A Helping Hand, From Home

A Writing Center virtual consultation
A virtual consultation between Peer Consultant Celine Nie '20 and Richard Speiss '23.

Six months into her new job at Babson, and just starting to get comfortable in a dual role as lecturer and director of the Babson Writing Center, Kristi Girdharry got the news.

Babson College would move online for the rest of spring semester due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Despite the challenge of it all, I have felt prepared and supported by my Babson colleagues,” she said. “Now, it’s all about helping the students feel that way, too.”

How is the Writing Center moving services online?

The Writing Center has been built on a philosophy of collaboration and the co-construction of knowledge. Our move to virtual is only emphasizing that more.

Through our regular scheduling platform, all members of the Babson community are welcome to sign up for writing consultations. During the consultation, there is a mix of ways to communicate, including video, audio, a chat box, and a digital whiteboard wherein all sorts of information can be shared.

As writing consultants, we leave it up to the client to determine what would be most productive in a session. For example, I recently held a brainstorming session where we conversed through audio and co-created an outline on the whiteboard. No matter where one is in the writing process, our goal is to help everyone succeed in bettering their writing skills overall.

To further support this mission, instead of our normal 30-minute sessions, we are offering 45-minute sessions to account for the slower nature of using a new platform. I am confident that we will continue to learn more about how writing works at Babson and how to better support writers through this experience.

How can students make the most of Babson’s support services, including the Writing Center, at this time?

Plan ahead!

I know these first few weeks are a big adjustment, but there’s actually not that much time left in the semester. If you know a major writing assignment is coming up, make an appointment with the Writing Center so that you can prioritize working on it—even if your appointment comes, and you haven’t written a word of it yet, I guarantee you will get something out of talking about the assignment with one of our highly trained consultants.

You’re juggling remote teaching, virtual leadership of the Writing Center, and your home life. How are you finding balance?

I am feeling confident in my balance between taking care of my responsibilities, staying mentally and physically healthy, and staying informed and connected with those I care about.

For all of us, I think the biggest factor is a shift in our mindsets: while I don’t tend to think of home as a workspace, I have had to reconsider the affordances and limitations of the space around me.

My practical recommendation is to get into a routine and design/write out a schedule that works for you and your current situation. Not only will this help with balance and boundary setting, but it will help you visualize where you need to work to prioritize normalcy and fun in your life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Babson community?

Although I still feel new, especially getting used to all of Babson’s acronyms and discourse conventions, I am proud to be here and to witness how everyone is able to pivot and showcase their Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®. It’s an inspiring time to be a part of something so great!

Posted in Adapting, Together, Campus & Community

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