“Writing is an important part of every discipline,” they say. “You’ll have to write in every class that you’ll take at John Carroll University.”
Many first-year students hear these statements and promises as they embark upon their first semester of college courses (or even attend orientation sessions), as academic advisors and teachers intend to prepare their students for the workloads and expectations inherent in their course curricula. As a First-Year Writing teacher myself, I make these statements on a regular basis! But when I step back and think about the words in such assertions, I realize how overwhelming and daunting the word every may come across (to all students, really, but to new college students in particular). Every: each one. All individual items. All-encompassing. Wow…being presented with an expectation that writing will be everywhere in college is certainly enough to make every writer nervous!
Luckily, there’s another statement and promise that I also incorporate into regular conversations that aims to lessen students’ stress and help them feel supported in fulfilling this challenge. That statement, very simply, says:
“The Writing Center is available for any student with any assignment from any discipline, and at any point in the writing process.”
You’ve probably heard or read this statement in some form before—but have you stopped to really pay attention to our emphasis on any? We purposely repeat it with an inviting, welcome intention as a way to say, “We’re here for you! Bring us any type of writing you want to talk about.” Any: all kinds. No specific conditions or exclusions. Come as you are. What a relieving feeling for students to know that there is a place available on our campus that creates space for such an expansive category of work!
To illuminate both every and any within the lens of our campus, I share with you an infographic developed by John Carroll’s Integrated Marketing and Communications team, which provides a visual breakdown of the disciplines discussed in consultations during the fall 2015 semester. What you’ll see here is twofold:
- Writing—in some form—plays a crucial role in every discipline
- Students bring the assignments of any discipline to the Writing Center for help (in whatever form they define “help”)
We encourage every student to visit us in the Writing Center—and look forward to working with you on anything you bring in!
Maria Soriano is the Director of the Writing Center at John Carroll University. Her most recent scholarship includes a presentation at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication, “Risky (or Rewarding) Business? A Tale of Convergence between a Writing Center and a Learning Commons.”