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Monday, October 06, 2008

3 Times as Awesome...

Yes! It finally happened. No, I didn't win the lottery or pay off my mortgage, but this is close: there's a writer who wants to schedule weekly appointments with me! I know, pretty cool, huh? This is my 3rd semester, and this is my first "regular." And, as I pretend that I didn't just leave myself vulnerable for a "brothel" interpretation, I'll say, "although that's awesome all by itself, it gets more awesome... "

Awesome thing # 1: This writer originally visited the center because he'd receive extra credit for coming in. He came in expecting "editing" help and desiring only the extra credit. Yet, when he discovered that writing consultants look at student's essays as Readers, not Editors, he was thrilled. In fact, we spent only a few minutes on the essay he'd brought in for the extra credit. Then, we spent the remainder of the conversation talking about ideas on essays, which weren't due for (get this) months!! He had an interested Reader to bounce his ideas off of, and he took full advantage of that.

"Fix-it shop" myth...so busted.

Awesome thing #2: He's a great writer. His grammar is almost perfect, and his ideas are well organized. I suspect that he entered the center believing that we couldn't help him. But, he realized that we are Readers, and we offer reader's response. We don't edit, and we don't proofread. He liked that we actually read, digest, and contemplate his academic writings and then offer our feedback.

"Writing centers are for poor writers" myth...so, so busted.

Awesome thing #3: I feel reassured. I am positive that I am not the only one who wonders, "Am I doing this consultant gig right? Am I helpful to writers, at all?" I have these negative thoughts quite often, more often than I have positive thoughts. This experience has alleviated a lot of personal doubt, and it's reassured me that I am actually a consultant. I'm not a perfect consultant; I botch things up sometimes. Occasionally, I do get things right, though. Knowing, that's a nice feeling.

"I stink" myth...so, so, so busted!

Now, although this awesome thing feels like an anomaly to me, I'm sure that it's not anomalous. We are all great, passionate consultants. We all strive to do our job well. We all strive to help writers. We don't often get a lot of oral feedback, but I am positive it does happen. It has to...

Many of you already have regular appointments with the same writer(s). How did that come about? How do you feel about it? Does it offer reassurance for you, too?

Also, is there a time when you've felt utterly "awesome" because of a consultation, a moment, a comment, a writer?

I'd love to hear about it...

9 comments:

  1. Awesomely, we must be functioning on the same time line because I'm just now beginning to have some regulars of my own. I like it. Even though I know it's also valuable to get feedback from different voices, it's really cool to see drafts develop, etc.! A different awesome thing that comes to mind: for some reason (going off on a tangent during our session? Ahem, I mean--psychic powers), telling a consultee about our writing center work and seeing him/her in the next group of incoming consultants. yay!

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  2. alisha kamph9:27 AM

    I agree, Sarah. It'll be cool to watch ideas, papers, and the writer change over the course of semester.

    Awesome thing #4!

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  3. alisha kamph10:29 AM

    I forgot...

    And, that would be awesome if a regular became a consultant!

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  4. We should have Myth Busters do an episode...


    The only question is what would they blow up?

    And Alisha, that's pretty awesome! All of it!

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  5. Ian, maybe they could blow-up that horrible, smoking, sparking heater. Then, we could get a cool new one that runs off vodka or rootbeer or something...

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  6. That's great that you helped someone out so much that he wants to come every week now. Especially considering he came as a requirement and might not have expected the consultations would help him. Good job!

    I have just done a few consultations myself, and I have to admit I have been pretty self-conscious about many of the same issues (am I doing this right? am I helping at all? where's that laughter coming from? are they laughing at me!?). For me, it has been tough to acnkowledge a writer's concerns (if they have any), read over the paper, choose the most important issues to cover, and explain these to the writer. Being this selective is hard, even without the added time constraint. I find that starting a conversation really helps to find out how the writer feels about the paper. It also gives me a chance to start off by telling the writer what I really like about his or her writing.

    My first consultation was with somebody who was required to come. She expressed, in a relatively polite way, that she really didn't think it was necessary or would help her. While this could be viewed as insulting, it was also kind of liberating to know that her expectations were so low. Even if I did not end up helping at all, I still would have helped her with her requirement to see a writing tutor. However, as we got to talking about her paper, I think she really saw the value in having another reader, even though she liked her paper well enough as it was. I helped her make sure she was meeting all the requirements, and suggested that she could add a conclusion that would help her to do so. She appeared happy and grateful when she left, and showed interest in coming back. Having such a smooth and successful first consultation was pretty invigorating.

    Once again, congratulations!

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  7. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Congrats, Alisha! At my WC, we're actually discouraged to have regulars. I like the idea of working consistantly with someone, but our coordinator wants writers to come in and experience the different consultants and their opinions, as well as use each consultant's strengths. I guess this works out okay. Frankly, if I were a student coming in for regular help, I wouldn't want so many opinions thrown at me all the time... but I guess our coordinator has reasons.

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  8. Congrats to you, too, Eric on your first consultation! I am glad that it was "smooth and successful."

    It is "invigorating," isn't it?

    And, thanks to everyone for your feedback and comments. Happy consulting...

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  9. I don't like having regulars. I find it more difficult to approach the writing with an open mind. I always tend to talk about the same things and as our communication becomes more casual I feel less helpful.

    But I hope it works for you. I know that most writers prefer to work with someone over and over again. Then they don't have to explain their project every time, and they can have more of their writing looked at. Maybe some tutors prefer it as well. I'm just not one of them.

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