I was shocked when I discovered from many friends that they had never used the Writing Centre at U of T before. To me, the Writing Centre became a safety blanket I could turn to when I was feeling stuck, or just wanted a second pair of eyes to read over my work. In my first year, being assigned university-level projects for the first time felt a bit daunting. I was overwhelmed with where to begin, how to approach the assignments, and how my essays were supposed to look compared to the ones I had written in high school. I constantly wondered if I was on the right track. My decision to book an appointment with the Writing Centre was a wise one, as it became a resource I continuously used throughout the year, helping to ease the stress and anxiety associated with post secondary level assignments.
The Writing Centre staff are there to support us and help us talk out our ideas. My online meetings became a source of comfort as I knew I could book when I was overwhelmed with essays and art assignments from my Visual Studies courses. During busier times of the year, appointment slots can fill up quickly, so I always tried to make sure I had appointments organized well in advance of due dates.
Each session I worked one-on-one with a Writing Centre instructor who would read my assignment instructions and rubric. They would either help me brainstorm if I felt stuck by asking me questions to get my mind turning, or read through already drafted essays. I used them when I had blank pages, not knowing where to start, and also for completed essays that required revisions. The instructor posed questions, encouraging me to reflect upon my thesis or ideas. This helped me dive deeper into topics, making richer connections and further substantiating my thesis with critical scholarly evidence.
Coming into the session with some specific questions in mind is very helpful in order to get the most out of your session and guide the conversation in a way that is most useful to you. At the start, I often had questions regarding references and different citation formats since this was totally new compared to the references I had to complete in high school.
Depending on your College/Faculty or the courses you take, you can use different writing centres. I used the Daniels Writing Centre for my courses, but when I took classes at Victoria College, I had the option to use them for Vic assignments.
Having another pair of eyes check something before pressing submit is always helpful. No shame in asking for help. There’s so much support to help us do our best at U of T, so why not take advantage?
Until next time,