As I move towards a transition out of UofL’s MA program in English, I find myself reflecting on my two-year experience as a tutor in the University Writing Center. It has been fun, fulfilling, and frustrating at times. It has been fun to work with such dynamic colleagues and to be so closely connected to our mutual development as intellectuals, writers, tutors, and instructors. It has been fun to work with the wonderful population of bright young undergraduate students who often have one of those intellectual “Ah -Ha” moments while working in one our tutoring sessions.
However, it is the students who come again and again to work on their writing skills over the course of a semester, or even two or three, which really makes this gig a fulfilling one. They just keep showing up and sometimes they even ask for you by name, and you run into them in the library and they stop and tell you about their grades, or their latest most hated writing project and how they’re “really gonna need help with this one”, and they come in and they get it. Need I go on? I think not . . . I’m sure my tutoring peers know exactly what I’m talking about and I hope the students know how proud we are of their commitment to their own writing processes! This is probably the most fulfilling aspect of a job that most often does not seem like work at all.
As for the frustrating part, I always wish I could do more. I wish students could ask for longer sessions and get them. I wish instructors would hang out in the WC once in a while to see what we are accomplishing there. I wish the WC body was more diverse and could work more effectively with multiple languages, including Englishes, and that it could become more proficient at working with special needs students. I wish that we had extended Saturday hours and I wish our students would express more explicitly what they need most from an entity that exists just to serve them. These are all ideas that may become realities over time; our Director is approachable, he listens, and he cares.
Mid- terms are just around the corner; I will have papers to grade and final projects to complete, and many new students to meet and work with in the Writing Center. Most likely, I will be found at my favorite round table by the window. I like to look at the trees. The view of campus from that spot is awesome . . . almost as awesome as the view of university life we get from our unique position on the 3rd floor of the Ekstrom Library. As I move, in May, towards either a professional career as an instructor or towards another stint as a student in a PhD program, my experience in the UofL W.C. is what I will savor and miss the most.