REVIEW: End Writer’s Block With Think Tank Writing Center

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I have always found writing to be one of the most important skills a person can have in their life. Not everyone will become a successful novelist or a master of prose, but I firmly believe that everyone has the ability to write equally well. It is also important to note that writing is one of those skills that you will use daily to some extent. This is especially true for college students.

No matter how much some students dread it, students can never escape the need to be able to compose comprehensible text. The importance of being able to write is crucial and students, especially freshmen right out of high school, will find that college writing doesn’t compare to high school writing.

The main difference between high school writing and middle school writing is that middle school writing expects students to write in a way that demonstrates both their knowledge of the subject (of what they write) and their critical thinking skills according to an article written by the University of Maryland Global Campus. The stereotypical writing style we were taught in high school (introductory paragraph, thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph) will no longer be enough to get you from class to class.

Some students may be able to adapt to change, and some students may even excel at this new level of writing, but for the rest, writing may become the bane of their existence. Professors can offer office hours to help struggling students, but sometimes the time just doesn’t fit the student’s schedule or the teacher’s help isn’t enough. Who else can a student turn to for help?

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For University of Arizona students, there is an easily accessible resource that can solve our writing problems. This resource is the Writing Center.

The Think Tank Writing Center is one of many tutoring programs offered through the University of Arizona’s Think Tank program. Think Tank offers tutoring services for students that cover a range of subjects such as math, writing, business, science and foreign languages, as well as exam preparation according to the Think Tank All Services List Page. According to them Annual report 2020-20215,736 students have used their services with 2,004 of those students using the Writing Center.

The writing tutoring services offered at the Writing Center are divided into five different formats that meet the needs of the student. According to Writing Center website, they are broken down as follows: in-person appointment, Zoom appointment, Feedback Loop, Graduate Writing Lab and paid appointments. All appointments except paid appointments are free for AU students. If students are looking to make an appointment, this can be done through the Writing Center websitewhere they will be asked to log into their scheduling system called “Retain” with their NetID and password in order to book an appointment.

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An in-person appointment, as the name suggests, is an in-person tutoring session located at the Bear Down Gymnasium. Appointment sessions last 45 minutes and students are matched with a certified peer tutor.

A Zoom meeting is an online meeting conducted through the Zoom web conferencing software. These sessions last 30 minutes and students are also matched with a certified peer tutor. These sessions have screen sharing capabilities allowing students to share their screen of the work they want help with.

The Feedback Loop is a unique service offered at the Writing Center where students can upload a paper they wish to receive feedback on to their Retain system where a Certified Peer Tutor will spend 45 minutes providing suggestions and feedback before posting it. flip. The turn-around time for feedback varies, so it is essential that students are aware of the time constraints they are giving themselves with the requested paper.

The Graduate Writing Lab is another tutoring service offered only to graduate students to help them with their graduate work. Services are conducted in the following formats: in-person, Zoom, or a feedback loop with an in-person appointment located at the Graduate Center.

A paid appointment is an appointment where students can pay $50 per hour to receive tutoring from a staff member.

The certification process followed by a peer tutor is meticulous. According to UA English senior Erika Brittain, who works as a peer tutor at the Writing Center, tutors attend weekly training sessions that cover topics related to writing tutoring. Peer tutors do not have to pass a certification test to be certified, but certification is instead dependent on their participation in the training, which is overseen by the Writing Center administration team. According to Brittain, “one semester’s worth of training equals one level of certification.” In other words, the certification of tutors is done on the job.

Among other things, the Writing Center’s peer tutors are trained to help students with all forms of writing. According to Writing Center FAQ Page, tutors can help with essays, creative work, and even professional documents like job applications and resumes. Students can even enter a session without a prepared document. If you just need help brainstorming or have a very rough draft, students can expect to leave a session after completing all the tasks they were looking for. Tutors are trained beyond simply recognizing grammatical errors, they also seek to improve the student’s writing style. They offer a fresh look at a piece of work and identify ways to strengthen a student’s own writing beyond simply completing a single assignment.

I have personally used the Writing Center many times for my own writing and found the experience to be extremely positive. I usually take Zoom appointments as it works better with my schedule and the time slots they offer are very flexible. I would recommend booking in advance as in my experience trying to book same day appointments is difficult as slots tend to fill up quickly.

I found the peer tutors to be very patient and very constructive in their feedback. Sometimes I would walk into a session feeling super nervous and embarrassed about what I was writing, but the tutors had a way of making me feel comfortable and even confident in my work. The sessions aim to help students recognize areas where they need improvement, with tutors being there to give you suggestions on how to achieve that level of improvement. Personally, I feel more comfortable asking a classmate for help because there is this mutual understanding of the difficulties a student is going through, especially when it comes to academics.

The Writing Center also sponsors a variety of workshops that can provide in-depth lessons on different aspects of writing such as writing resumes and personal statements, revisions, the writing process itself and more. , as indicated on their Workshops and Studios page.

So if you suffer from writing block or are tired of your roommate struggling to read your drafts, make an appointment at the Writing Center. You will receive the best assistance the AU can offer.


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Tereza Rascon (her) is a graduate in English. She enjoys reading, writing and watching the latest movies and shows.



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