WHY READING OVER THE SUMMER MATTERS

If you are reading this post in May of 2018, you’ve no doubt seen the Jimmy Kimmel video “Can You Name A Book?” in which people can’t name a book.

This got us to thinking…

Not only can we name actual books here in the Writing Center, but we have a few to recommend for your summer reading.  We’ve listed those at the bottom of this article.

Then, this got us to thinking even further…

WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING THIS SUMMER?  Use the comment section below to chime in.  (And if you don’t have a reading plan for the summer, perhaps our lists at the bottom, and the following blog post from Jesse Britt may encourage you to do so.  He talks about reading and a lot of other other valuable ideas you can consider over the summer.)

 

Summer and School Skills

by Jesse Britt

 

I know a title with the words “summer” and “school” sounds as if I’m talking to nerds. Whenever my teachers or parents told me I needed to “keep up my skills through the summer” back in elementary school, they meant “practice some math problems.” For the majority of us, doing math problems is something we never want to do, let alone during our summer vacations. Good news! I’m not going to tell you to do math problems over this break for which we’ve waited so long. Instead, here are a couple suggestions for things you can do to keep your brain in shape over the summer.

Reading something! This can be pretty much anything, it does not need to be a collection of scholarly articles. Reading in general keeps you thinking and analyzing. This way, you won’t feel like you’re being punched in the face when you get back for the fall semester, at least not as hard. So read! You can read an older classic like This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, or you could pick up a modern novel like David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. If you’re unsure what to read, ask an employee at the bookstore or look at some charts online. If you’re apprehensive about starting a new book, bookstore employees can help you find a shorter one that’s easier to finish. And remember not to feel pressured to completely finish a summer book, because reading it is your choice and not that of one of your instructors.

You can also look at articles in newspapers or journals. This is especially convenient since there are so many online articles, many of which are online only. Additionally, you can listen to something. There are many podcasts and audiobooks available that can make you think. The advantage to these is that you can use them while doing something else, whether you’re driving or mowing the lawn.

Finally, you can take a summer class. I know many people hate the idea of this, both because school can be boring and online courses are relatively expensive. However, if you have a little extra time and money, summer courses are a fantastic investment. In addition to keeping your mind fresh, they help you get ahead on your credits at the university. Be careful though—you may want to save important courses, such as those for your major(s), for in-person classes.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re doing something. Going back to school after a long break can feel like trying to run a marathon when you haven’t ran in a month. Keep your mind strong and have fun!

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SUMMER READING SUGGESTIONS FROM THE WRITING CENTER

Samantha Schroeder recommends:  On Writing by Stephen King, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.

Shohei Downing recommends:  Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, and The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.

Jon Meyers recommends: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, and The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik.       (Personal Note from Jon Meyers:  All adults should read Winnie-the-Pooh at least once a year.  I personally reread it every January to start out my year on the right track.  Each time you read it, the one-year-older you will see things you had not noticed a year prior.  To explore this train-of-thought further, consider:  “A bear of very little brain:
Positive psychology themes in the stories of Winnie the Pooh” by Lizette Dohmen.)

 

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HERE TO HELP: WKU WRITING CENTER OPEN ALL SUMMER

The Writing Center in WKU’s Cherry Hall will be open for the entire span of all Summer 2018 sessions.  The hours from May 14 to August 9 are 9am – 2pm.  (We will be closed Monday, Memorial Day, 5/28 and Wednesday, July Fourth, 7/4.)  We will have extended hours from June 4 to June 14 only of 9am – 4:30pm.

The Writing Center offers individual conferences to WKU students about writing with our staff of trained peer tutors. Our services are available to all Western Kentucky University students free of charge.

Follow us:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/WkuWritingCenter

https://www.instagram.com/wkuwritingcenter

End of the Semester Coping Skills

By Ashley Gilliam

I have a personal tendency as a pedestrian to walk directly into the pathway of cars. My friends often joke that it will be the literal death of me. I simply lack the fear necessary to keep me out of harm’s way. Stress, like fear, is a necessary part of life to some extent.

Without it, we would never meet our deadlines, but with it we can experience great distress. If we constantly feel as if cars are speeding towards us, it can become hard to prioritize more immediate concerns and react in the appropriate way.

