Dealing with Appointment Anxiety

By Ellen Israel

Writing consultants are confident and all-knowing when it comes to writing, right? Actually, this statement couldn’t be more wrong. Consultants are students too — we have our own insecurities and doubts, especially when it comes to writing.

For me, anxiety about my writing abilities prevented me from stepping foot inside the University Writing Center (UWC) before I started working there. I would have rather received a bad grade than have someone, especially someone I perceived to be more experienced and talented in writing, judge my papers. However, after working as a consultant and experiencing firsthand how much we can help struggling students, I regret not taking advantage of the UWC’s services before. My old papers lack organization, have incoherent sentences, and are constructed on weak thesis statements. A trip to the UWC would have rectified these issues and more. I know that instead of getting the help I needed, I let my anxiety get the best of me. I also know I’m not the only one who feels this way. If you’re struggling with anxiety, but still want to get writing help, it’s okay—it’s still possible.

So, how can you deal with anxiety about coming into the writing center? Here are some ways you can make your appointment less stressful and maybe even enjoyable.

  1. Search for a consultant with similar interests or a similar major. You can do this through our website—each consultant has written a bio describing their interests, major(s), and writing strengths. This will help you avoid the shock of meeting a total stranger when you come in, and you might be able to better connect with someone who shares your interests or major.
  2. Visit the University Writing Center before your appointment. Our lab area, complete with computers and helpful writing resources, is open to everyone. Even if you’re not working on a writing assignment, you’re welcome to come in and find a place to study. This way, you’ll be able to get a sense of what the writing center is like before you make an appointment.
  3. Schedule an online appointment. If you’re incredibly anxious about coming to see us, and meeting with one of our consultants is completely out of the question, there’s another way you can receive help from the writing center. We have an online system where you can upload your paper and get feedback. Hopefully, using our online appointment system will make the idea of coming in for a face-to-face appointment less daunting.

If you’re still scared to come in for an appointment, that’s all right! We’ll be here until you feel  ready. Remember—writing consultants are students just like you, and we’re here to help.


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