College is hard, and no college student will disagree with this statement. From an early age parents and teachers are preparing each child for the academic and financial demands that college typically entails. But with all of that preparation is college even made any easier? All college freshman transition into college life through difficult learning experiences, but after a few months, most students seem to adjust to college life fairly well, that is, if they entered college in their late teens or early twenties.
In the Writing Lab at Cairn University we have a lot of older students come in for sessions; students who did not come directly to college after graduation high school. From my experience, these students can be recognized by some very distinct traits: they are very talkative, eager to learn, receptive to feedback, a little technologically behind other students, willing to accept correction, and filled with questions. The combination of these characteristics can sometimes be a little overwhelming in a session because these students will tend to dominate the session with their own verbal processing or detailed questions. Sometimes, the questions they ask could easily be answered through a simple Google search. I love their verbal processing and enthusiasm but, at times, it can be a hindrance to the productiveness of a session. I have begin to question what the purpose of a session should be with these types of students; should I as the consultant show them how to use a Goggle search over helping them with an actual writing concern? Or does it depend on the student?
Richard Leahy, author of What the College Writing Center is and isn’t, writes about the purpose of a session. He states the following reasons for a session: to collaborate on a single project, explore new strategies, to find encouragement and coaching, to allow processing to happen, and to develop greater writing skills. According to this description, a student who explains an assignment for the full 30 min is simply using the session for processing. A session can consist of a variety of different methods, and some sessions will look very different from others. The central focus should be what the student needs the most, even if that be to simply talk about their assignment and ask how to italicize something in Microsoft word.
Leahy, Richard. "What The College Writing Center Is--And Isn't." College Teaching 38.2 (1990): 43. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Apr. 2013