My First Time

Yesterday at the Boise State Writing Center, two of our veteran consultants were sick, so a handful of us newbies got to do our first consultations, myself included.  I had been very excited for my first session, so of course, although I was nervous, I was eager to rise to the occasion.  So I want to tell all of you about it, because it will be a fond memory of mine for years to come!

My appointment was about 5 minutes late, which only added to my nervousness.  She showed up, tattooed arms and flustered face, and apologized for being late.  I told her it was fine, explained that I was filling in for someone who was sick, and led her to a desk where we sat down.  She filled out some brief paperwork, and then I asked her what we were going to be working on.  She said that she forgot the assignment sheet, but she stumbled her way through explaining the assignment: a 6 page English 101 paper comparing and describing a language community other than her own.  I verbally established that it was a brainstorming session, and tried to get her thinking about language communities that might be interesting to her, which got us nowhere.  So I tried to get creative; I knew I would need a roundabout way to get her thinking.  I asked her questions about what communities she belonged to, and which ones she doesn't.  We eventually came up with a topic, and then she offered up a suggestion to narrow her topic even more, which was great.  I loved that I could see her thinking.  She left with a list of topics to cover and a written-down game plan.  And now, for the best part: she said she felt like she actually had some place to start now, and that "it" helped a lot.  I was elated!  We said our thank-yous and goodbyes, and I went out to the main part of our center to tell another consultant how awesome it was.  I was bubbling over!  There's something very magical about what goes on in a consultation, and I was so happy I finally got to be a direct part of that.  I officially have the "Writing Center Bug"!

So now I want to hear about your first time.  Or maybe your first successful time, when you left the consultation thinking you really got it right.  I think with anything, once we get in the hang of consulting, it's very possible to lose sight of the initial excitement we feel in the beginning.  So I invite you to bring those memories back; I want to hear about them!


  1. my first session was with a senior applying for graduate school--she had brought in her statement of purpose. i was a sophomore and so scared that i might influence her in a way that would keep her from getting into grad school. but it went well! and she came back a few weeks later.

  2. April,
    May I just say that you are freaking amazing? My first time was full of apprehension....When I type "first time" I always think of it in a sexual connotation. Damn you, over-eroticized society! Anyway, I was kind of shoved into it, as the student was a walk-in. The whole 5 minutes before, as she was filling out her paperwork, I kept thinking, "I'm an idiot. Why would she take advice from me? Oh my gosh, I forgot to put on deodorant this morning! Gross! Oh, no, wait, I did." But after the first 30 seconds of sheer terror, she and I settled into a nice little session, and I think I actually helped her, which was awesome. Now look at us: we're practically veterans. Cool! It's been great getting to know you this year!


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