Writing Center hosts first writing party of year, focuses on concepts

Azka Khan

Sentence structure, commas and food.

The combination set the scene for the Writing Center’s first writing party last night at McDowell Hall.

“We really are trying to get out there,” said Writing Center director Jeanne Smith. “People are busy, and so we thought it would be nice for us to come to the students.”

The idea for the writing party came about when residence hall directors wanted to include more academic-oriented activities for their residents.

“They especially wanted us to come at high-stress times in the semester,” Smith said. “Times when students would be writing for their classes and would need help.”

Junior pre-med major Dustin Dobrilovic attended the session to receive advice about his writing.

“I came tonight just for my personal benefit,” Dobrilovic said. “I just wanted to improve my writing, and it was nice to talk to somebody that knew what they were talking about.”

Smith said she finds that students who come to the Writing Center once, often come back.

“It’s not just about grammar and editing,” she said. “It’s about giving them confidence that they can write and that it can be fun.”

The most common mistake that students make when it comes to writing is not giving themselves enough time to do the assignment, she said, adding that students should realize the possibilities that can take place when a proper amount of time is given to the assignment.

“They don’t even need to bring us a paper,” Smith said. “We can work with just their ideas.”

Smith said she believes students think they will sit down the night before the paper is due, and everything will come to them, but they need to understand to take writing one step at a time.

“It’s about paying attention to one detail at a time,” Smith said.

Writing tutor Vanessa Sellers, sophomore communication studies major, said the writing center focuses on the concepts of writing and not just “the red pen.”

“The biggest problem that students have is not even about the writing,” she said. “Many students don’t understand what the instructor was asking for and what they wanted.”

Sellers believes the Writing Center is useful to students because it provides peer feedback.

“Nobody that works here is scary,” she said. “And we definitely don’t bite, so give us a shot because you never know just how much it could help you.”

Smith said she likes to call the tutoring sessions “Writing 911.”

“I think that everyone needs to know how to write effectively,” Smith said. “It’s how people get things done.”

Smith is constantly trying to think of ways to broaden the Writing Center services and have them available for students.

“I don’t mind taking tutors into classes or doing something with the orientation program,” she said. “It’s really just about giving students the opportunity to come to us whenever they need us.”

This semester the Writing Center is having tutoring sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at Stopher and Johnson Halls. Tutoring is also available every from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Information Commons in the Library.

“It doesn’t make you any less of a writer when you ask for help,” Dobrilovic said.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Azka Khan at [email protected].