The last few weeks of the semester can be an especially difficult and stress-inducing time. As a student who struggles with anxiety, I know this feeling all too well. In the same vein, I also have gained an intimate knowledge of coping skills to help with particularly trying times. There are a multitude of coping mechanisms you can employ to keep yourself from falling prey to negative thoughts and downward spirals.

The phrase “coping skills” may seem intimidating at first, but they don’t have to require a huge time investment. Often I will take a three minute break to breathe deeply. This is a period of time in the day to not do any work for others and allows my brain to sort of reset.

In the small moments, you can:

  • Listen to a song that you love or that relaxes you and just focus on it. I recommend this.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Journal for five minutes. Write down all the emotions you’re feeling to get them out.
  • Take a walk outside. Come back to your work afterwards with a fresh perspective.
  • Clean your workspace or room to let out the nervous energy and promote a better mood.
  • Watch an episode of a cartoon you loved as a kid.

Sometimes it’s the long stretches of time where we can’t stop thinking about our deadlines or procrastinating with Netflix that are particularly stress-inducing. If you need a longer break, you can do a number of relaxing activities.

Fun activities for the weekend:

  • Have a self-care night with friends.
  • If you carry stress in your body, get a massage at Preston. Students get a discount!
  • Volunteer at the humane society to walk dogs and/or pet cats.
  • Have a date night where you cook a healthy meal (or comfort food).
  • What did you do to cope with stress in the past? Did you draw, write poetry, play music? Try doing that now.

Sometimes these activities can feel like putting a band-aid on a larger problem. I often struggle with reaching out to those around me when I’m having a rough time, but your support system is vital to maintaining good mental health.

Don’t forget to ask for help:

  • Let your friends know when you’re emotionally or mentally taxed
  •  Schedule an appointment with the writing center
  • Go to professor’s office hours and ask them questions you have
  •  Request an extension in advance of the due date
  •  Find a mentor within your field who can help you with academic stresses and obstacles
  • Let a professor know if your mental or physical health is affecting your performance
  • Organize a study group. You can support each other and it makes studying more fun

Some of these may be relevant to you and your preferences, others not so much. The goal is for you to understand what changes in your behavior and feelings signal that you are becoming too stressed and to figure out what coping strategies are best for you to employ. For habits promoting self-care you can employ throughout the semester, check out another of our blog posts here.

If you have a tendency to feel overwhelmed and think you may have anxiety, do not be afraid to seek help. Talk to the Counseling and Testing Center. You can even request an emotional support animal attend your appointment. Star is a darling poodle and deserves all the love in the world.

 

Counseling

and Testing Center

Potter

Hall, 409

1906

College Heights Blvd #11024

Bowling

Green, Kentucky 42101

Phone:

270-745-3159

Fax:

270-745-6976

Email:

ctc@wku.edu

Meet the Tutors: Lydia & Rachel

Lydia Anvar

Lydia Anvar, a senior professional writing major, hails from Louisville, Kentucky–a city full of coffee shops, street art, and all the cheap Mexican food you can get your hands on. Although she’s only been working at the writing center for half a semester, she loves being able to encourage students who lack self-confidence in their writing. She also enjoys getting to learn new things when students bring her papers on topics that she isn’t familiar with. Thanks to her professional writing concentration, she’s well-versed in professional genres like memos, reports, and resumes as well as MLA style. Lydia hopes to get her Master’s in Education from the University of Kentucky to teach high school English; she believe that literature has the power to change the way that we see the world and ourselves–and she want to pass that on to others! When she’s not writing papers or working, she’s watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix or catching a cheap concert in Nashville with her friends.

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps has tutored in the Writing Center since August 2015. Like many of the tutors you’ll visit here, Rachel is a senior at WKU studying literature; unlike many, however, Rachel has a unique feature–her eyes are two different colors. This often becomes an interesting topic when Rachel realizes students are gazing into her eyes with perplexed expressions.

Along with literature, Rachel is studying professional writing and hopes to attend the University of Kentucky next year to get her Master’s with Initial Certification in Secondary English Education and become a high school English teacher. Rachel is a natural teacher and especially loves helping students brainstorm ideas for papers. Her expertise includes–but is not limited to–MLA format, science writing, and writing for education and literature classes.

When not tutoring or doing homework, Rachel is involved in her sorority, Delta Zeta, writes for the Talisman, and volunteers with the high school ministry at Living Hope Baptist Church.

