The summer of 2009 was coming to a close, and I found myself in Munice an entire week before school even started. Turns out wandering through the Muncie Mall, down southern Tilloston, and around the village only makes the fact of not having a job seem that much more hopeless and depressing with each application you fill out. Tired and frustrated from my lack of “experience,” I turned to Cardinal View Jobs hoping to see a job posting worth pursuing. To my luck, the description of “writing tutor” stood out like a $100 bill on the street.

After finishing my first year as an English major, I declared my focus in rhetoric and composition. After completing all the preliminary English courses in one semester, I had my fair share of practice in writing. The job fit my field of study perfectly, and I did not want to let this opportunity pass by. Upon getting the referral and making a quick phone call, I was speaking with the writing desk director.

It has been almost an entire school year working at the writing desk in the Learning Center, and I am grateful for every minute. At first, tutoring was a bit intimidating. I felt somewhat awkward to tell a client that something they wrote does not make sense, and it was even harder to refrain from interjecting your own writing style into their paper. The first clients were often a challenge as my tutoring abilities were still underdeveloped, however I learned quick.

With time, it became easier for me to get every client involved in the learning process. Some student show motivation to learn, others only want proof that they showed up; regardless of their motives, you have 50 minutes to teach them something. Some sessions go extremely well and the student is grateful for the help, while other sessions go by leaving you wondering what you could have done differently to improve. Either way, every session proves a learning experience for both tutor and student.

Working at the Learning Center has helped me become a better reader, writer, and teacher. Hoping to one day teach myself, this job means more to me than just getting paid. The one-on-one atmosphere emphasizes focus and interpretation as opposed to lecture based learning; I value this aspect as I believe smaller group discussion relies on such rhetoric for effective learning. Aside from class, every student should treat the tutor session as another opportunity to gain knowledge.

The writing desk at the Learning Center, as well as the Writing Center at Ball State are only two of many awesome resources available to Ball State students. Graduate and undergraduate student alike are encouraged to take advantage of these writing centers as tutors are more than happy to look at their work.

-Brian Wysock, Undergraduate of Rhetoric and Composition