Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We are Happy to Be Here!

By: Eileen

As the new semester approaches, I have been thinking about the work of the writing center and how it fits into the campus as a whole. Honestly, I always think about this. But over break is when I have time to read and look around at what my colleagues across the country are doing.

I recently came across this gem of a YouTube video while conducting serious writing center internet research:

This ecstatic, fun video captures part of the essence of the writing center world and reminds me why I love being a part of it. A quick YouTube search will turn up hundreds of these WC videos from all over the country. There are serious instructional videos, but mostly you will find funny parodies of popular songs, grammar themed spoofs of the Harry Potter series, or dance videos like this one. They are all produced by the peer tutors in each center to share with their fellow students. There is a mixture of professionalism and play in these videos that shows at once the dedication of these writing centers' staff members along with their ability to engage with other students as equals.

There are few spaces in the "real world" where these two elements are balanced. The writing center as a workplace allows writing tutors to become professionals, improve communication and social skills, and to have fun. I hope this is how we present ourselves in the Cedar Crest Writing Center. And I hope that any members of the campus community who visit us will be as happy to be there as we are.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Scary Story Contest

The Writing Center held a two sentence scary short story contest for Halloween this year. Students posted their stories on the center's facebook page. The winner's story was terrifying and entertaining! Congrats Emily!

Emily's story:

Our priest, in memory of Mary who disappeared earlier this week, dedicated today's service to her. He passed around the blood of Christ, which held a bitter taste, and we drank while he said with a smile, "And may Mary be with us all" to which we replied, "Amen."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WC Hall of Fame!

The Writing Center is always buzzing with students working hard to make the grade.  Writing consultants come and go each semester, devoting time and energy to the betterment of the college community.  Some move on to new jobs and challenges, and eventually...graduation!  While Cedar Crest College students show their spirit and dedication to the college in various ways, The Writing Center is proud of the commitment our writing consultants have to fellow students.  A "Hall of Fame" has been created to showcase the writing consultants who have graduated, and we wish them the best on their new chapter in life!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why Do You Need the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is a great place that is nestled within the Academic Services wing in Curtis Hall, room 103.  Writing consultants are ready and willing to help students with their essays and other assignments, there are comfy armchairs, and coffee and teas to drink.
             Okay, maybe our coffee isn't as pretty as the picture above, but it does have caffeine. 

Many students do not take advantage of this incredible service.  Why do YOU need to visit the writing center?

1.  Perhaps you have always written well, and you have decent grades.  You may not think you need help with your writing.  Even the best writers need editors to review their work and help them to become stronger.  The consultants are ready and willing to help you find the strengths and weaknesses you have in your academic writing so you can go from decent grades to excellent grades.

2.  Freshmen may have done well in high school, and many are prepared to tackle a college level essay, but sometimes the expectations of college level academic work can be overwhelming.  Writing consultants can help you hone your writing skills so you can excel in your first year essays.

3.  Many students come to Cedar Crest later in their life as SAGE students.  This can be difficult when it has been years since you last took a class, and the expectations may have changed since that time.  The writing consultants can bring you up to speed and get you ready to find success in your writing assignments.  The Writing Center realizes the complex schedules you may keep, and offer a variety of times to schedule appointments.

4.  Even the strongest writer can become predictable, or have a writing crutch that may stand out to a professor.  This can impact your grade.  It never hurts to have someone else look over your papers to pick up on the little things that are easily missed.

5.  The semester can get crazy when you have multiple papers due and midterms or finals looming over you.  This leads to a lack of sleep, feeling overwhelmed, and making simple mistakes you would not normally make.  Writing consultants can help you when you are overwhelmed by catching mistakes.  If you come to us early on, we can even help you with your brainstorming, and how best to organize your work.

6.  Cedar Crest is proud of its diversity, but for students who come to us from other countries, the transition can be difficult.  Whether English is your second language or not, the writing styles and expectations may differ.  There are so many other stresses that come from acclimating to another culture, let us help you with the writing.

