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Writing Right: The Writing Studio Opens

Jeff Gu '18, Features Editor
Does the prospect of free writing baffle your senses? Have you been plagued by pop reading quizzes or DBQs? Do you ever feel bogged down by analytical essays, lab reports, or the occasional research paper? If so, then the new Hopkins Writing Studio may be just the place for you!
Located in B309 between the Exclamation and Question mark stickers on the third foor of Baldwin Hall, The Studio is open to all students every period of the day. Hilltoppers are encouraged to bring their writing assignments and prompts in hard copy form to The Studio, where seniorschool tutors will ready to assist. 

The Writing Studio offered a soft opening on January 29, and had a hard opening on February 12. The spice is rumored to offer a strong assortment of candy and baked goods. 

In the past fve months, writing tutors have gone through vigorous training sessions, including participation in a UConn sponsored conference in September and a training session at Choate Rosemary Hall in January. Tutor Margaret Mushi ’19 said, “UConn was an introduction into what we were going to be doing. We were taught from the beginning that the student should work on their own paper and that we’re just here to help guide them and for them to bounce ideas off of. The most diffcult task is making sure that the student is always in control of the paper.” After visiting programs already established at other institutions, Academic Directors Chris Jacox and Brad Ridky felt reassured at the prospects of a Writing Studio on The Hill. “Hopkins is not blazing the path on the opening of Writing Studios. They’ve been around at colleges for decades and at high schools for about ten years at least. There are a lot of models out there for us to follow; we’ve visited Choate, Amity High School has a program, a bunch of us went up to Loomis Chaffee last year,” said Academic Director Brad Ridky. Jacox added, “What we found through research and meeting with other programs is that with the right kind of training, tutors do a fabulous job.” 

Tutor Eliot Carlson ’19 said, “In after-school training session, we spent hours practicing how to help people with  their writing using different approaches, discovering the Do’s and Don’ts of tutoring in writing. An important tenet is to not actually get yourself involved in the paper, but to step back and let the tutee do all the actual work on the paper.”

Tutor Hannah Stelben ’19 commented on the Choate session, “It felt comfortable seeing that all these students were the same age as us and going to a school similar to ours. As a new tutor, hearing about all their experiences, how they dealt with issues and had mainly good experiences was comforting.” 

Many students at Hopkins are excited by the direction that The Studio is taking to provide a more manageable, more hands-on learning environment. Kiarra Lavache ’18 said about writing at Hopkins, “We need to focus more on the style of writing than the content.” Tutor Claire Abate ’18 agreed, adding, “Our motto at The Studio is to build better writers, not just better writing.” Many students are looking forward to having the Writing Studio as a new resource. 

John Mills’21 said, “As an new ninth grader there’s a lot of expectation to live up to. If you were here as a seventh or eighth grader, you already have that experience of Hopkins writing, but just coming in, you’re then expected to already be competing at everyone else’s level. The Writing Studio will help.” Karyn Bartosic ’18 added, “In my experience, I’ve had a lot of peer tutoring with my friendsfor writing. We’ll read each other’s essays. Having a set area for students to get help from trained tutors will be really benefcial for a lot of people.” Donasia Gray ’18 argued the signifcance of learning how to write well, “Writing is an asset that many people take for granted. You need to be able to articulate your thoughts in everyday life.” Elizabeth Bamgboye ’20 added, “Even with all the technology of today, writing is a key component, even in many stem programs. You need to have a basic grasp of how to write.” 

For students with an interest in becoming a writing tutor, Jacox advises, “Come talk to us. You don’t have to be a perfect writer to be a writing tutor. One of the things we look for is the ability to listen well and to ask good questions and a deep rooted belief that the writer has the answers and that tutors are simply helping writers fnd the answers to the task.” 

For anyone who is looking for some direction in their paper, who is learning how to become a better writer, or has simply been staring at a blank word document for a little too long, the Writing Studio encourages you to drop by B309 for a snack.
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