Interested in setting up an appointment with Lydia or Rachel? Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

Meet the Tutors: Emily D. & Marcee

Emily Diehl

Emily Diehl grew up outside of Nashville on a small farm where she was homeschooled and learned to love gardening, cooking, fiber arts, and the environment. While studying English and Creative Writing at Trevecca Nazarene University, Emily also took classes on Environmental Justice and volunteered on the campus farm.

Emily is a first year MFA student with a focus on fiction. Though she tutored during her undergrad, this is her first semester tutoring in the WKU Writing Center. She enjoys encouraging students and giving them room to process their thoughts in a safe, judgement-free environment. Her desire is to help students articulate their ideas—both creatively and coherently—and enjoy the process of writing. She is versed in both MLA and APA and has helped many students with dissertations as well as online appointments.

Her favorite authors include Wendell Berry, Jhumpa Lahiri, Marilynne Robinson, C.S. Lewis, and Victor Hugo.

She dreams of owning a small farm where she can homeschool her future children, teach writing to kids from the community, and write novels that do justice to her literary predecessors.

Marcee Wardell

Marcee is a first-year student in the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program with a concentration in fiction. She began working in the WKU Writing Center this August as part of her graduate assistantship, and has knowledge of MLA and Chicago styles, as well as creative works.  In tutoring, Marcee enjoys seeing students come to epiphanies and realizations about what they’re working on, especially when they’re passionate or excited about what they’re writing.

Marcee hopes to publish fiction and nonfiction as a career, but knows that most professional writers still need day jobs; to that end, she hopes to work as an acquisitions editor after completing her MFA. Marcee originally hails from a small town on the east side of Michigan, and is definitely not acclimated to Bowling Green’s heat and humidity. When she’s not in class, in the Writing Center, or walking up the hill—it’s a long walk—you can find her attending informal workshops, reading a book, or reading at open mic events… maybe even one on Thursday: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FWkuWritingCenter%2Fposts%2F1462018153834544&width=500

Interested in setting up an appointment with Emily or Marcee? Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

A Post a Day….

The WKU Writing Center is back and we’re anxious to get started!  We want to get you writing and thinking about writing so every day of the week, we will be posting different writing prompts and quotes.  On our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, we will be posting these daily quotes and prompts meant to get you thinking critically.  Each day has a specific theme and will be featured with an image.  Be sure to follow us so you can write and think right along with us!  The following is how each day is categorized:

Monday Motivation

For this one, we will be posting writing and study advice.  This advice is meant to help you when you aren’t sure where to go next with your writing and studying habits.

Typewriter Tuesday

We will be traveling around with Dr. Fife’s typewriters to take photos all over campus.  These photos will feature a writing quote meant to get you thinking about writing and the process of writing in general.

Write Something Wednesday

We will be posting an image with a specific writing prompt.  The prompt may be creative, analytical, formal, or other genre of writing.  Write something really good? Send it us in a message at www.facebook.com/wkuwritingcenter  and it may be featured on our blog!  Be sure your name, writing prompt, and email are attached to the piece so we can contact you for further information.

Thursday Thought

On this one, the image will feature a literary quote meant to get you thinking critically and allows you to think about writing and literature and how the two are related.  These quotes are meant to be thought provoking while also introducing you to different literary works.

Free Write Friday

We’ll post a general or thematic writing prompt.  All you have to do is write! The goal of Free Writing is to allow your pen to flow freely from one thought to another as you write on the page.  These pieces are generally creative, but take your own spin on these ones.  Write something really good? Send it to us in a message at www.facebook.com/wkuwritingcenter and it may be featured on our blog! Be sure your name, writing prompt, and email are attached to the piece so we can contact you for further information.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so you can receive each daily update and take a chance on writing! Writing every day improves your writing skills; it’s like any craft…you have to practice to get better.  So what are you waiting for? Let’s write!

The WKU Writing Center

Welcome back, WKU!

Welcome back, students and faculty alike! The WKU Writing Center is revamping our blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow us, like us, visit us!!
There’s lots of new stuff coming up from us (Monday Motivation, Typewriter Tuesday, Write Something Wednesday, Thursday Thought, and Free Write Friday…more info coming on these). Don’t be left out!!! Check out our pages and write along with us!

As always, the WKU Writing Center is located in Cherry Hall 123. We’re open Monday thru Thursday from 9-4 and Friday from 9-3. Need help with that essay? Want to work on that paper? Come by and see us. Our tutors are always looking to help!

Happy August,

The WKU Writing Center