The Writing Center is here to cater to all Cedar Crest College students, and it can help you reach your writing potential.  As the new semester begins, please come see us, sign up to make appointments, and join our Facebook page.  We can't wait to get to know you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When do you need The Writing Center

When do you need The Writing Center?  NOW!
There is a trend at The Writing Center.  Appointments tend to be few and far between early on in the semester, but as midterms and finals approach, the writing consultants find themselves booked.  Students panic, and papers do not get the time and attention they really need.
                                                                                                            While this has gone on for quite some time, in the end, it is the students that suffer.  

The semester has just started, and you may think it is too early to make an appointment.  After all, the essay you saw in your syllabus isn't due until the end of the semester, but this is where you are wrong.

If you find yourself procrastinating, and skimming by with a C, or happy with a B, you may find a visit to The Writing center earlier in the semester could help you attain a higher grade.  You may also find that the assignment is not as ominous as you believe.

Writing consultants are not here to just look over your papers and fix your grammatical errors.  There is a great place online called Smart Thinking, and they can do that for you.  Writing consultants are here to help you brainstorm, to show you how to make a strong thesis, to help you find your strengths and utilize them, while seeking your weaknesses to help you defeat them.  You can become more confident in your writing by working with a consultant, and these lessons will stick with you throughout your educational career.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Reading!

The last blog post addressed the challenge of summer writing, but for those rainy days when you need to be inspired, or lose yourself in another world, perhaps you should pick up a book to read.  Summer provides students with the chance to read books for pleasure.  While you may have thoroughly enjoyed your book on human resource management, algebra, biology, and Shakespeare, it is nice to choose your own book.

The used bookstore, Another Story at 524 N 18th St in Allentown, is a great place to start.  While ereaders can be great for people on the go, and traveling, sometimes it is best to just hold a book.  There is nothing that compares to the smell of a book when you open its pages to explore the world in a new way.  For a new book, there is the feeling of the binding as it begins to crease for the first time with your touch, and a used book can hold the wrinkles and folds of well-loved pages for years to come.  

From the classic masterpieces that fill literature courses, bringing an understanding to the centuries past and the lives lived during those times, to the current novels filling bookstore shelves that provide a different facet of the same revered stories, there is much to choose from.  Here are a few story ideas to help you pick some summer reading to enjoy.

Cedar Crest gives the group of incoming freshman a book to read before the school year starts, but this book would be a great read for everyone.  The title of the book is Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, by Courtney E. Martin.  If this is a book you would like more information on, I am providing the Amazon link.   
Do It Anyway

For some great classics, check out this list of 25 American classic books:  25 American classics

Still stuck, check this list out for more inspiration:  100 Novels Everyone Should Read

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Challenge Yourself This Summer!

Summer has set in, and for those who are not taking summer courses, the homework and papers piled up are a thing of the past...until fall semester begins.  The last thing you may want to think about is writing.  The weather is nice, the beach sounds like a great option for the summer.  Some of you may be taking summer classes and plan to continue the academic work with only a small break.  While the idea of spending your free time writing could seem a bit daunting, it can be fun.

Creative writing is a great outlet for many people.  It can be as simple as writing in a daily journal, tackling a daily prompt, writing poetry, or as complex as tackling a novel.  Rainy summer days, with a fresh story in mind, can challenge you to do something you never imagined.  There are many sites online that give out daily writing prompts and this can help you if you get stuck on what to write about.  

While the academic writing can burn you out, you may be surprised by how much creative writing can inspire you.  It is not for everyone, but some people may not realize a novelist lives inside of them until they put their ideas down and run with them. 

Here are some great blogs to help you get in the mood to write:

Check out "The Write Practice," which is a great blog/site created by Joe Bunting and contributed to by other aspiring authors.

Another great site is "Goins, Writer," written by Jeff Goins.  He answers lot of questions and helps people on the path to great writing and publication.

Larry Brooks, bestselling author, and writing blog writer, provides a plethora of information in his blog, "Story Fix."

These are just a few of the thousands of blogs out there that can help to teach and inspire you.  So when the pool is closed, the rain pours, the heat becomes too much, or you want to try something different, take a plunge into your heart and create a story.  You may surprise yourself.