For many students, reading week is in fact a reading break, time to take a breather from the reading, writing, research, and hours in lecture. However, for 20 graduate students who participated in the first-ever Write-In event, organized by Academic Skills and funded by the office of graduate studies and Traill College, this wasn’t the case.
“I often hear students lament that they did not meet their goals over Reading Week. Academic Skills developed this program because we know that structure and support are two elements to encourage graduate students to write,” explains Erin Stewart Eves, academic skills instructor and one of the organizers of the event. “The Write-In was a great mix of quiet, individual writing and vibrant community building. Students found new environments for writing, created new support systems, and rediscovered their voice in academic writing.”
Over the course of three days, students attended workshops on goal setting and coherent writing, participated in meditation and breathing exercises, a wintery nature walk, and developed a supportive community of scholars. Michael Eamon, principal of Traill College enthusiastically welcomed participants to the collegial act of communicating research.
One participant reported that the positive and supportive atmosphere of the Write-In event made writing feel like “an important, achievable aim.” This sentiment was echoed in the message presented by Dr. Elaine Scharfe, dean of Graduate Studies, who presented an inspiring talk on normalizing and valuing writing by making it part of one’s daily routine. By challenging students with the simple question – “why wait?” – she motivated them to make time for writing and to protect that time. Write-In participants have already organized a writing group so they can maintain their momentum and meet their writing goals.
“The response from students, faculty, and administration was overwhelmingly positive, we plan to offer the Write-In again next year,” said Ms. Stewart Eves.