200 Days in the Life of the College

Thursday, March 3

Peer tutors bring out the writer in you

By Dana J. Quigley ’11

According to Katy Smith ’13, younger students typically consider Writing Center appointments a requirement, not an option. It was at one of those “required” conferences during her first semester on the Hill that Smith met writing tutor Jordyn Taylor ’12. The two have since paired up for more than a dozen conferences in different subjects. “There is a huge gap between high school and college writing,” says Smith, who also came to realize that Taylor had “a really good idea how a history essay works.”

Smith began returning voluntarily to the Writing Center to meet with Taylor following their first session. After one conference had gone particularly well, Smith spotted Taylor at a Silent Disco gathering and immediately shared the news about her well-deserved grade on a paper, not realizing that Taylor’s headphones had kept her from hearing anything Smith had said.

Oddly enough, Taylor herself had not entertained the possibility of becoming a writing tutor until a history professor nominated her for the job during her first year. But Taylor’s background in public speaking, training in theatre and previous tutoring experience in high school made her an ideal candidate, as did her writing ability. Taylor believes that “it’s always valuable to have another set of eyes on your paper,” so she was happy to take on such a meaningful assignment.

Smith has made a habit of continuing to meet with Taylor. “Jordyn can help monitor improvements, remembering things that were tough for me in the past,” says Smith, who feels that her writing has steadily improved during her time at Hamilton. Writing can often be a lonely task, but student tutors like Taylor make it seem less so.