The Importance of the Graduate Cohort

Alex Bohen, Consultant

AlexAs I began to brainstorm about what I wanted to discuss in my blog post I kept trying to remember what my first impression of the Writing Center was. I entered into the Writing Center for the first time in late August to take part in orientation. I remember seeing Dr. Bronwyn Williams, the director of the Writing Center, standing at the door welcoming everyone in and radiating an enthusiasm I was unaccustomed to at nine in the morning. Next, I saw Adam Robinson, assistant director, manning the coffee pot in a manner I would soon become familiar with. I continued to think back on that day and the next image that came to my mind was the myriad of strangers populating the rest of the room. These people were my new cohort and over the next several months they would become the greatest source of information and learning in my life. I have come to know that if I have a question my cohort is who to turn to for the answer. Having trouble helping a client? Ask the cohort. Wondering how clearly the thesis statement of your seminar paper reads? Ask the cohort. Not sure what classes to take next semester? Ask the cohort.

I want to focus on the cohort a little more closely. As a student and consultant in the Writing Center I can’t express how valuable my cohort has been to me. My only source of lament is that the cohort didn’t have more people in it. That is why I am incredibly happy to highlight and plug the Peer Mentoring program, headed up by two members of my cohort, Amy McCleese Nichols and Michelle Day. The program will pair new first year MAs with a second year MA who can function as the first building block for each student’s personal cohort. I think this is a great opportunity for all parties involved. New students will get an insider’s view on how to balance the stress of academic and personal life, as well as a familiar face at department social functions. Second year students get the opportunity to pass on all the helpful tips they have amassed after navigating one year of the program. I am excited to take part in this program and I hope that I can be as valuable to a new student as so many people have been to me during my first year at Louisville.

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