Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of the Writing Center

Perhaps it’s because of its forsaken location in the library basement or the stigma that comes with seeking help, but the writing center is not used as frequently as it could be. Don’t let scarring memories of scolding teachers or embarrassing extra help sections deter you from stopping by when essay time rolls around.

We’re all usually sick of our essay topics when we finally finish a paper after days (or hours) of staring at Word documents, bookmarking JSTOR pages, and breaking down contractions to hit a word minimum (no? just me?). We’ve focused on emphasizing that thesis for so long that we may’ve become blind to any little errors hidden throughout the paper. This happens to the best of us, and it only means that you have spent an exorbitant amount of time and energy on your work.

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For those of us with the luxury of time between finishing a paper and having to turn it in, getting a second pair of eyes to look things over can be highly beneficial. Make an appointment online or just walk on over to the writing center to see if a student tutor is available to look at your work. The tutors have been trained with the constant reminder that their job is to “make better writers, not better writing.” Sure, they’ll help you reword that awkward closing paragraph, but they’ll also teach you how to fix your wording for when the next paper rolls around.

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Feeling confused about that absurd-sounding citation method that you’re pretty sure your professor made up? Well, if your professor really did create his or her own citation, you may be out of luck, but writing center tutors can help you double-check your bibliography of any other style. Admit it, EasyBib can only take us so far.

Maybe you’re still stuck at the beginning and have yet to decide on the perfect topic. Take your assignment sheet and maybe any notes you have to the center and talk over things with a tutor. Scribble down any points you reach and read through the results afterwards. Just chatting with someone about your work can help you find common themes in the material and what you may be interested in writing about.

Perhaps you’re shy about sharing your work with others or talking to someone you may not know. Believe me, I sympathize with you completely. However, that’s what makes a visit to the writing center even better – it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone, learn how to make productive conversation, and see your work in a different light. Don’t let those foreboding stairs to the library basement stop you. Pay a visit to the writing center and see what it may bring you.  

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