For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved writing. Even when I didn’t know how to write, I would write in my own little gibberish and graffiti all over books. I guess in my mind, I was writing them better. I think my love for writing really blossomed once I learned how to read, and once I could, you better believe that's all I did. Book after book, page after page, sometimes two at once. In first grade I was reading chapter books, and I specifically remember my teacher told my mom that I was reading on a high school level, at six years old. First grade was also the year that we started “writers workshop” and it was my favorite part of the day, where all we did was write. We wrote personal narratives, short stories, fiction, fantasy, whatever we wanted within reason. That is where my creativity prospered, and as soon as my pencil hit the paper it didn’t stop. I vividly remember a conversation I had with my fourth grade teacher about how much detail I include in my writing, to the point that I had to completely shorten my narrative because it was about six pages too long.
Flashback to second grade though, with my angel of a teacher, where everyday I would go home after school and write my own “books”. One day I sat down at my little table and wrote a book about an octopus in the sea who was friends with all the sea creatures, and I actually illustrated a cover for it and glued it onto the back of a cereal box which became the cover and binding of this high class book. I was so proud of it that I decided to use all of my nerve, and bring it into class the next day, but I didn’t stop there. I then showed my teacher, who was in absolute awe of my piece, and I asked her if she could show the class. I felt so special and recognized, and that was the moment I knew I wanted to write my own real novel. One day my name will be published on the cover of a thick book, filled with all the beautiful things I have to share with the world, and who knows maybe there will be an octopus on the cover of it.
R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps books, was actually a huge influence on me as a child. I loved reading scary books, and Goosebumps was my favorite series, to the point where I would read at least 3 of his books a week. I would check them out at my school library, but my mom would always bring me to the public library where I could check out as many books as I wanted to, and to me, that was a dream come true. R.L. Stine became a hero to me, someone I genuinely looked up to because he wrote so many books, which were all so popular and he really made a name for himself. He went on to have a show created from his books, “Goosebumps”, and then another show called the “Haunting Hour”, followed by three movies. As a child I would write scary stories to try and be just like R.L. Stine because even that young, I saw myself becoming successful like him someday.
I write because I feel inspired by the books I read, and I hope that one day I can inspire others to write as well. Writing has always come easy to me, I feel like it’s my gift. I don’t want to waste it, I want to share it with the world. One time in high school I wrote so much compared to other students that the kid next to me looked at my paper and said, “what are you a robot?” Everyone has their own superpower, and I believe that writing is mine, and it’s not one that should be hidden away or taken for granted. It’s given to those who know how to use it to spread their gift to other people.
I write because it makes me feel accomplished, or satisfied with myself. The trial of sitting down for hours upon hours and typing till your fingers are sore and your eyes are bloodshot to the point that the words blur on the screen, is all worth it in the end when you type that final sentence that makes the whole paper come together, and you feel invincible. I view assignments as a game; I write them all down and check them off as I go, so the more I do in one day, the more accomplished I feel. Writing a paper will always give me the most intense feeling of accomplishment. I think it’s because everytime I type that last word, I prove to myself that I haven’t lost my way. Writing has always brought me so much happiness, especially as a child, so if I lose the sense of happiness while writing then I lose the childhood influence that started my journey. I don’t write just for egoistic ideals like praise and for my own personal pleasure, I write because it’s enjoyable for me. I write outside of school assignments because it’s just something that I’ve always done. Escaping into my own head and creating a world away from my own has always been my favorite thing I could do.
I write because I want my voice to be heard and writing my ideas down on a piece of paper is the easiest way for me to do that. I want to be recognized one day for my writing, and I really want to touch someone with my words. When I read books I feel inspired to write, I feel inspired to make other people feel moved by words strung together by me. My favorite books to read are ones that make me forget I’m reading. One day my dream is to write a book that makes other people revel in the same feeling, so much so that when they finish it, they ache to be able to read it for the first time.
