• The Writing Centaur Blog!

    The purpose of this blog is for the Writing Centaur tutors to share our insights on all of the things we love about writing--and how to improve your own, whether that be a personal piece, a creative work, or even a school paper. This blog will also contain entries about Writing Centaur events such as conferences, challenges, and promotions. This is a judgment-free environment intended to help students grow their knowledge of writing.

    Students are welcome to submit their own blog entries for our consideration as well.  Topics might include your own thoughts on the writing life or tips you’d like to share on how to write well. Please send any and all entries to thewritingcentaur@gmail.com.

    Thank you and we hope to see some interesting entries!  

  • A Taste of Independence: Working In A Peer Run Class

    Posted by Dalton Hawie on 6/10/2017

    Being a student sitting a teacher led class can be difficult at times. Paying attention to a lecture on The Market Revolution of 1850 or staying awake for a lesson on trig identities can be hard on its own, and sometimes not being able to do anything other than listen can send you over the edge into a slumber. Among the many reasons why working in a peer-run school class is so fantastic is the engagement you feel with the class that staves off boredom and disenfranchisement. Working in The Writing Center has provided me with an insight into what it is like to not only be a student in a desk but also be a crucial part of how the class is run. As a peer tutor, my responsibilities within The WC go far beyond just listening to lectures all day. Working in a peer-run class means constant work, but all of it is always worthwhile. Being able to engage directly with the daily lessons and classes makes constant excitement and fulfilling work. In The Writing Center Theory and practice, students were constantly focused on skills that would become instrumental our success as tutors later on; our work was made much easier with the knowledge that everything we were learning and practicing would become useful in the next semester. Another thing going for peer-run classes is the fact that every student in the class has elected to be there, which results in a class full of engaged and happy people to work with. Having a classroom so full and energetic makes working in those classes much better in innumerable way: most importantly making it easier to focus and get motivated to work your best. Of course, working in a peer-run class has more benefits than just those applicable to that one class.

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  • The Importance of the Writing Center at the End of the Semester

    Posted by Haley Armstrong on 6/9/2017

    The Writing Center is an incredible resource for all students during the final weeks of the spring semester. Whether you could use a little extra help with essays or projects before you turn them in for their final grade, help studying for your final exam, or just a quiet place where you can relax, study, and get a confidence boost from a peer or two, the Writing Center is the place to go. By going to the Writing Center at the end of your semester, you will accomplish a lot more than if you hadn't; we know how hard it is to maintain drive during the last month of school, but coming to the Writing Center is an easy way to ensure a strong academic finish to your semester. Also, by coming to the Writing Center for a session, part of the pressure of writing a paper of finishing a project is removed. Tutors are more than willing to give you encouragement, and a guiding light in your process. If you feel lost in studying, need a study partner, or just don't know how to study, once again, the Writing Center is the answer to your problems. When all your studying is done, even if it is just beginning, tutors would love nothing more than to just sit and chat, hopefully soothing your psyche. They might offer advice, cheer you up, or even relate to your stress level. So, as this semester comes to a close, don't count the Writing Center out when you brave final exams!

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  • Summer Writing

    Posted by Brianna Bradley on 6/2/2017

    The summer can be a time where all the knowledge and skills you've spent the last ten months acquiring goes through one ear and out the other. The term “use it or lose it” greatly applies to academics. Starting the fall semester can be difficult because by September you most likely won't have done any reading or writing for a couple of months. A useful idea may be to use a portion of your down time this summer to polish up certain skills, such as writing, in order to have an easier transition from summer to school. Many sources can be used to continue your writing during the summer; keeping a journal to record your summer happenings, reading a book and taking some analytical notes, or even looking up writing prompts online and completing them. Doing any type of writing can improve your skills for the start up of the 2017/2018 school year, so taking a small portion of your lengthy summer break to better yourself academically isn't too much to ask of yourself. Just keep it fun and keep it interesting because, after all, it is summer vacation.

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  • Go With the Flow

    Posted by Bryn Sconzo on 6/1/2017

    Paragraphs must flow into one another. From personal experience, I completely understand the frustration of writers’ block and how grateful one can be to just get the piece up and running. With this new found momentum though, there can often be a tendency to ramble on. Without transitions between paragraphs, a paper may seem awkward and without a real emphasis on what your main points are within your paper. This brings up the importance of transition sentences. With most of the papers I get in the Writing Centaur, I see a regular issue with transition sentences. Let me start out with explaining what a transition sentence is. A transition sentence is a sentence at the end of your paragraph that connects one paragraph’s point with the next paragraph. Transition sentences will create a nice flow within your paper, transitioning from one point to the next. Transition sentences are vital to a well written paper and yet they seem to be commonly overlooked due to eagerness to get to the next point. Now I know this can be a bit confusing so let me give you an example: ● I am writing a paper about dogs ● My first paragraph was about how cute they are ● My next paragraph is about they can be used to help others ○ How will I connect the two points? (Don't just look! Think about it!) ● ž Dogs are cute and helpful. ž this is a weak transition! Give me some more detail! ● Despite being cute and cuddly pets, these canines are also capable of helping humans in many ways! ○ This transition sentence is a great way to end a paragraph and begin the next! It's important to add a little detail to make the sentence stronger, but also leave enough out to give yourself enough material out to talk about in your next paragraph without repeating yourself!

