The Writing Center is a Safe Space to Share

Monica Flickinger

 

Our goal at the Cal U Writing Center, aside from helping you to become a better writer, is to provide a safe, comfortable space for you. I hear so often in my sessions with students that you are frustrated with your assignments and you don’t enjoy writing. So, you come here to share your concerns with us, in hopes that we can meet in that moment and I can help you find the next steps. I listen, ask questions, and guide you toward understanding on your own. The reason I and my peer writing consultants are able to do this is because we’re students, too. We have struggled with our own assignments and have needed help in the same way that you do. That is what makes our Writing Center, and writing centers around the nation, so special. We share the same experiences as you do.

Our writing consultants hold common ground, but none of us are quite alike. We range in majors, specialties, and passions. We have consultants who are creative writers and would love to read your poetry or fiction; others enjoy helping you revise cover letters or develop a strong understanding of APA. Some consultants want to educate for a living, while others love to edit. We are all dynamic, just like you. You will come into our Writing Center with different strengths and interests. You may be excited about your topic and want to make sure your ideas are communicated effectively, or maybe you will be worried that you haven’t met your requirements. Either way, we are here to listen, discuss, and let you grow in our time together.

Our consultants are constantly working to improve our skills so that we can be the most helpful to you. We are reading up on ways to ask instead of tell, to guide instead of dictate. We work to understand how to provide you with the most effective tools that we can offer. We want you to walk away from each session feeling more confident in your own abilities and seeing improvement in your writing, so we focus not only on ways to help you grow as a writer, but also ways to provide you comfort and safety. Writing can be a vulnerable aspect of academic life. Even if what you’re writing is not personal, it can still be nerve-wracking to share your thoughts with peers. We want to create an environment that eases your mind, where you can discuss your ideas with us and feel heard. Your comfort within our Writing Center, and with writing itself, is one of our top priorities. We care so much, not only because it is our jobs, but because we understand.

Even as a writing center consultant, I feel that there is still such a strong personal aspect in sharing my writing with others. I was afraid to share my writing with my peers at first because I did not want to be seen in a negative light for the thoughts or perspectives I expressed. But, in my year of tutoring here, I’ve seen what happens when you allow our consultants to hear your ideas and aid in strengthening them. I’ve seen the way my fellow consultants have dived into the content of student’s work and genuinely wanted to see them improve. It was then that I realized that discussing my writing with others allows me to grow a deeper understanding of my own abilities and helps me to address areas of my writing better on my own.

We know that writing can be a difficult experience, that some assignments seem to be impossible no matter how much effort you put into them. We have had these experiences, too, in our own classes. We are your allies in writing, we work each and every day to help students just like you engage in discussions that give you room to express yourself and expand your skills.

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