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SMC writing center hosts workshops for students

| Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Saint Mary’s Writing Center will be presenting four workshops over the next four weeks to help students improve their writing skills.

Director of the Writing Center Aaron Bremyer said the hour-long workshops will be led entirely by student tutors who work in the Center. He said each workshop will follow students through the writing process.

“There was a need,” he said. “In speaking with professors across campus, we felt like there were a lot of professors who were really happy to have this sort of conversation from experienced tutors.”

Bremyer said he hopes that through the workshops, students will not only learn more about the process itself but also in the resources the Writing Center has to offer.

“I think a lot of people misunderstand what the Writing Center is about,” he said. “A lot of people think you come to the Center and you sit with a tutor and she fixes [your paper]. That’s not at all what we do. In fact, that would be an unethical approach to collaborating with students. I thought this sort of discussion could help more students understand that some of our very best tutorials occur before anyone has written a word.”

He said he wants students to think of writing as a gradual process rather than something that happens in one sitting.

“I think [the workshops] are important because many students misunderstand the writing process or have developed bad habits,” he said. “We all have them. But this shows that the process should be spread out to avoid the last minute adrenaline-driven composition of a paper. … If we can get to people earlier, they’ve begun the writing process, and sometimes that first step is incredibly powerful because it allows people to be better prepared.”

Because the workshops are peer-led, Bremyer said they will provide students with a role model for their writing.

“It’s more powerful to have a peer whom [students] respect, a peer who has demonstrated that she is a successful writer on this campus,” he said. “I think it’s more powerful for students to see those types of women presenting these ideas.”

Senior Nellie Petlick, one of the tutors at the Center who led Monday’s workshop, said despite the low turnout for the first workshop of the series, she believes the students who attended benefitted from the personal attention. She said students should continue to attend the workshops because they offer multiple perspectives on the writing process.

“It’s good to get different perspectives sometimes, to hear from students who have been through who struggle with writing every day,” Petlick said. “[Tutors from the Writing Center] are not presenting ourselves as the authority on writing. … They can get a perspective that’s not just their professors, and we can talk about it in a different way that might be useful to them.”

Petlick said she hopes through the workshops, students will learn to have more confidence in their writing abilities.

“There’s no such thing as perfect writing,” she said. “It’s different for everybody. Even people who have been writing for decades are not perfect writers. We have a lot of women who come into the Center who want to apologize for their writing. … They shouldn’t think like that. Everyone is a good writer, and everyone can get better.

“It’s always just trying to improve your own style and trying to make yourself the best writer you can be, but there’s no standard to which you should compare yourself.”

The next three workshops are open to all students and will take place in 210 Madeleva Hall next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole