Welcome to the Writing and Math Center! Here, students can find free writing and math help from experienced tutors, with half-hour appointments up to twice a week for writing and regular, weekly appointments for math.* Here, students enter with their assignment sheet and two copies of their draft (or outline or thesis statement or vague idea begging to be developed), and exit with a more defined sense of their argument and a clear plan for proceeding. Here, students learn not how to ask for proofreading, but how to identify and remedy the weaknesses in their own writing. As Stephen North says, here we work to make better writers, not better writing.
You may not realize, though, that these writing services are open not only to undergraduates, but also to grad students, faculty, and staff! Yes, grad students are welcome to seek tutoring from our peers. Just as you might occasionally ask a friend to read over your work, you might as well ask a friend who gets paid to read it! I particularly recommend going to the Writing Center for working on abstracts, which are short enough that you have time to really dig into the details in your half-hour appointment. (Protip: bring the CFP and two copies of your abstract with you).
However, the Writing Center offers even more than an extra set of eyes on your writing; it is a space of community.
We in Drown are lucky enough to have a few communal spaces, such as the lobby, the common room, and the occasional “party office.” The lobby is often flooded with undergrads or our colleagues holding student conferences, and the common room can sometimes get a bit too communal to be productive. The obstacle to productivity in the “party office” is evident from the name. Enter the Writing Center. While I won’t pretend that the WC doesn’t get noisy, too, sometimes, I find it to be an ideal space to do work in the company of others. The large table provides a space to spread your work out and the sofas offer an invitation for comfy reading.
Much like a coffee shop can be a particularly motivational workspace, with the low-level noise that studies say sparks creativity and the inspirational model of other folks doing work, the WC is a place to study without feeling isolated in your apartment or office. Social-studying, you might call it.
Of course, if you need a quiet place for a bit, whether for a Skype/phone interview or just a tough piece of work demanding silence, you can always ask if a tutoring room is free and set up there (the tutoring rooms also have spacious worktables, as well as networked computers hooked up to the printer).
Some folks have even been known to take the occasional nap on the WC sofas. (Those of you wondering where Mareesa’s LSJ conference pillow disappeared to, this is the answer and the reason.)
Most of the time, a cadre of current and past tutors can be found here (I think we all know where to look if you’re trying to find Kyle), but we welcome anyone to come and hang out! Future tutors, stop in to see what it’s like! We have coloring. We have chocolate. We have amusing chalkboard content.
110 Drown Hall
*Because I’m going out on a limb and assuming that none of us are in first-year math courses, I’m going to focus on the W part of the Writing and Math Center.