Coming back for my second year at the UCWbL is a totally different experience than it was last year. Sure, the tutoring is the same and nothing about the locations has really changed, but something just feels different. I feel different. Maybe it’s because I have done this before and I’m no longer considered the new person. Maybe it’s because I’m a senior and half of my time is being spent worrying about what I’m going to do after I graduate. But I think that what it is, why I feel different, is because I’m not the same person I was when I first walked into All Staff Orientation last year.
I am not one of those people that actually takes time out of my life to reflect back on my experiences. I absolutely loathe reflection papers, but coming back as an “experienced” tutor and mentoring new tutors has forced me to actually take a look at how I’ve changed and grown over the past year. When I first started at the UCWbL I thought I was the best writer I could possibly be. I had never used the writing center as a resource myself and I looked at this job as something that would help other writers grow, not myself. Thankfully, I was wrong. Working as a tutor allowed me to see writing styles that were dramatically different from my own, and read the points, conclusions and connections that other writers drew that I never would have even thought of. My own writing started to change over the course of the year and I began to realize that I wasn’t just helping these students, but they were helping me. It might sound corny and a little sappy but it’s the truth. I am a much stronger writer now than I was before and it is all from working at the writing center.
As tutors we see so many different writing styles, topics and analyses it is hard for them not to effect our own writing. As the year progressed, my short stories started exploring topics I have never truly explored before, dabbling into horror stories rather than staying within the lines of literary fiction. My academic papers started to look at topics that pushed the envelope of the prompt/assignment. And as my writing changed the way I thought and carried myself began to change as well. The bolder my stories and papers got, I found I became less and less shy. I began to feel different both in my writing and in my life, and I cannot wait to see how my job continues to change and shape me this year.