter what kind of genre, she will read it. Amanda prefers fiction and biographies. The lives of others interest her. Recently she has been bitten by the Colleen Hoover bug. She just finished It Ends With Us and plans to read Verity next.

Please join us in welcoming Amanda Presswood to Hope College!

Reigning in the New Semester

Another semester over and another one beginning. Some of you are excited for the new semester and some of you are nervous. Both of those feelings are valid. Below are some tips for starting off a new semester on the right foot.

Find your study space

A place with limited distractions and noise levels. This could be your dorm room, place of living, or the library on campus. If you aren’t entirely sure what kind of environment is best for you to learn in there are a lot of assessments on the internet that can help you. The one that I used to determine what kind of learner I am to better my studying experience is “What’s Your Learning Style? 20 Questions”.

It can help you understand how you process information and how to find the best environment for completing homework or other tasks. If you learn visually you might not want to study where there is a lot of movement around.

Train your Brain

The more you train the more you gain. If you train your brain continuously, like any other muscle in your body, it will become stronger and more flexible. Interval studying can help you train, and take care of, your brain. Taking frequent breaks can help prevent burnout which is something that occurs quite often in college students.

The Pomodoro Technique is very popular in terms of interval studying where you break down your tasks into 25 minutes of continuous work with 5 minute breaks. Only 5 minute breaks, not; “well, I’m too invested in this Tik Tok, or the meme my friend just sent me to stop now, I’ll get back to studying in a little bit”. I’ve done that before and ended up on my phone for 30 minutes.

Another way to help train your brain if you don’t want to plot out your study time would be to complete mental puzzles and games. Tackle some crosswords or puzzles. Those can easily be found online with a variety of difficulty levels.


Be organized from the very beginning; write down your assignments, deadlines, and important dates in one place. You can write it by hand in a planner or use a Google Calendar. I prefer the Google Calendar because I can’t misplace it. It doesn’t matter which you pick as long as it works for you.

Block off your class times in your calendar. This ensures that you are less likely to forget about it or overbook yourself. Even if you are in a self-paced class block off times to get the work done to keep from falling behind. Write down as much as you can in advance. Even though dates and assignments are given on the syllabus they are always open to change, so keep your calendar updated. If you are struggling in a class then it could be helpful to mark down your professor’s office hours as well.


Hope has a ton of resources to help you as well! If you are coming back from break a little nervous there are many programs here to help you. From starting and finishing a paper, doing research, or organizing your life. Most student tutor organizations at Hope will eagerly meet with you in-person, or online if necessary

Another strong resource that is offered to Hope is the Academic Success Center. The Academic Success Center at Hope College focuses on supplying students with resources that they can use to become more confident, reduce anxiety and worries, achieve goals, and more.

For any additional help there is DAR: Disability and Accessibility Resources. They assist students and help educate faculty about disabilities. They believe that every student should be able to get where they want to go and have access to all the same experiences.

Connecting and Getting Help

If you don’t understand something, your classmates are most likely in the same place. Everyone is starting a new semester with new classes, not just you. Utilize study groups whenever possible, discuss with your professor about helping your organize a study group within the class. Even just getting to know your peers and spending time with them can develop relationships where you hold each other accountable. Ask questions when they arise, don’t wait until the last minute.

Set goals and ask friends, coworkers, and family to offer support and help hold you accountable. Celebrate your successes with them. You don’t have to do this alone. If you could use some help, ask for it, most people are going to be very willing to assist you along your journey.

The Balancing Act

I have always struggled with balancing life, work, and school, but it is very important to maintaining your sanity while trying to get the full “college experience”.

Explain to those in your life, from friends to family and to employers that while you begin the new semester you will have responsibilities so that everyone understand that you will be dividing your time instead of fully committing all of it all the time. Explaining this early on will allow you some wiggle room if things that turns you weren’t planning on.

Determine what in your life will come first and what can wait.

Among all of this, make sure you are making time for yourself to workout or do something that benefits your health. Ask a loved one or some friends to join you if you are looking for some social time. One hour of physical activity can be rejuvenating and help you take in more information then if you were to cram it all in without taking care of yourself.

