All posts by Corinne Vieracker

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As a graduating senior, I’m approaching the end of my time at The Writing Center.  I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year, but time flies when you’re eating candy and playing with toys… I mean, working and consulting.  But let’s face it, I’ve been eating candy and playing with toys while consulting, it’s a pretty good deal.

What I didn’t realize when I first signed up for Writing Center Theory, WRA 395, two years ago was the amount of experience I would gain in just one year as a consultant.  And I don’t just mean another job to add to my resume.  Through working one-on-one with clients I have gained more listening and critical thinking skills.  I mean, I cannot zone out when someone is counting on me to help them with their personal statement that may or may not get them into graduate school.  I’ve also gained a broader understanding of the variety of cultures at MSU.  Before working at The Writing Center, I knew that MSU had students from all over the world, but by working with them, I have been able to meet some of them and hear their stories.  That’s, honestly, one of my favorite aspects of working here, just constantly meeting new students and hearing about their experiences.

What I also didn’t realize, even at my interview with Trixie and Dianna, was how many other professional development opportunities I would have.  After giving about five workshops this semester, I can now get up in a room full of students and give a workshop without having a mini panic attack.  I can also honestly say I’ve been to a conference, I don’t think it’s necessary to add that I only talked for about five minutes.  But I now know how a conference works and am better prepared for any future ones that I may attend in graduate school.

Overall, it has been a good year.  I’ve gained valuable experience while enjoying a relaxed, easy going environment.  And I’ve had the opportunity to spill my guts about it every couple of weeks while writing this blog.  So if you enjoy writing, candy, and toys and want to gain some awesome experience work at The Writing Center or even just come visit.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.Consultants periodically get to go to writing Center conferences.  We can go to one just for the experience and then we can go to more if we are presenting.  I recently went to the Eastern Central Writing Center Association (ECWCA) conference and presented with the rest of the Website team (the Koalas) in good old Clarion, Pennsylvania.

After a lovely five and a half hour drive, we arrived in a beautiful rainy Pennsylvania and then had some delicious pizza… well some people had salad with fries on top.  The presentations started bright and early Friday morning with poster presentations.  The koalas presented at two and we were pretty awesome if I may say so myself.  As a panel we discussed the website itself, the content, and social media.  I specifically talked about the Consultant Diaries and why I chose to write them and how I go about doing so.  Overall, it was a good experience that again showed me a different aspect of consulting at our Writing Center.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.So I just recently gave a Digital Video workshop and failed miserably with correctly displaying the videos on our Smartboard.  This only goes to show that consultants are not good at everything.  But hey, we try!  And working with the class instructor, we were able to come up with an effective solution to share everyone’s videos on the small screens.

I feel like a constant part of the consulting job is to find alternate solutions to problems.  Even when a client comes in with a paper that has already been reviewed by their instructor, we work to try and find alternate ways to improve a sentence or the content.  If an appointment is going well, we must alter our strategies to best fit the client.  Every person that comes into The Writing Center is different.  They have different work, needs, wants, plans, etc., so when working with different clients we have to constantly alter consulting strategies to best fit the situations.  Similar to having to alter a workshop to make sure people are able to share their videos with their classmates.

Grammar: The Importance of Content

When I look at the appointment form online and all a client has to work on is “grammar,” I cringe a little bit.  I think grammar is important, but I am not an expert, I do not know all of the rules and I really cannot explain them. I am also a firm believer that the importance of grammar depends on the situation or the type of writing.  Grammatical errors on a one page resume stand out more than errors in a five page paper.  Resumes are meant to be scannable and grammatical errors may stick out more and cost the writer a job.  But with a larger piece of writing, like a five page paper, grammatical errors don’t stick out as much.  Continue reading

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.There are many good things about being a Consultant, but one of my personal favorites is the mass amounts of candy.  Whenever I have a sweet tooth, which is rather often, I seem to have candy at my fingertips.  I always have a dessert after my lunch and a pick-me-up when I’m tired.

Since Valentine’s Day, I have come to work at The Writing Center only to find a delicious bowl of Valentine’s Day candy beckoning me.  It is quite possible that this wondrous bowl has caused a little bit of weight gain and a whole lot of sugar rushes, but I still check it every time I walk through the doors of 300 Bessey.  My personal favorites lately have been the Mini Crunch Bars and the Strawberry Chocolate Doves, but Lifesavers and Laffy Taffys are always great too.

But seriously, if you ever get a hankering for candy, don’t bother buying any, just come see us at The Writing Center.  I mean, what more can you ask for? We’ll help you with your writing and give you candy.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As consultants, we all have our favorite and least favorite types of writing to work with.  But sometimes I think it doesn’t always matter on the type of writing so much as the client.  My bio on the website states “I enjoy working with digital rhetoric, alternative media, and web design projects, as well as brainstorming and literature reviews,” which is true, but the client’s attitude brings a lot to appointment.  The best consultations I have had were not necessarily with these types of writing, they included clients with positive attitude who really wanted to improve their writing as well as that specific assignment.  Continue reading

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.My first semester at The Writing Center, I did not have the opportunity to work in Bessey, the main center.  I was only a consultant in the BCC and the Library. This semester, however, I am working a majority of my hours in Bessey and am noticing a big difference in the type of work I do and the clients that come.

For starters, while working in Bessey I have been significantly more involved in The Writing Center activities.  I have now conducted 3 workshops and have been scheduled for Online Consulting, which I never did last semester.  Furthermore, working in Bessey, I am in constant contact with my fellow consultants.  In the satellite locations, I really only saw the consultants that worked within those satellites, and this isn’t to say that I did not enjoy working in those places, but that I did not have the opportunity to get to know a lot of other consultants. Continue reading

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As a consultant we are sometimes required to give workshops.  I made it through my first semester, the fall semester, without having to give any workshops, and only a month into this new semester I have already given two and am scheduled to give another one in a couple weeks.  I guess we never know what to expect as consultants. Continue reading

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.Welcome back to a new semester! At The Writing Center we have been preparing for this with a staff orientation.  As a returning consultant, staff orientation this semester was much different from last.  Back in August, I was just beginning, I barely knew anyone and was unsure of what to expect.  But now with a semester of consulting under my belt, orientation was a lot more fun and easy going. Continue reading