As the summer semester passes by and students everywhere celebrate the end of finals with Netflix marathons, I say my goodbyes to the Writing Center. I have been a writing consultant at the Athens State Writing Center for roughly two years, and within those two years I have worked with many students on many projects — research papers, novel chapters, interview transcripts, presentation slides, and resumes, among others. I have tutored, taught mini-lessons, and, perhaps most of all, I have learned. In Leigh Ryan’s and Lisa Zimmerelli’s The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors (one of our many training texts here in the Writing Center), there is a chapter on the many “hats” that Writing Center staff wear: the ally, the coach, the commentator, the collaborator, the writing “expert,” the counselor, and the learner. As any of our consultants will tell you, we all have experienced each of these at some point in our work here. The one I carry with me the most is the learner.
In the Writing Center, as with all education, you get out of it what you put into it. That is true both of student writers who visit us and those of us who staff the Writing Center. What did I want out of the Writing Center? Experience working in education. The opportunity to work with writers. The chance to help people with writing. To learn from the director, the other writing consultants, and from the student writers who use our services.
In looking back, I’d like to make a statement about the future. That makes sense since our main goal in the Writing Center is to make improvements for the future, to ensure that our student writers can take something away from their time here, something useful to their endeavors. The same can be said of our staff. The writing consultants who operate the Writing Center are not just getting a check or a CV line. They are getting experience working with student writers. But even more importantly, they are learning from their experiences and applying what they learn in their work at the Writing Center to their eventual careers.