by Cory Anderson
The holidays are an incredibly stressful time for everyone. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done, and this rings especially true for college students. As we get closer to finals, our schedules are becoming more hectic, and the writing center is getting a lot busier. Not only are we as tutors stressed, our clients are also growing increasingly stressed. Often, this stress tends to be taken out on others, whether we mean it to or not. The writing center can often be a facilitator for this stress, and we have all seen students reach their breaking point with their papers. This holiday season, we as tutors should be looking for ways to avoid or mitigate these breakdowns that students and tutors alike may experience. Stress over the holidays is like the seasonal drinks at Starbucks: it comes and it goes, and there never seems to be the perfect combination of gingerbread and mint (or in our case, the right combination of homework and relaxation!). In order to avoid mismatched combinations this semester, here are a few helpful tips:
This is much easier said than done. However, this will make the holidays less stressful for everyone. Even if you don’t own or don’t think that you will use a planner, buy one for this time of year! Make note of everything that is going on this last month, from assignments as small as worksheets to projects as big as your final portfolios.
Students: make sure you book your appointments with the writing center early!
Tutors: do not take on more appointments than you can handle this semester; your work is important, too!
Don’t commit to more than you can handle!
A hot topic this semester has been students’ and tutors’ self-agency. Remember it’s okay to say “no”! You will not be able to make every football game or midnight movie premiere. There will always be others.
Tutors: keep track of your paper deadlines and finals schedule and let someone know if you need to change your shifts.
Students: remember that your tutors are students too, and that while they want to assist you in every way possible with your paper, sometimes they can’t get to absolutely everything you need in one session (and remember that they won’t edit your papers for you!).
Take time to relax!
This might seem impossible this time of year, but it must be done! If you’re too tired and overworked then you’ll get absolutely nowhere. Whether your idea of relaxation is cuddling up with a good book at Barnes & Noble or taking a 3.5 mile jog at the marina, make sure that you take the time to pamper yourself every now and then. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is simply walk away from your paper for a few hours and give your brain time to relax. This applies to both tutors and students; remember that your brain needs a little rest every once in a while, too!
Don’t forget the holidays should be fun. Enjoy those pumpkin spice lattes and get those final papers done!