Super-Nervous About Coming to The Writing Center? A Guide on What to Expect From Us

Written by: Writing Assistant Amy Beasley

Usually referred to as simply “The Writing Center,” the mission of the David J. Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing is in the name: to help you become excellent writers. Students from all majors and years in school are welcome to take advantage of this on-campus resource. In fact, the staff here is made up of people from a wide range of majors and years in school. We are located in the Van Wylen Library, on the first floor, and are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday. The Klooster Center is not open on Saturday (to let our Writing Assistants get their beauty sleep, of course).

All students are invited to make an appointment at any stage in the writing process. Are you confused by the prompt your prof gave to you? Do you hate dealing with citations? Wherever you are, the Writing Assistants at the Klooster Center are excited to help you!

We’re pretty open-minded here at the KCEW, and we pride ourselves on providing a judgment-free zone. Think you’re not good at writing? No worries! We all have different strengths to bring to the table!  

Want some brownie points with your professor? Great! Profs love it when students visit the center because it shows you actually care about turning in good work. Plus, chances are the work you turn in after a visit at the center will probably be better than work that hasn’t been revised. Who doesn’t want to give a good impression on their profs and get better grades all in one step? A Writing Center appointment kills two birds with one stone!

If you’re still nervous about coming in to meet with us, here’s an outline of what you can expect when making an appointment:

First, go to https://hope.edu/offices/klooster-center/ and click the blue box that says “Meet with a Writing Assistant.” From there, you will be taken to a Google Form to let us know a little bit about you and your needs (i.e. your name, year in school, professor name, the class the assignment is for, assignment due date, etc). You will also have the opportunity to indicate the preferred day and time for your appointment. After you submit the form, you should receive a lightning-fast response from the center.  

When the time of your appointment arrives, just approach the person at the desk in front of the blue partition screen. Tell them your name, and they’ll let your Writing Assistant know you’re there. You’ll be introduced and be on your way!

That’s it!

Although it might be scary to have someone else read your writing, we do our best to make it as comfortable as possible. A Writing center appointment really is painless, and many students have actually enjoyed coming in. Just ask the 2,000-plus students who made an appointment with us last year. We’re looking forward to working with you soon!

Time is NOT relative: Learn to prioritize, schedule, and map out your writing projects

Written by: Writing Assistant Amy Beasley

Quality writing doesn’t happen overnight. Literally! Essays that are written in a sleep-deprived haze the night before they’re due typically aren’t the papers that receive great scores. Why? Writing is a process. It’s a process that takes time.

Personally, I try to at least start brainstorming for an essay about a week before it’s due. This way, if I get stuck, I know I’ll have plenty of time to either 1) come up with some other great idea or 2) get some help. A week before the due date is also when I try to schedule an appointment at The Writing Center. Wait … what? I’m a Writing Assistant at the center. Yes, I still use it … even though I’m pretty confident in my writing skills. I pay tuition, so I pay for the Writing Center services. So … I’d be crazy not to use it!

Another thing that I find incredibly helpful when an assignment is making me anxious is putting in some serious planning time. Depending on how big the assignment is (or how “Type A” you are!), the plan/strategy can be as generic or as detailed as you want. I usually try to use the chunking method when I plan for completing assignments. I take out my planner (which is just a notebook) and pick a few days out of the week to sit and spend an hour or two focused on completing one assignment. This way, I force myself to sit and concentrate for enough time that I can actually get something done.

Here are some ideas for how you can make a plan:

Checklists: Draw a small square on the first line of a sheet of notepaper and, after it, write a small goal for yourself. I like taking baby steps. For example, after one box, I’ll write “gather research articles on topic,” followed by, “make outline,” and, “draft intro paragraph,” etc. Basically, whatever makes the most logical sense to you to get the job done. Plus, there’s the positive reinforcement that comes from being able to check off each box when you’re done with that step!

Online Organizing Sheets: Doing a quick Google search for “organizing templates” will get you quite far, surprisingly. Organization has become a new art form with all of the fancy planners and organizers out there. Rather than paying $50 for a fancy planner, you can find some pretty nice free printouts online! I really like the ones by Day Designer because they have space for checklists, plus they outline your entire day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In a way, it forces you to plan out your day to be the most productive!

Google Calendar: I use the Google Calendar on my Hope email to create events to remind me of important due dates for assignments. I like it because it sends notifications to my phone, and I have no excuse to not work on urgent things! You can set reminders for a day, days, or even a week in advance to keep you on top of your school work.

Planning out school work not only makes sure you turn things in on time, it also helps take away some of the pressure! Starting your plan well before the assignment is due will give you the best results, in my experience. Don’t be discouraged if your plan doesn’t go, well, quite as planned, though! Life happens and sometimes plans change. That’s okay! By starting your assignment with plenty of time to spare, you can usually adjust your plan around the hiccups and be just fine. Just don’t wait until the night before. (;