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Hope, Optimism, and Awkwardness

Coming straight off my Noise From the Writing Center high, I arrived for my after-class shift at the writing center yesterday a little fuzzy. Should I be hopeful about my sessions today or should I be optimistic? How much control do I really have between the two?

My first session was my most awkward seesion ever. Perhaps I had been getting too optimistic about things, perhaps my optimism turned into blind pride, I don't know the session didn't satisfy the writer's or my optimistic outlooks.

The student was working on a complicated research proposal, and seemed well-acquainted with the center. I started to feel self-conscious right away, when he pointed to a veteran consultant and asked his name, so that he could make an appointment with him next time. Looking back, it really was a good question, he probably had worked really well with that consultant before (he's a great consultant) and wanted to continue with that dynamic. But of course, in the moment, I felt like the writer was already brushing me off, before our session even started. My awkwardness set me back, and I worked timidly through the consultation, not wanting to fail. (Perhaps my optimism trampled over hope and landed smack dab in some pessimism). We worked on revising sentence structure and proofreading errors even though we both seemed to want to move towards more global challenges with his research proposal as a whole. In forty-five minutes we never got there.

After the consultation I shook off my self-consciousness, my optimism, my pessimism, and just hoped for a good next session--and it was excellent. Was it my mind shift between optimism and hope? I don't know. Was it a fluke? I hope not.


  1. Elizabeth,
    I have sat in on some of your consultations and you are a great tutor. I wouldn't worry about this one missed opportunity... you have a lot to offer. Maybe I should my own advice :) (see my post).

  2. I've had similar experiences, and the feeling of not getting anything done in forty-five minutes has plagued me. I would guess the session was a fluke caused by the exact mix of your emotions and the writer's emotions and expectations. It may never happen again; don't worry, it isn't a true reflection of you consulting abilities.

  3. You are such a people person. I have not had the opportunity to sit in on a consultation with you, but I've overheard a few. You were giving one behind me when I was giving my first--just like Jenny said, you're great at it.

    I have never been one to be super confident, but I do know that when I am feeling nervous or awkward in a situation, sometimes it helps to directly address it. I don't know if it would have helped in this particular situation, but it's something I find helps at times.


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