When I first began my job as a writing tutor at the Writing + Critical Expression Hub, I expected my work to just be about helping students shift a few commas around before their assignment deadline. The Writing Hub, located at the Teaching + Learning Commons, is actually much more than just a proofreading center. The Teaching + Learning Commons, the Executive Vice Chancellor’s executive branch, prides itself on many principles for all of its branches, including student academic support. The Writing Hub is no different, and one of the Hub’s mottoes is “Help writers, not writing.” Tutors primarily try their best to give students the tools they need to become better writers — even past the deadline of their Muir Writing paper. This goal often requires a lot of training and practice to achieve, and most of the job is using quick thinking skills to best decide how to help students in the long run.
I walked into my first day at work as a shy and insecure undergraduate. While I was still trying to find my footing as a UC San Diego student, I allowed myself to have fun at this job and do the best I could. While there were many ups and downs along the way, I learned (and still continue to learn) more and more about not only the writing process but also about my working self. Being able to participate in opportunities outside of tutoring, such as presenting at conferences and conducting group research, has helped me assess my strengths and weaknesses as a working individual. Participating in these opportunities pushed me outside of my comfort zone but gave me the confidence to take charge of my tutoring practice and welcome challenges as a chance for growth and learning. Who I am at work is not the person I am at home or with friends or family, but I realize that each of these separate lives are valid and make up the person I am today. These experiences added a layer to my complexity as a person and reminded me that the confidence and determination I experience at work can be applied to my life outside of work, too.
While it may be easy to mark my personal story as irrelevant to the UCSD population, one of the most important messages I learned from my tutoring job is the value of personal connections in a school where it sometimes feels like the college social experience is not taken seriously. Something that was not included in my job description was the emphasis on community that would emerge from a job like this. I have met fellow tutors who have opened my eyes to new perspectives in life and with whom I have made valuable friendships. Most importantly, I have been stopped by students outside of the Writing Hub who have thanked me for helping them. In my eyes, it is comforting to know that regardless of how crazy college schedules may be, both students and tutors can always count on the Writing Hub to lend a helping hand. In a college that is often labeled as socially dead, services like those offered at the Teaching + Learning Commons can have a positive impact on student lives; it is through collaboration that we can truly meet each other, and if anything, feel a sense of belonging within a larger community. Valuable interpersonal interactions are what make UCSD feel less like UC “Socially Dead,” and I hope that everyone on this campus has the chance to meet friends who make them feel whole and find communities where they can create a home away from home.