Profile a Place: Writing Lab

Get it Right at the Writing Lab

by

Diana Kilby

photo

Every year New York City College of Technology opens its doors for many freshmen and transferstudents. The college staff tries to do their best to provide as much information as possible for newstudents. There are many places on campus that can be extremely beneficial for students. The college Learning Center with its writing lab and tutoring services is one of them.  The Learning Center offers different kinds of academic support to students. Any student can request tutoring assistance, participate in a workshop or use computer facilities free of charge with a valid student ID. I found the writing lab beneficial and supportive although I had both positive and negative experiences.

The writing lab is located in Atrium room PG 27 on the ground floor of Namm building. The working hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The writing lab occupies a small but cozy room with a big window on the right side so on a sunny day the room is full of sunlight. In the middle of the room there are 4 tables, which are grouped in pairs. The wall straight ahead and the one to the left from the entrance door have green chalkboards. There is a wardrobe with books and dictionaries placed by the wall on the right side. Next to it is data file and a locked metal cabinet. This wall has some pieces of décor such as a map of the world, bulletin board and a clock. All the furniture is old but clean. The space is limited so tutors with students have to sit next to each other that sometimes might interfere with the learning process.

I have been at the writing lab for a couple of times to get help with an assignment for perspectives in hospitality management. It was affirmative and productive experience. Usually the writing lab has three to four tutors working at the same time. They stay in the room expecting students to come with their assignments. They work individually. Commonly it takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on an assignment. The first time I went there my tutor helped me a lot to organize my thoughts and improve my sentence structure. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to finish reviewing my draft so I decided to come back. I did not expect to get the same tutor although I definitely expected to finish reviewing my draft.  But the second visit was not delightful. From the very beginning I got the feeling that the tutor just did not want to help me and tried to make me leave as soon as possible by being out of line, criticizing my work and not giving suggestions on improving it. With a lack of time and no other available tutors at that particular moment, I left with what I came. I would have probably never gone back there if it had been my first experience.

This is one of the reasons why I chose to profile the writing lab and tutoring assistance; I want students to know that they have rights to use academic support and most of all to decide what kind of support is productive. Don’t be scared to speak up, let the tutor know what would you like be done and change. Students should not be afraid to ask for help if needed and take as many attempts as needed to accomplish the assignment.

I was lucky to meet T.K. during preparations for this assignment. She is one of the tutors at the writing lab. She gladly agreed to answer my questions. She was very passionate and helpful. From the list of the questions that I had prepared for the interview she answered all of them and beyond.  In a matter of time the interview turned out to be a pleasant dialog. I was reasonably surprised to know that T.K. is the student herself. That day she had coiffed hair and just a touch of makeup and perfume.  T.K. was dressed in a business style skirt suite and wore elegant low heels shoes. She works at the writing lab two times a week usually she has from three to five students a day. “I had an assignment to prepare for one of my classes. My professor strongly recommended using tutoring assistance. That is how I discovered the writing lab’s existence” T.K. told me. I was surprised to know that students from hospitality management and tourism are the most frequent visitors to the writing lab.  According to T.K., students frequently need help with analyzing literature and preparing job resumes. When I asked her what typical mistakes are, she said, “students summarize instead of analyzing, have grammatical and structural mistakes.” Regrettably, a student had interrupted us so I had to say thank you to T.K. and leave her to do her job.

Over all, the writing lab has been a good experience for me. Academic writing can be a challenge and the only way to improve is through practice coupled with constructive criticism and direction. I highly recommend that students use the writing lab at all levels of composition to enable themselves to improve their skills through this valuable resource provided by City Tech. 

Work Cited

K, T. Personal interview. 5 October. 2013.

City Tech Student Handbook. Brooklyn, NY: New York City College of Technology, 2013. Online, www.citytech.cuny.edu/students/images/studenthandbook.pdf‎

 

 


 

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