I was also reasonably unwilling to visit the Writing Center, just as Sarah M., because, while I would have placed a great deal more trust in them than those in my classes during peer-editing sessions, I was always concerned that they would have their own agenda and not tend to the needs I wanted them to tend to. I also recognized that they were only human and may very possibly give me the wrong advise.
Working in the Writing Center, and with my peers in 303, has been very helpful for me. I am now more than willing to visit the Writing Center because I know how beneficial it really is. I also understand that while, yes, consultants are only human, so am I (funny how that works seeing as I personally fit in both categories.) The thing is, with work in the Writing Center, consultants can be trusted to have a certain amount of knowledge, and to also be willing to admit when they would prefer to hit the reference books. I think this is such an excellent thing. I think more than any proofreading that can occur in a consultation by a consultant, the willingness to sit with the student and look up references to double check concerns is an incredibly useful tool. Students may not be very motivated to check in reference books, or may feel uncomfortable with reference books, and by showing students the Writing Center's willingness and consultant's willingness (because students tend to place consultants on a more all-knowing pedestal than I personally am willing to sit on) to use them, it may help the student to understand the benefits.
Often, by using a reference book, you can rest easy knowing you have used methods correctly in your paper, and you will often remember what it is you looked up, therefore benefitting yourself in the future.
I enjoy working with students in consultations, but it is definitely a different feeling in the consulting chair than in the student chair. I am glad we were forced to enter the student chair a few times this semester, to see what it felt like if we didn’t know already. I was able to understand just how beneficial it truly is, though I don’t know if it would be any different not entering a consultation with some understanding of the position of the consultant.
Discussing my papers with other consultants is now something I find very useful. I found that the workshopping we engaged in during class was great. I really had a good experience and a lot of great ideas were thrown back and forth. While I think that I have a very biased opinion because of my personal involvement in the Writing Center, and because I now understand what it is like to come from the consulting side, not just the student side, I am pleased to say that I no longer fear working with other people on my writing. In fact, I seek it.
While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the id...