By Writing Assistant Lucy Katter
Love it or hate it, writing is really hard. No matter what type it is: fiction, nonfiction, formal, informal, writing well takes a lot of work.
Perhaps it sounds weird that a Writing Assistant would be saying this, but the fact that I have that position is exactly why I’m writing this. I want to say, when it comes to the art of writing, Writing Assistants are on the same page as you are. I’d like to offer some encouragement to those who struggle with writing papers for class, and how Writing Assistants can help. Here are some common concerns of students who visit.
- I feel so lost about how to write or edit my paper I don’t know where to begin.
At the beginning of appointments at the Klooster Center, we ask what the student would like help with, and often he or she struggles to voice what they what help with. Sometimes, the answer is “everything” or “I don’t know”.
Whether you need to brainstorm ideas for a paper or to decode cryptic instructions from your professor on what your paper is supposed to be about, we can help you. It is nice to someone to bounce these ideas off of. For me, talking about the topic of my paper has often helped me figure out how to best organize it.
- My writing is personal, and I feel like it’ll be judged by the writing assistant.
It can be uncomfortable to share your personal thoughts or arguments with strangers. Even when you know we don’t bite, it feels vulnerable to expose your writing to people you don’t know. I understand that. For this reason, I was a little reluctant to go to the center myself before I became a Writing Assistant. The truth is, however, that you’ll find the assistants are warm and helpful, and you’ll get some candy for coming! Also, the Assistants respect that coming to the Center can be intimidating and are good at putting students at ease. We know that there are all sorts of reasons it can be hard to write for school: some people just don’t love writing, or don’t enjoy the class and struggle to write for it, or there’s another reason a student is finding this paper particularly difficult. We’re students too, so we get how difficult college life can be.
- They’re going to make me rewrite the paper and I don’t have time.
Or something like that, like we’re going to have so many corrections that you won’t be able to make them in time. One response I have to this is that we get the due date for your paper on the little green slip you fill out for us before your appointment. This helps us tailor our comments for you. We know there is only so much you can alter in a given amount of time. We do our best to not overwhelm students with corrections, and we can always find positives in student’s papers, no matter how bad the student may think it is.
The other response I have to that is: there’s a reason we are called Writing Assistants. We are here to help you out and point out, in our view, what you’re doing right, and what you could do better. We’re not going to write a paragraph for you, or tell you to make major changes right before the paper is due. We’re just your guides because we believe in you! We believe that you can and will improve your paper, and when it comes down to it, we’re here to help you believe in yourself as well.
I hope reading this encouraged any who might’ve been conflicted about going to the Klooster Writing Center. When in doubt, make an appointment, or if you can’t, we accept walk-ins as well. Remember, Writing Assistants understand the struggle of writing papers, and we’re on your side!