November 17, 2016

Personal Essay: Two True Stories About the Writing Center

Here are two stories about the Writing Center at SAIC. 

This is the first story.

Every Monday afternoon, the alarm rings on my phone. I stop everything I do and force myself to go to the Writing Center. As much as I hesitate to go, I know I made the right decision every time I walk out of the MacLean building after spending an hour at the center. I say to myself, ‘Thank god, I forced myself to go.’

My name is Nan, a second-year graduate student from China, studying in the Master of Arts in New Art Journalism at SAIC. I rarely proofread my writings in Mandarin Chinese because I’m confident in my writing ability in my native tongue. Word choice, sentence structure and grammar come naturally to me in my first language. On the other hand, I am not as confident with writing in English. My writings in English are difficult to understand unless I proofread them thoroughly.

Everything changes when you write in a language you are not used to communicating in. Languages are rooted in different cultures. Expressing your thought in another language means you are explaining one culture to another. With my language barrier in English, it is difficult to write interesting articles and stories, no matter how good I believe my witty scenarios and sarcastic comments are.

This is the reason why I book an appointment to go to the Writing Center regularly each week. I have to set an alarm clock to force myself to go to the center every time because it is not easy to admit that I need help. However, after the tutors help me fix the grammar mistakes I made in my writing, I realize that giving up my pride was worthwhile.

Here is another story.

Luna Goldberg is from Miami, Florida, a first-year graduate student of Art History, Theory and Criticism department at SAIC. She doesn’t identify herself as a writer, but she enjoys writing very much. She is one of the tutors in the Writing Center who helps me improve in my writing. Every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, she sits in the Writing Center office, waiting to help SAIC students who have questions about the various writing assignments which were given by their creative art school professors.

“Yes, I like this job, not because I like to write, but also because I can see very interesting opinions and good writing skills,” says Luna. In the Writing Center, she is not just a helper, but also a learner. I believe writing is one of the easiest ways of expression. Although not everyone is good at it, at least everyone can come up with some good ideas to write something about.

In the Writing Center, Luna mostly helps with international students, but sometimes, English native-speaking students as well.

“Language is not the only thing I can fix here. For instance, if anyone have trouble with coming out with a good idea for an essay, we can brainstorm together, which is so fun,” says Luna.

For art school students, writing academic papers can be a boring task to do. However, from Luna and my perspective, I can say with confidence that this is not true. Writing is enjoyable. Writing is interesting.


You can go to the Writing Center’s website ( to book an appointment for a visit.

This article is contributed by Nan Zhong (MA 2017).