Take care of yourself. Plan ahead. Find your learning style. And most importantly, breathe, you got this.

Wrapping Up; tips for finishing the semester


Congratulations! You are officially in the last weeks of the Fall semester! This semester has had it’s ups and downs for everyone. Yet, be proud of yourself, you’ve made it this far, only one “week” left to go.

As we come up on the end of the semester and dream about going home and eating good homemade foods, I know there are some of us who are worried about finals. Yikes. But don’t fret, I have collected some tips from your peers that they have found useful in the studying/writing process.

Separating Documents

One thing that students have found helpful is to create a document separate from the paper where they can copy the prompt, brainstorm ideas, do research, write a thesis and outline the paper. This allows you to have everything in one place and organized before writing the actual essay so that you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch.

Looking at a blank document can be terrifying, where do you even start? By creating a separate document to track your ideas you ensure that you never lose your ideas and can organize them to flow before even placing them onto the final essay.

Color Coordinating

This one has helped me personally; color coding my notes. I use this to separate ideas, help me remember things and categorize. It may seem like a lot of work but once you get into it, it’s actually kind of fun. You can pick your colors and assign different colors to mean different things.

Or, if you are more persistent and ambitious, rewrite your notes using color coordination. But, what if you have a ton of notes from class and don’t need all of them? Use highlighters to follow a study guide, if one is given, and mark the notes you need to memorize. Then, open up to a new piece of paper and rewrite what you need to know. Organizing these new notes by color can be very helpful as our brains tend to remember associations better when there is color.

Pace Yourself

Finally, the one that is often deemed most important; pace yourself. Don’t cram everything all at once in just a few hours. Space out your time and be sure to include breaks. These breaks do not include sitting on your phone for hours before “remembering” you have work to do. These breaks are productive, go for a walk, make some food, talk to friends, try and distract yourself.

A couple suggestions from some peers on how they manage their time; work from 9 am – 5 pm with 3 scheduled, hour-long breaks. Stop after 5, no matter what, to keep from overwhelming yourself. Or; do 20 minutes of intense work sectioned by a 5 minute break and repeat this until your work is over. Make sure your 5 minute breaks don’t progress into hour long ones.

Final Notes

Coming up on finals can be very stressful and worrisome for some students and that is okay. Just make sure to keep your mental health in mind and take care of yourself. Eat good food, take breaks and breathe. You got this.

As always, the Klooster Writing Center will be there for all your writing needs. As students ourselves we are in the same boat, you aren’t alone and can get all the support you need.

This is the last blog post of the semester so I will see you all next semester! Have a great Christmas Break and stay safe!

Welcome to Your Local Writing Center

We are over halfway through this semester! Hooray! That tends to mean a lot of upcoming final projects are being announced and essays are being assigned. I know that I have recently been given two essays to write and a final presentation to plan. The struggle is becoming real. But, no need to fear! Your fellow peers at the Klooster Writing Center are here to help with any kind of essay you are assigned. From Lab Reports to Application Letters, the Writing Tutors are trained to walk with you through what you might already have written or through the outlining process.

Do you have an essay you need to write in Chicago Style Formatting? The Writing Center can help! A Personal Reflection, research paper, response essay, or argumentative essay? That’s what we are here for! 

From stubborn Thesis Statements to overlooked grammatical errors, the Writing Tutors have been taught to catch the littlest complications and walk you through ways to fix or accomplish your goals for any paper. We understand that no two people write the same and that everyone is unique. The Writing Center is a judgment free environment that strives to make you feel comfortable and accepted. Candy is on each desk that you are more than welcome to help yourself to during appointments. You can also meet our mascot Ollie the Schefflera, an Australian umbrella tree. He provides us with the beautiful clean air we breathe in our little section of the Library.

Things to Look Forward To:

We are happy to announce that we are working on setting up Workshops where students can come learn all kinds of writing tips and be given pieces of advice. From different format styles to what a comma splice is, we are cooking up ideas of topics that will be discussed. Keep an eye out for more information on these Workshops as the Writing Center finalizes the details to get these “Gatherings of Community Learning” settled.