The purpose of a university is to educate. However, its purpose is also to create a community with connections and support. And not all communities and education happen in classrooms. They can happen in Writing Centers as well!
A Writing Center is a place dedicated to teaching about writing and helping with assignments. They exist at many academic institutions- including Rowan University.
Rowan University’s Writing Center has existed in some form since the 1970’s. Initially, it was more similar to a “drop in situation” (As described by current director Celeste Del Russo). It evolved and expanded due to Deb Martin’s efforts in 2009. Deb Martin was the director of the Writing Center during that time. She was also a professor teaching about tutoring writing. Her students expressed interest in starting a Writing Center at Rowan University. They joined the Mid-Atlantic Writing Center Association to learn more about maintaining the Writing Center.
Because of their work we now have a dedicated community of tutors. These tutors provide one-on-one assistance to students with their writing. Their services are not reserved exclusively for essays. They help with any form of writing, from poetry to resumes. The Writing Center can even help with presentations, speeches, or multimedia assignments.
Tutors also tutor studios in conjunction with Intensive Compositional classes. This is called Studio tutoring. Studio tutoring is when one tutor meets with members of an ICC1 class once a week. During that session, they provide additional resources and feedback for the members of the studio. The goal is to familiarize students with the Writing Center while building strong foundations for healthy writing practices.
The tutors’ responsibilities don’t end with tutoring. They are also responsible for building a supportive environment for the employees, tutees, and the larger community.
One of the things she finds important to impress upon the tutors is the freedom of writing. The Writing Center is not just a place for editing work, or even just a place to read and write essays. It is a place to build long-term writing skills and practices. It is a place to explore and explain the importance of writing as an activity and concept. Ellie believes that in order to teach this to the students, the tutors must have the freedom to understand it. Ellie states, “...Giving Writing Centers freedom to help students with the writing process, with the development of skills rather than specific assignments, and to move beyond just looking at grammar and spelling is how Writing Centers are able to do our jobs.” The support the Writing Center is able to provide for tutors gives them the stability and freedom to explain writing in a multifaceted and complex way.
The environment of the Writing Center also helps make students more comfortable with their writing. Celeste Del Russo, the director of the Writing Center, explains that the center prides itself on inclusivity. She ascribes this inclusivity to the efforts of the tutors. They actively worked to make the environment accessible and enjoyable to the students. This is done in their teaching, their friendly attitudes, and even decorating for holidays!
The Writing Center in its environment, resources for all majors, and freedom for the tutors and students work together to create a community that is both educational and accessible to all. They improve to do this even more - by expanding into the community.
They are already working on this goal with their events on campus. One such event is “Long Night Against Procrastination”. This is once a semester event that is in collaboration with the librarians at the Campbell Library. During this event the Writing Center stays open later to provide resources, help, planning, food, and DIY de-stressing activities to help students work on their final assignments. The next “Long Night Against Procrastination” is planned for this November.
There is another big way the Writing Center plans on expanding into the larger community. They will soon be connected to the Rowan University Writing Project. The Rowan University Writing Project is designed to help K-12 teachers grow as writers and leaders in their professional lives through collaboration, workshops, and more. This not only helps the teachers, but ideally will deepen their students’ grasp of writing and allow them to use these skills in their lives, communities, and future careers.
The Writing Center is going to support these goals. They do this by sending tutors to elementary schools to discuss and teach writing. They also will organize poetry events, book readings, and more at elementary schools.
Additionally, there is a third way the Writing Center is planning on supporting the community. On Friday, October 20th, they will be hosting events for National Day on Writing.
These events will go from 9:00AM to 2:00PM in the Campbell Library. This event will commemorate National Day on Writing. During this event there will be snacks and candy, as well as writing related activities. There will also be raffles for Cookie Munchers coupons.
This is the perfect event for those interested in experiencing the welcoming and freeing environment of the Writing Center!