By Zoey Rosen
Ah, the Writing Consultant. A magnificent creature when examined closely. The complex parts that make up such a person work together in their natural habitat, the Writing Center, to aid the writing skills of the students of our university. Though they have different majors, backgrounds, and experience levels, they have a few critical things in common:
Citation Skills—Plagiarism is never okay; it is important to cite others’ work. Using a mindful eye, consultants see when citations are miswritten, and provide you with help for APA, Chicago, MLA, and so many other types of citations through proofreading, resource checking, and providing careful attention so as to help every student.
A Fresh View—Putting the other eye to work, having someone new read the paper you have been working on for days is insurmountably valuable. Consultants provide a new viewpoint from the side of a reader and offer interpretations of your writing that you may not have seen otherwise.
An Ear for Grammar—One thing consultants know how to do is to check for clarity and conciseness within pieces of writing. They can sit with you and listen to your paper, audibly catching mistakes and helping students to learn to hear such catches themselves. Consultants, when reading aloud, gain the opportunity to ask for meaning from the author while going through a paper. This allows the chance for student and consultant alike to learn how the other is trying to communicate their ideas and reach a common ground for the reader.
An Inquisitive Tongue—Whether English is your first language or not, consultants are trained to help every type of student at the university. From explaining English idioms, to working with adjective choice, we have seen how tricky the language can be and work to explain writing conventions as best we can. We have numerous references available to us so that we may provide you with the most beneficial aid possible. International or local, consultants are here to talk you through your writing process.
A Helping Hand—We work at the Writing Center because we genuinely like to help people; more than just assisting with writing, consulting is personal. There is a connection between people, an exchanging of ideas, stories, and facts. You build rapport at the Writing Center, and consultants want to support you through talking down anxiety and stress, making prompts easier to understand, and being a network when it is needed most.
A Knowledge Network—We make and provide writing resources so that we can all keep up to date with struggles we meet when writing papers. There are tools on how to write scientifically and objectively. There are tools on how to make good arguments and make strong theses. There are tools on when things should be capitalized in professional writing. There are tools for graduate students as well as undergraduates. For every question, there is an answer. If there is not, we will find the answer and make a new reference.
A Caring Heart—In our heart of hearts, we love what we do. We want to see every student get the most out of writing, improving their grades and their capabilities for life after college. Writing is a skill that we all master over time, and with our passion, we aim to see progress be made by each and every person that comes to the Writing Center.
I am fortunate enough to be a new Writing Consultant. I see abilities I aspire to obtain in the other consultants. The Writing Center’s intellectual atmosphere is always buzzing. We gain as much from this job as we give. Dancing on the balance of helpfulness and heart, we are constantly learning from, adapting to, and assisting students to the best of our abilities.