Category Archives: Workshops

Space: Why the environment you work in matters

Do you have a favorite place to get homework done? Is the place you study the same place you go to hang out with friends? Let’s face it. We’ve all had nights where we want to sit and socialize, but also have mounds of work to get done–and getting together with friends tends to check the socialize box while completely derailing the homework train. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s to separate where I work from where I play. Otherwise, I’m risking getting distracted and severely minimizing my productivity. But guess what?! There’s a way to have a productive space, while also creating a fun, comfortable environment. It’s called a WISE workshop.

WISE stands for Write-In SEries. It’s a place created to help students through the writing process, whether you’re in the brainstorming phase of your FYE paper or polishing up your senior capstone. WISE workshops happen throughout the semester in the third-floor library classroom.

When you come to WISE, you’ll find one fantastic research librarian, one stellar Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) faculty, and one trained peer writing tutor. You can ask for help, but you don’t have to. There’s ZERO pressure! There’s no requirement for silence (and it rarely is completely quiet), but there are options for silent study/writing if you need. You can get help with any writing assignment you can imagine, or you can just sit and work solo. You can even work on other projects (like art, or math, or anything you need).

What makes this work? You’re in a stress-free environment where people are casually chatting and enjoying their time, but they’re all getting work done–even the faculty! It’s more fun than studying alone, but far more productive than getting together to “do homework” with friends.

So, come to WISE! Work on anything you desire and know that there’s help (and cookies!) at the ready. See you there!

Brooke Engel is a senior. Last time she wrote a blog she had two majors and one minor. Now she only has one major–art. People change. She still loves dogs.

The other side of tutoring

by Ariana Dale

When I was a student I never took the time to go to a tutor, or any academic workshop offered on campus. Now that I am no longer a student and am working in an office that hosts workshops and works with writing tutors, I am beginning to realize how much I actually missed out on.

Like many college students, I found tons of reasons why not to go to the workshops or writing tutors. These excuses ranged anywhere from “My paper isn’t due for another two weeks” to “I have way too much going on” or “I don’t need the help and work better on my own.” These all boiled down to my lack of awareness and inefficient use of time, or simply a lack of willingness to ask for help when I really could have used it.

I think this idea of thinking we don’t need help is one of the biggest pitfalls in the writing community. Everyone can use a little help with their writing. (Professors too!) Revision is a process that requires multiple read-throughs, and having an extra pair of eyes makes each additional read-through that much more beneficial. I always did OK when I turned in papers: I never got an “A++, you’re great! 100%,” but I never completely tanked (a.k.a. F–) on an assignment either, so I didn’t think getting help with my work would matter much in the end. I was blind to the fact that everyone asks for help, especially good writers. I found that many of the students getting the A’s in class were the students who were asking their peers or writing tutors to look over their paper with them.

This year it dawned on me:

If you want a better grade, be willing to ask for help.

Now that I’m on the other side of tutoring, where people are asking for me for help, I see just how valuable this collaborative resource is. Not only are tutors helpful in finding and addressing different issues or patterns within your work, they’re also great to bounce ideas off of so that you can further develop your ideas and master the concepts in your paper. An added perk to this is that you’ll get better and better at writing and editing your papers the more you ask for help. If a tutor helps you better understand commas this week, maybe next week you can dive deeper into more complex sentence structure and word choice to make your paper stronger and clearer.

So, when in doubt, ask a tutor!

Ariana is the Post-Graduate Teaching Intern (PGTI) for the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). She graduated in the spring of 2016 with a B.S. in biology and a creative writing minor.