Upcoming Events:

We have one workshop that is currently planned; on Wednesday, November 16 from 6-9pm there is going to be a writing workshop in the Granberg Room on the 2nd Floor of Van Wylen Library. Come and go as you please! There will be engaging discussions about writing and time for pieces of writing that you may have to be read over by one of the Writing Students working the event! There will be amazing food; cookies, pretzels and an iced coffee bar! Everyone is invited and the Writing Center is looking forward to hosting their very first event for the student body.

Question? Comments? Concerns?

If you have any questions regarding the Writing Center; what we do, who we are, etc. or if you are simply curious, please reach out! Comment on this post, go to the Klooster Writing Center’s instagram page, or shoot an email over to the front desk! We would be more than happy to help!

Email: kc@hope.edu.

Instagram: hopewritingcenter

Klooster Center Open for the Fall Semester

As of Tuesday, September 6, the Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing will be open for the fall semester. We’re looking forward to working with Hope College students on all of their writing at any stage in the writing process.

Our regular hours this semester will be Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Sundays we will also be open from 10:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This semester we’re also excited for several new Klooster Center updates!

First, the center has a fresh, new look so please come check us out in Van Wylen Library.

Also this semester, the Klooster Center will begin using a brand new platform for scheduling appointments called WC Online. This new system will make it easy for students to choose times that work for them and tutors with experience that matches their needs. This new system will also allow us to develop an archive of our interactions with students. We’ll know what they worked on each time they visit so that we can better help them develop their knowledge and skill as writers over time.

Find our new scheduling system at hope.mywconline.com. All students will have to register one time on the site to create a new account.

Once students are registered, they will be able to click on any of the white spaces that signify open appointment slots. If they choose to, they can also scroll through the focus options on the top of the page and find appointment slots with specific writing focuses. Once students select an appointment slot, they can choose to schedule either a 30-minute or 50-minute appointment.

From there, students complete the rest of the form, attach a file (if they have one to share) and they’re done! Their writing tutor will have access to the student’s information and will meet them at the appointment time.

This new system will also make it easy for us to communicate with faculty about the student’s work in the center.

Remember that the Klooster Center tutors can help with any student writing at any stage in the writing process—from analyzing assignments to final editing.

The Dreaded Group Project

Written By Writing Assistant and Student Director (Spring 2019), Irene Gerrish 

A common complaint I hear from fellow students, colleagues, and even myself, is that our classes don’t teach us how to do things that are really, really crucial to survival in adulthood. Filing taxes, understanding how mortgages work, and being financially responsible all play integral roles in our adult lives; but understanding each of these is absent from much of our educational experiences. Instead, we learn and memorize rules and proofs in geometry, specific steps of biology lab reports, and the most efficient ways to cram for exams overnight.

    Something required in many college seminars, however, that proves to be very useful into adulthood, is the completion of a group paper. Now, I know what you’re thinking—“How can group papers be of any use to me in the future? They’re miserable, unnecessarily stressful, and I’m more comfortable writing one on my own.” Many of us at the Klooster Center understand and agree with you (we really do). But the challenges implicit in constructing a successful group paper mimic those familiar to those in a collaborative work environment. In any mix of students or coworkers, you’re sure to face stark differences in writing strategies and preferences, research methods, and abilities. For this reason, group papers can certainly be one of the harder college assignments, but certainly, one of the more informative ones. Here are a couple of tips to keep you and your peers on track as you navigate the murky waters of group work.

  1. Delegate, delegate, delegate. While it’s tempting to want to take on either all of the work or leave it to be completed by the group’s most competent writers, you are all receiving grades for the same assignment. If your tendency is to try and take on all of the work, divide up the portions of the project and ask your group members which sections they’d be most comfortable with. If your tendency is to let others initiate, make your group members aware of your willingness to tackle things that need to be done. Please know that many professors require peer evaluations to be completed by each group member, and your performance, good and bad, will be noticed by your colleagues!
  2. Be smart about task division. Choosing how to divide up tasks can be difficult. Try to rely on the strengths of your group members; strong writers might be more comfortable with editing the final product, whereas strong researchers might appreciate collecting information instead. If you each choose to write sections of the paper, try to have someone look over the rough draft so the voice of your project is (relatively) consistent throughout, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Come to the Klooster Center! We are more than willing to assist you with your group papers. All members of the group project are welcome during any one appointment, and we have chocolate!
  4. If all else fails, communicate with your professor. If the working dynamics of your group are frustrating and/or fostering a negative environment, let your professors know. They are aware that conflict is a natural part of forcing students to collaborate, and are also equipped help you resolve any rising tensions.

