Lael Louw

Writing Centre Reflection

Lael Louw

April 22, 2022 

Writing, as an exercise in hospitality, communion, and generosity has always been something that I have always approached with a sense of passion. Stepping into the writing tutor role was an exciting way for me to participate in the communal act of writing. Writing is a community-based process and working with the Writing Centre has enabled me to participate at a far greater level within that process. Wood (1991) argues that communal writing is crucial to thriving within the academic world. I feel as though my participation and employment with the writing centre has deepened my understanding of participation in this communal writing. However, my time at the writing centre this year has been valuable to me even beyond being born of my passion for the field. 

Spending time with lovely and motivated students was very beneficial to my mental health. Not only was I able to get to meet new people and offer them assistance and help, but meeting with these students also bolstered my own confidence. As an Enneagram 6 I do not have a lot of self-confidence (“fake it till you make it” is powerful advice). Being forced to put forth my ideas, knowledge, and suggestions to students was initially more daunting than I anticipated it would be. However, once I witnessed the students learning and appreciation, my confidence began to grow. I am grateful for the students who sat through my rapid rate of speaking when I was anxious until I was able to calm and slow down. My time at the writing centre left me feeling like I could expand within the space I take up (without faking confidence this time). 

While most students I encountered were absolutely phenomenal, I did come across some more challenging students that forced me beyond my comfort zone and into the wild place where growth happens. One such student was very distracted and disengaged. My first challenge was to not take this behaviour personally as a relatively sensitive individual. Challenging scenarios like this one often leave me reeling to find where I made a mistake and what I can do to make the session flow better and avoid conflicts from arising. Remembering the role of the writing tutor and the role of the student, I forced myself to breathe deeply. Through detaching myself from the student’s behaviour and being consistent in my own approach toward helping the student, I had to challenge my over-analyzing mind to pause—which is a tremendous point of growth for me. Pausing in a stressful situation is a challenge for me, and by managing to calm myself and my anxiety in this moment I was even able to be politely assertive with the student. Assertiveness is another item that does not come naturally to me due to a fear of conflict and hostility. 

In short, the writing centre has been immensely enriching in terms of both academic and personal growth. I am profoundly grateful to have spend time working with the writing centre this semester and hope to continue working in this amazing environment.