Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Year Orientation

     It began in late August. The vans loaded with everything from desk lamps, to gaming systems to futons were making their way to little old Coe College. Perhaps the most important cargo, the new first year students, were feeling everything from anxiety to jubilation. Some had traveled from far away states and even other countries while others simply had to drive down the road for a couple of minutes. They and their parents took copious amounts of time moving into their new homes and it seemed like the parents would not leave until everything was perfect. Tears were shed, hugs passed around, and after Mom and Dad left, naps were taken. Unbeknownst to the unsuspecting first years, the hard part was still to come.
     Over the course of the next week the first years' schedules would be brimming with CAP meetings, social gatherings, academic advising, and guest speakers. Amongst the CAP groups, first years formed their first new bonds of the year becoming close with those they would be taking class and participating in activities with. The guest speakers were outstanding with presenters like the wonderful Maura Cullen and the humorous Shot of Reality duo. Everyone bunched together in front of Stewart Memorial Library for the first year photo and through some miracle, we overcame the stifling heat and shouted obscenities to take the photo. Maybe the highlight of Orientation Week was the ringing of the Victory Bell. I know that for me, that was the first time that I truly felt a part of the Kohawk Community. It was a wonderful moment stuffed with school pride and spirit.
 Soon Friday came and it was time for the gladiatorial throw-down for fall classes. We all stood in line waiting and praying that we would get into the classes that we needed. Those with the lower ID numbers basked in their luck as they got to choose their classes before the masses had a chance, while those of us with lower numbers cursed our terrible luck. We all got in eventually though and on Saturday we had the chance to test our mettle against the other CAP groups in the legendary DRAGONBOAT RACES!!!!! While trash-talk was abound only one team could come out on top and all others were forced to walk away in shame.
     After the races, it was a downhill slide through the weekend as we anxiously awaited the beginning of classes on Monday. The Writing Center (whoop whoop!) had their retreat which was a treat. Sports teams continued practice and groups began meeting and planning. The fall semester has begun.

                                                                                                                     Your faithful correspondent,
                                                                                                                                    Austin Springsteen

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Bloggers Are Back!

Hello readers!

We're back. The school year has begun, the coffee beans are being roasted, and those writers are finally coming in for some conferences for their first papers of the semester. The WC has welcomed back familiar centaurs and many newbies have joined the crew. It's Dr. Bob's last year (woah!) and so we're helping him go out with a BAM.

So we're the blog team. Our goal this semester is at least weekly posts and a new major changes to the layout of the blog. Check back for pages going across the top of the blog, directing you to even more information. We'll update the links and make sure you're informed with all the exciting things happening in the WC. Finally, you'll have a chance to get to meet us, our bloggers, and other fellow consultants.

Get ready for an awesome year!

- The Blogsters

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Writing Center Retreat

Hey all!
My name is Kelan, and I will be one of the writing consultants that will be taking care of this blog.  Just a little bit about me before I start talking about a recap of the Writing Center Retreat. I'm from Afton, Minnesota, a lovely little town on the scenic St Croix River.  I spend my summers as an attendant at Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul. This is my sophomore year at Coe and I’m majoring in Business Administration and Public Relations with a minor in Studio Art.  My involvement on campus includes the track and field team, where I throw the javelin, and membership in the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau, where I act as chapter historian.  One of my favorite things that happened this summer was I got the opportunity go back up north to the Coe College Field Station in the Boundary Waters and relieve my experience on the Wilderness Orientation as a counselor to the incoming freshman.  Thankfully no one starved, drowned or became bear food.
As far as the retreat goes, you'll have to excuse the delay in posting this recap. The Writing Center Retreat was about two weeks ago, but better late than never right?  Anyway, from a first time Writing Center consultant’s perspective; the idea alone was rather intimidating.  I imagined it to be a solid two day hell of intense writing focused on grammar and whipping off five page papers in mere hours. But low and behold, this was not what the retreat was about.  In reality, it was the exact opposite of what my imagination had conjured up.
The retreat started off the first day with an awesome get to know you activity in which the new consultants sat in an inner circle and the returning consultants sat in an outer circle around them. Every five minutes the new consultants moved one chair over allowing them to meet all of the senior members.  Think of it as speed dating Writing Center style.  I thought it was a great way to start off the retreat and I learned some names in the process!

Afterwards, we split up into groups and were given the assignment of responding to the fragment of a poem by the Greek poet Sapphos in 50-100 words with no more than 6 words per line. The reason that we split up into groups and didn't just respond to the poem by ourselves was because we were supposed to brainstorm our response to the assignment to the poem by having conferences with each other. I thought this was a very smart way to work on the assignment, even though hours of discussing the meaning of individual words gave me something of a stress headache.  It actually made me appreciate the writing conference a lot more. Sadly, I was not able to attend the infamous Writing Center skits event which followed, because of fraternity commitments, however I believe this year was just as great as previous years. 
The second day of the retreat started off similar to the first, with a get to know you game.  Dr. Bob had all the consultants stand in a circle, and he went through a series of survey questions such as are you the middle child or do you own a dog?   If the questions applied to you then you would stand in the middle of the circle. I thought it was really interesting to see which things the consultants had in common, and which consultants really stood out. I'll have you know I was one of only a few people that read the Harry Potter series three or more times! Good fun.
Getting down to business, we returned to the assignment we were given the previous day, to write a response about the Sapphos poem.  This day was more of a revision day, where we read each others’ responses and comment about the things that could be improved and the things that were well done. We had some great discussions in my group, and I enjoyed getting feedback on my response.  Being new to the Writing Center, this exercise felt like really good practice for what is to come in giving and receiving conferences.  After the groups had finished discussing, we all split up into our assigned committees to discuss meeting times. Sadly for me, I'm the only member of the  Writing Center Website Committee, but that doesn't mean that I’m not excited to see what I can do with the website to make it more up to date and cleaner.
My favorite moment of the retreat had to have been the ending of it, which on the surface sounds like a rather negative comment. However, it’s really the opposite.  After all the groups had finished meeting and Dr. Bob had met with the new consultants to cover expectations for the coming year, the returning consultants did something very special. The returning consultants formed a small circle and started pulling new consultants into it, while Sam Orvis read us some of the great things the new consultants should do in the coming year as a new member of the writing center family. The circle grew until all the consultants had made it in.  We were all left with the feeling that we are a community of students who can depend on each other.  Hopefully this finale will be a tradition we maintain in future years.
That wraps up the Coe College Writing Center Retreat Recap and my first blog post of all time! Hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  More posts from other great writing center consultants are in the works, so please check back in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading,