Arts & Sciences senior Amy Ferrone (right) helps Nikki Allen, an Arts & Sciences freshman, with a paper at the Writing Center. Ferrone is a peer tutor. Photo by Jason Bash.
That's it. You're done. It's 25 pages of toil and tears. It's pain, suffering, literature reviews and hours upon hours spent analyzing. It's 6,500 words, your words, perfect, polished, paradisiacal words - your words, without a comma or semicolon displaced.
And you're pretty darn proud.
So your masterpiece is ready to go, or so you think; but of course you want to be sure.
How can you be sure? You take it to the pros at the Writing Center.
You enter the center wishing to make an appointment.
Your paper is due two days from now.
The Writing Center staff is packed with students like yourself. Students ranging from the freshman who apprehensively asks for help on his initial draft, to the veteran third-year Law School student wanting a brief looked over.
Despite the Writing Center helping approximately 15 students daily, the next open time slot is at 4 pm on Nov. 26 - well over two weeks away.
This won't do.
So you add your name to today's waiting list.
You are now the 17th person the Writing Center will call if someone decides to cancel today.
Every single day between now and Nov. 26 has a waiting list as well.
Obviously, the Writing Center is a popular place for students to perfect their papers, and it has been since its inauguration five years ago.
The Writing Center came into existence because most teachers, if not all, require writing - but not all are trained in teaching it, said Dr. Rob Dornsife, head of the Writing Center.
The Writing Center is comprised of seven people who review students' papers at no charge. The staff includes two undergraduates, one graduate, and three part-time faculty who have master's degrees, as well as Dr. Dornsife.
The staff reviews students' papers for grammar, structure and making sure the paper's main ideas flow well throughout the paper.
"They don't just read the paper. They make sure your paper is accomplishing the goal that you want it to", said Leigh Kahler, a Business senior.
Although the writing level of students varies immensely, "we never see a paper that's too rough, and we never see a paper that's finished," said Dornsife.
Jeff Boyle, an Arts & Sciences sophomore, is a regular frequenter of the Writing Center.
"Not only does it force you to work on your paper, you also get expert advice. It's become so crowded it's hard to get a spot anymore," Boyle said.
The staff also reaps numerous benefits from working at the Writing Center.
"It's been a very positive experience. Not only do I get a lot of satisfaction (from working at the Writing Center), but it helps me in my own writing," said Mike Knievel, a second year English graduate student, as well as first year tutor at the Writing Center.
Writing is not a knowledge you master, said Knievel; "I learn a lot and hopefully they (the students) do too."
The level of writing varies widely, but all the writers who come to the Writing Center are good writers, said Amy Ferrone, Arts & Sciences senior.
Good writers are those who really fix a problem. It reinforces that we are helpful," Ferrone said.
Ferrone pointed out that a lot of people are nervous about coming in, but these fears are unnecessary.
"We're kind of just here to be buddies." The Writing Center is a really relaxed environment, Ferrone said.
Dornsife has worked in three other schools' writing centers. He said Creighton's writing center is undoubtedly the best writing program he has taken part in.
It is the best staffed, the most consistent and certainly the one with the longest waiting lists, Dornsife said.
"Creighton is a demanding university in terms of its writing requirements, and because we're a good university, we want our students to have a certain level of writing ability. And the Writing Center really works to help that. I think that Creighton expects its students to write better than the average university student because Creighton is not an average university. It's a strong university that expects strong writing skills," Dornsife said.
There are no current plans to expand the actual Writing Center, but Dornsife said he foresees expanding it via the use of e-mail. The details of this plan are still being worked out.