Ultimately, group papers can be a positive collaborative learning opportunity—if everyone is willing to make it work. Overcoming differences and striving towards a common goal are situations we will continually be in throughout our professional, academic, and personal lives, and group papers can be wonderful introductions to this process. Best of luck, and write on!

Mountaintop Reading and Writing

Written by Writing Assistant and Fellow, Will Lake

Last semester I had the pleasure of living and learning in the beautiful state of Oregon. Through a program sponsored in part by Hope, The Oregon Extension, I was able to travel to a secluded mountain top ex-logging town where we lived in cabins, turned in our phones, and read. The goal of the program is to “get out of the mainstream” but, in doing so, you accomplish so much more. We were offered chickens, goats, wood-burning stoves for heat, and a community of professors and students for intimate learning. The program offered seclusion, to be sure; we lived about an hour from civilization, on top of a mountain, in the middle of federally protected wilderness. On account of the seclusion, we lived distraction-free. Without phones, WiFi, or electronics, we looked around and saw nothing but mountains, trees, and books. Books, books, and more books.

    On average, we probably read between about 600-800 pages of text every week (when we weren’t out backpacking or on a trip). Over a 16 week period, this adds up. I was ashamed to say that, before going out to Oregon as a senior in college, I had almost never picked up, started, and finished a book, cover-to-cover, in my entire life. Why would I? I mean, with Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix, my free-time schedule is pretty booked up. My academic schedule (professors: cover your ears) is about getting things done. When it comes to reading, there comes a difference between “reading” an assigned book, and “ reading the first chapter, skimming, then looking at summaries, then reading the last chapter a month later before the test”. I must say, I am ashamed, looking back, of my poor reading history. It wasn’t till Oregon, when I had nothing else to do but read, that I discovered the joys, benefits, and realities of reading.

    Reading is like working out – the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The more you read, the faster you read, the more you comprehend, the less it strains you. If this analogy holds, in Oregon, I became an Olympian, of sorts. The other thing about reading whole books, versus summaries, quick articles, etc, is that you begin to feel an intimacy with the book – a kinship. It is said that there exists a spiritual relation between human and dog; the same can be said about human and book. They become your friends, whom you understand on a deeper level. You have seen all their inner workings and mysteries. You have toiled over them, you have laughed with them, cried on their pages. And then, when you’re finished with them, they stand proudly upon your shelf, perhaps for years, waiting for that sweet, precious moment when you return to them to reminisce, and to have a chat with your long-lost friend. Other than being your friend, there is one indirect consequence of reading: your writing drastically improves. When I arrived in Oregon, I could write. By the time I left Oregon, 12,000 pages later, I thought in quotes. I wrote in terms of language, style, and ideas that I had collected from thousands of pages of text. It happened sub-consciously, but the effects were more than evident. I realized that my whole life was connecting to what was going on in the texts, and I was able to process it far better in terms of text then I ever have been before. I was writing effortlessly, with my gears lubed; I had fresh ideas constantly on my mind and thousands of examples of argumentation, proper structure, and fascinating style. I spent hundreds of hours in the intellectual gym, and it had paid off. My writing biceps were bigger than ever before.

    Now I am home, and I write now and then, and I read less and less. I edit and write papers, and yet, I feel my biceps thinning. I’m realizing that there is no substitute for the real thing – for reading. As for me, it’s time to get back to the gym. Maybe I’ll start with some Hemingway for calisthenics, then perhaps move into Socrates for my power-lifting. As long as pages are turning, there are myriad ways that I am growing.