By Sarah Flynn
To provide assistance for students of Worcester State University, help centers have grown to become a large aspect in campus life. The Writing Center fits into this category. Having assisted over 1,500 students this past year, the organization makes a notable impact on the college. From this success, the Center has expanded, both in its staff and locations.
Recently, seven new consultants and two trainees have joined the team.
Eleanor Murphy, a 20-year-old junior, is part of that group, having started her job this semester, thanks to the encouragement of the Writing Center Director, Dr. Christina Santana.
“I’ve enjoyed getting people started on their creative writing process as much as I’ve enjoyed finding some things to improve,” said Murphy, who had embarked on her first-ever meeting with a student in need not too long ago.
Being a double major in both English and elementary education, she knew that this opportunity would be one to benefit her not only in academics, but in the future of her career. When Murphy works with students at the Writing Center, she gains the confidence to effectively instruct children as a teacher during her time assisting at elementary schools. All in all, Murphy is a strong believer that everyone has the potential to do great things.
“I think a lot of people in early years in elementary school were put into that sub-group that ‘you’re worse’ or ‘lower’ than average, which can definitely be overcome by anyone,” said Murphy.
Many other additions to the institution agree that, while they have yet to help out a lot of students, the experience has already shown the potential for helping the consultants themselves in their academic lives as well as their personal ones.
Morgan Brogie, a public health and biology major who is minoring in sociology, found that her time in the Writing Center has already shown its perks. She feels that, as a consultant, she is exercising countless important skills, some of which being organization, managing blog posts, and even socialization through forming bonds with regular visitors.
“I really like seeing familiar faces; a lot of the people I have helped come back to me,” said Brogie with a smile. “They’ve asked me when I was working, what my hours are, so I feel like we build a personal connection. If I see someone I recognize on campus, I’ll say ‘hi’!”
Another new consultant thought similarly about being able to help others, which has aided her in learning more about people in the community.
“All the consultants are so nice, and I also get to see students I wouldn’t normally interact with because of a different major or year,” said Jacqueline Borella, a 21-year-old psychology major who has just started her second semester of working in the Writing Center.
Borella finds that it is highly important for students to take advantage of services at Worcester State, especially freshmen who are still finding their way through their first year of college. In her eyes, anyone can and should try going to the Writing Center, as she claims that help is for everyone.
“Not only for people who struggle with writing, but people who might think of themselves as strong writers; you can always improve,” said Borella. “Having another person there to look [one’s writing] over with a different perspective can really help.”
Following with the the new recruits, just two weeks ago the Writing Center revealed that workshop sessions can now take place in the Learning Resource Center. On Tuesdays, meetings can be scheduled for any time between 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., while Thursday appointments will take place from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. At these times, consultants will be set and ready to work at the Starbucks Café. Appointments can be made in advance through email or in person at the Sullivan Building location, Room 306, but if time does not allow for such scheduling to take place, approach the consultant at the library and see if a walk-in session is available.
“A lot of people are in the library, and the café is really nice cause you can get food and drinks while you’re working,” said Brogie in support of the new location for consultant meetings. “I think it definitely spreads the word to people who doesn’t know about the Writing Center.”
Borella was quick to agree. “Everyone knows where the library is, so I think having consultants there and ready during certain periods of the day can really help our outreach with students,” she explained.
Beyond the latest additions to the establishment are those who have been with the Writing Center for years on end, all of who hold their own proof of what the Center can do to strengthen the abilities of students and workers alike.
“I definitely think it is important to visit the Writing Center…we help with everything, not just academic papers. We can help with resumes, grad school applications, and more.” Said Elaina Curtis, who has been with the Center for about two years. “Honestly, if I wasn’t a Writing Center consultant, I might not have utilized [the Center] or even known what it is.”
By the recommendation of one of her English teachers, Curtis became a consultant through completing the EN-410 class, Writing Consultancy. She explained how in taking the class new members are required to do observations before they can start working as consultants. Despite the long hours involved to get there, Curtis is beyond joyful in her line of work, and is delighted to see that the Center will be gaining more attention by setting up in the library.
Jacqueline Morrill, an alumna of the program and adjunct English professor at Worcester State, spent the majority of her college career working at the Writing Center. Over her five years in the organization, Morrill learned about all kinds of aspects that would appear in her occupation as a teacher, becoming more equipped to address the writing difficulties of English Language Learners and the effective methods of timely correcting papers. As a student, she benefited greatly from the group that she worked with, which ultimately got her to stay with the Center for a long time.
“I had an amazing group of people in my graduating class who worked with me at the Writing Center, and we all stayed for years,” said Morrill before she expanded on her experience. “I was a commuter student, so I didn’t really belong to part of the community, so by belonging to the Writing Center, I had a core group of people to go to.”
When she learned of the organization taking its services to the LRC, Morrill was in full support. She believes that two different places for meeting sessions are highly beneficial to both students and the Writing Center, as those visiting may find more comfort in the casual atmosphere of the café, and consultants can gain more recognition as they display their services out in public.
Even with these two new spots, sometimes fitting an in-person meeting into a college schedule cannot always be possible. In that case, there is an online form that allows consultants to provide feedback on any writing that is sent in. Before the limit of 72 business hours, one can expect their submitted document to be sent back by email, filled with comments and suggestions to make the paper the best it can be.
“So even if you aren’t okay with coming in-person, having that feedback online still might be helpful if you want another eye to look at your paper,” Curtis described.
If your preference lies with the face-to-face meetings, feel free to make an appointment for any of the times listed on the Worcester State Writing Center webpage. Walk-in sessions can be done without scheduling an appointment by simply showing up to the Sullivan Building location. However, if you want to guarantee your consultant and time slot, setting the meeting time in advance is the way to go!
If you are interested in being involved in the Writing Center as an employee, visit the Woo for Writing! website, where all the details regarding what is necessary for becoming a consultant are listed along with specifics of what the job entails.