The Writing Center (and what it means to me)

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Hot take: the writing center is one of the best places on campus (excluding dorms). It is the perfect environment to do work, study, staple things, hang out before class, take naps, have phone calls or Skype interviews, get help with your writing, eat snacks… what I am trying to say is that the writing center is simply the best place on campus. Most people’s first introduction to the writing center is during their first semester of freshman year, when they have to schedule an appointment with a writing center consultant for their essays in Writ 1 (Introduction to Academic Writing, a required Core class). While this is a great introduction to the writing help services available in the writing center, it most definitely is not the main reason why I appreciate the space so much.

Students work at the collaborative tables in the Writing Center. In one of the private rooms, a student consultant is helping another student with their writing.

The Writing Center is a cozy place to work in the evenings! There are blankets, snacks, tea, and soft blankets.

Before I continue to profess my love for the writing center, I should formally introduce it. The writing center is located in the Shan, just north of the cafe. It is run by Prof. Wendy Menefee-Libey and supported by numerous student consultants. If you ever are stuck on a writing assignment (essays, technical papers, thesis or clinic report, etc), you can schedule an appointment with a writing center student consultant. Each appointment is 40 minutes long, and you get to discuss your writing in a private room. The great thing about these appointments is that they won’t judge you on how far (or how not far) you are in your paper! If the paper is due in a day, and you come to them with simply an outline or even just an idea, you will get no scolding at all, just great support [Note: I am not endorsing leaving an essay until the last minute, but we all know that sometimes just happens]. I’ve found that writing center appointments are great for when you need to talk through your ideas but don’t want to make your friends do it.

The writing center is a great resource for writing support, yes, but that is definitely not all that it has to offer. One of my favorite aspects about the writing center is that it almost always has snacks and tea available. A couple times a year, there will be leftovers from writing center parties, so there will be tons of cookies, brownies, and other Trader Joe’s snacks. The tea selection is always great. In fact, one time, the question of the week (posted on the writing center whiteboard) was “What tea should the writing center stock?” And the next week, the tea stock was full of the suggested teas: chai, chamomile, peppermint, decaf chai, green, etc. For this, we really have to thank Wendy for her willingness to keep the writing center stocked with all of our favorite treats. On the topic of delicious beverages, I would like to now assert that the writing center has the best water on campus. It is the perfect temperature, it’s not bubbly, and it has a great taste. If you want to argue with me, you’re wrong.

A wicker basket full of an assortment of boxed teas.

The tea selection at the writing center is unmatched. There’s even a hot water heater in the space so that you can make tea (or hot chocolate) whenever you’d like!

On the writing center counter sits a clear jar full of Oreos, a clear jar full of hard candies, and a plastic tub of hot chocolate.

The snacks today are Oreos (the peppermint kind), some hard candies, and hot chocolate (as always).

My favorite way to use the writing center is as a space for working and hanging out before class. In fact, I often plan to meet my friend Holly in the writing center before class (we have a lot of Physics classes together). It is a quieter environment than the cafe, and therefore much less overwhelming — this makes it the perfect place to do last minute studying before exams or to finish up problem sets right before they are due. I normally like to do my work in one of the tables in the main workspace, but if you want something quieter, you can use one of the private rooms. I like to use these private rooms for phone calls, since it’s always super quiet, and people on the outside can’t hear you. Another option for seating are the couches and comfy chair. Though these are too comfortable for me to do work, but I will sometimes sit to do some reading or napping.

I think that what makes the writing center so special to me (but I think others would agree) is that it is such a warm and inviting space. It feels like a space that is really made for students to be comfortable instead of stressed. It’s filled with supportive students, Wendy (also super supportive), and supportive consultants. If you haven’t spent much time in the writing center, I highly suggest that you spend a bit of your morning here! I am sure that you will feel more relaxed and ready for the day.