No time!

Now that we have been at the writing center for a few months (new BSU consultants), we have more or less picked up a routine. I come in for an hour and a half on Tuesday and Wednesday, and others come in during their scheduled times. We meet with writers, discuss their writing or their thoughts, and then we move on to the next student. My question in this post has more to do with basic operation of the center and less to do with student-writer relationships. That is question is simple—how do the consultants that work long hours (I am thinking more than three) keep their wits about them?

I realize that some consultants may be used to reading paper after paper and discussing it with the students, but I find it very difficult at times to sit down, read a paper, discuss it, work with the rest of my appointments, and then go off to the rest of the day. Sometimes I get the same feeling from three half-hour consultations that I do from reading half a novel in one day. My eyes hurt, my head hurts, I’m sleepy, and the last thing I want to do is look at words on a paper. As I near the end of the first semester of consulting at BSU, the time comes to choose between working next semester as an intern again, or picking up more hours and working for pay.

So I ask you (all of you) for ideas or thoughts on how to get through hours and hours of consulting. It can be very draining work especially at the end of the semester; a time for everyone to squeeze out his or her projects. Also, the end of the semester for the students you work with means the end of the semester for you; you have your share of projects to complete and tests to study for.

Where do you all, as consultants and students/parents/employees/teachers, find the ability to sit through so many consultations and reserve the same amount of energy for each student you see? I think this is an important thing to think about, and I hope it will help anyone thinking the same thing as me.


  1. Ian,
    As one of the people who works three or more hours in a row, I understand your feelings and concerns. For me, three to four hours is as long as I can work and be effective.

    What has worked for me:
    -eating well before a shift
    -drinking lots of water
    -trying to discuss larger issues than just the writing, i.e., drafting ideas, drafting strategies, revising methods, and larger applications of their ideas.
    -Asking them to describe their paper and ideas before I read anything, then asking them questions: "So, if you are talking about "F," I expect you to also discuss "G"; do you?" "How did you connect "R" and "E"?" "What is your overall goal?". These questions take me out of the writing and into the ideas, an easier place to work when I am tired.

    What do the rest of you do?


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