My peers who have had multiple appointments with me in the Writing Center likely know that I struggle with pronouncing the names of things in their papers: whether that’s an author’s last name, a foreign city, or an official scientific term, I often come up with a nickname to refer to “it” by for the rest of the appointment. Sometimes, when I trip over ‘Dostoyevsky’ or ‘echinodermata’ for the fifth time, the student I’m working with will automatically apologize, and I quickly tell them that they definitely should not be apologizing for my inability to speak gracefully. The fact of the matter is that during my shifts in the Writing Center I am often floored by the unique and innovative things my peers are studying. When I’m tripping up over a vocabulary word, it means I’m getting to learn something totally new that I likely never would have gotten the opportunity to otherwise. While they may not realize it, when my peers bring in their papers to me I love getting to learn about the subject of their writing just as much as I love helping in their writing process.
As an English major, it’s often easy for me to forget that there are other fields of study out there that also require great writing. Working with my peer’s writing on subjects that are completely outside of my comfort zone is not only a learning experience, but it’s humbling to realize that no matter what you’re studying we all need writing equally. I love that I get to help my peers through their writing process, even if I do feel like a bit of a fool trying to pronounce their vocab words. Hopefully, the process is just as rewarding for them as it is for me, as we both help each other out with our areas of expertise.