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  • End of the Year Exhaustion – Let’s Take it One Day at a Time

    Posted by Eleonora Chervenkova on 5/23/2017

    The end of the year is approaching and if you’re anything like me, you’re steamed out and completely exhausted. The final stretch is almost here but there's so much to still be learned and work to be done. Not to mention finals will be here before you know it. It’s easy to start slaking off because we are so bunt out from school, sports, working, and our personal lives. Waking up so early every morning is physically draining. The best way to deal with this mental and physical exhaustion is simply to take it one day at a time. Instead of counting down each day and making plans for summer vacation, focus on today and the work that needs to be done for today only. If you have an eight page term paper due at the end of the week like I do, don’t sit and try to write it all the day before because you will add even more stress and mental exhaustion on yourself, and no one needs this especially with reviewing for finals coming up. We’ve been working really hard all semester and it’s so easy to let those grades slip. A missing homework assignment here or a test you didn’t study for chemistry all adds up. Just like the entire year, keep up the good habits and know that summer vacation will be here before you know it.

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  • Listening to Music While Writing

    Posted by Carly DeLuca on 5/18/2017

    I love listening to music while doing work. I tend to put the television on or a movie, but too often I am too engrossed in the program to actually do any work. However, I find that the type of music has an influence on the type of writing that comes out of it. When listening to the Beatles I often see more fluid writing with a calming tone as apposed to listing to Hamilton, which makes me a more critical writer, full of angst. I think it is the most efficient way to do work. Without being completely distracted with the look of it, I am able to focus more on writing. I also think that when I am listening to something I am more comfortable with, or used to, the less attention I pay to that, and the more I do to writing. Personally, I love writing to show tunes. My best work is more likely to come while listening to the album of RENT than any rap album. Because of my familiarity with it along with the intense vocabulary, consistent change in momentum, and just overall beauty of the Broadway trained voices; I am able to work best with it. I think this is especially something I plan to develop into my college writing. Everyone has to find their fit for music and writing, but I am glad to have found mine.

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  • Quote Integration

    Posted by Allison Brady on 5/11/2017

    Including quotes in your writing gives your writing credibility. It lets the reader know you have done your research and there are other people who support your opinion. Integrating a quote into your writing can be tricky- the way you integrate it is just as important as finding the perfect quote! There are quite a few different ways you can choose to integrate a quote. One option would be to use a signal phrase. For example, “A signal phrase is a short phrase that is followed with a comma to introduce the quote.” An alternative method would be to introduce your quote with a full sentence: “You would follow the sentence with a colon and the include your quote.” Another method is to “work the quote into the grammatical structure of your sentence” so that it flows with your writing. Something important to remember when integrating quotes is that ellipsis marks can be used in place of an unwanted portion of a quote. Once you've properly integrated your quote, always make sure to cite it!

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  • Having trouble with conclusions?

    Posted by Brianna Dennett on 5/4/2017

    Don't you hate that feeling when you did an amazing job writing your paper, then get to your conclusion and have no idea what to do? Every writer has experienced this at some point and it is so stressful! When writing a conclusion you should restate your main idea (or thesis statement). This leaves the readers with an overall understanding of what your whole paper is about. After that, summarize your ideas that you used to support your thesis. However, you should avoid repeating anything you already said in your paper; try to reword things but also get the point across at the same time. In many situations, writers tell what lessons should be understood. Last but not least, leave the reader with an interesting final impression.

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  • Consider your Audience

    Posted by Emily Rainville on 4/28/2017

    A writer's tone is very imperative in writing, as it delivers a certain message from you as the writer and likewise affects the reader. Tone and audience are often overlooked during the writing process. An awareness of the people that will be reading your paper is crucial. Often times, students feel that the only person that will view their paper is a teacher or professor. Although that might be true, expanding your view to a wider audience can drastically improve the quality of your writing. It is also important to determine what type of assignment it is, whether it be formative, argumentative, an analysis, or creative writing. Using a more confident and a courteous tone will make readers believe your argument more. A more tentative tone may give the reader the impression that you are not well-informed on your topic or that you are not passionate about your writing. Most importantly, take time to write well. Understanding that a letter written to a college is not the same as a long text to your best friend is important. A formal piece should require more thought and articulation. Try to be as clear and consistent to convey the appropriate tone to your audiences, and expand your view for higher quality writing

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  • Reading, Writing and How The Two Get Along

    Posted by Dalton Hawie on 4/23/2017

    “How can you write if you cannot read,” or, “ how can you read if you cannot write,” seem to be common questions among literarily concerned people, but as Nathaniel Hawthorne famously said “easy reading is damn hard writing.” If you want to make your reader’s life as pleasant as possible, you have to work as hard as you can. Although, Eudora Welty once said “ for all I know writing comes out of a superior devotion towards reading,” meaning that the only way to know how to write is also to know how to read. So whom do you trust? Is Hawthorne or Welty accurate? I think that the best way to approach the reading v. writing argument is to enjoy the best of both worlds. Let's just ignore that reading can be an all-encompassing hobby that many would argue is the greatest pastime and focus only on how it relates to writing which is an equally beneficial hobby. English classes are most infamous for their writing assignments, so why is it that so much of any given class is dedicated to reading rather than writing? It might be your intuitive guess that English classes focus so much on the reading of fantastic books because those books and their authors employ the same kind of writing techniques that teachers want to see in their students, and you would be right. When you read, enjoy it as you will, but also make observations. See what your favorite authors do and see what techniques they employ. Figure out what works for others and replicate it, but you also need to be able to recognize what works and what doesn't, and for that you need to read. Read to know what works for you when you write; write to make sure others will be able to read it. So get reading so you can get writing, and get writing and see how well it reads.

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