by Steph Palazzo '14
In this (hopefully) ongoing feature, we aim to point out perceptions of the Writing Center which don't quite represent reality. Our first myth:
I’ll approach this myth with a story.
About two months ago, I gave an F&M tour to a prospective mother (her son was MIA). When we passed Diagnothian, and I mentioned the Writing Center, she asked, “So, what is the turn around rate?”
Confused, I asked what she meant by a "turn around rate."
“Well, if my son takes a paper there, how long will it take for someone to give the paper back to him with the corrections?”
This was on a tour with someone unfamiliar with F&M culture, but even some folks on campus still don't quite realize that instead of just correcting mistakes, we talk about ways to develop students' overall writing skills, as well as help them with whatever specific concerns they have about the assignment in hand. And whatever we do, we do together, collaboratively, in conversation.
So, no, we’re not going to rip apart your paper with a red pen we keep tucked away in a fancy box for tutoring sessions. In fact, in sessions, we try to avoid physically touching your paper. You make the changes. We’re just here to be a sounding board, a devil’s advocate, a peer reviewer, or whatever role is most helpful for your writing process. We work with you on the draft you bring us, but our overall goal is not just to improve that one paper, but to strengthen you as a writer.