When Your Puzzle Is Missing Pieces

By Jessica Gach

I cannot start thinking about my 16-week journey in ENG 260 and the Writing Center sixteen weeks ago. That is not enough. I need to start when my journey really started and no, I am not talking about the fall of 1988, when I started kindergarten. This journey started on January 19, 2021.

When I started my Legal Research and Writing course, I had no idea what I was getting into. At this point I had only written a handful of papers since graduating high school 20 years prior, and this was LEGAL writing which I had no experience in or even any idea what it was. Throughout the semester, I learned how different legal writing was versus English 121 writing and I loved it. It was research based; it wasn’t based on creativity or even my own opinion. It was based on fact, on historical cases and current cases, and current events. I felt like I found a part of myself (a puzzle piece if you will) in this class that I didn’t know was missing.

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Saying Farewell to Kim Voss, “Writing Center Junkie”

By Dr. Jenny Staben, Faculty Coordinator, CLC Writing Center

I procrastinated writing this for as long as I could because putting these words on paper makes it real.  After 21 years, Kim Voss will be leaving CLC and the writing center, and it’s hard for me to imagine.  The fabric of my own 21-year history with CLC and the CLC Writing Center has always had Kim woven into it. 

Kim and I at Kim’s CLC graduation (2003)
Continue reading “Saying Farewell to Kim Voss, “Writing Center Junkie””

MWCA 2020 Revisited or the Moment Before the World Changed

By:  Dr. Jenny Staben, Faculty Coordinator, CLC Writing Center

On March 11, 2020, two SUVs with nine CLC peer writing tutors and me left from the parking lot of CLC’s Grayslake Campus to head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the 2020 Midwest Writing Centers Association (MWCA) conference.  One professional CLC tutor planned to drive down the next day.

I wasn’t just involved as a participant with my staff. As the MWCA Board Vice Chair, I had been part of the planning committee for the last year and a half.  Also, Jess Cole, a longtime peer tutor in our writing center, had designed the conference logo, which was featured on both the conference website and the program.

Before we even left Illinois, the specter of Covid had been taking its toll on the conference.  At the beginning of the week, the MWCA Board had discussed cancelling the event due to Covid concerns, but logistical issues prevented us from doing so. Over the next few days, a number of participants as well as several MWCA board members had to pull out, many because their universities had issued a ban on any off-campus travel earlier in the week.  Three CLC tutors who had planned to come changed their mind and stayed home for health reasons.

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Why Be A Writing Tutor? – Part 2


What made you decide to apply to be a writing tutor?  I was recommended by a teacher. I didn’t know that students could tutor! I thought it would be a rewarding challenge.

How have your ideas about the writing center and tutoring changed from your first day until now? I thought it was basically an in-person “spell and grammar” check. Now I love promoting the actual work done, from generating ideas to appropriate source searches to showing that writing doesn’t have to be tedious!

What are some important things you have learned from your experiences as a writing tutor?  My way isn’t the right way, it’s just ONE way. Also, no matter your role, qualifications, or experience, there is always something to learn. Continue reading “Why Be A Writing Tutor? – Part 2”

Why Be a Writing Tutor?


Courtney Petsche – Peer Writing Tutor

What made you decide to apply to be a writing tutor?  I decided to be a writing tutor because I wanted to help others and learn.

How have your ideas about the writing center and tutoring changed from your first day until now?  My ideas have changed a lot. I originally thought that I would read the paper by myself and make marks on the paper of my thoughts of what needed to be done and then we would talk about it. I learned that it’s interactive, much like some classroom settings. I learned that we guide the students rather than lead the students through any part of the writing process and that’s changed the way that I write.

What are some important things you have learned from your experiences as a writing tutor?  I learned how to better communicate with others quickly and effectively. I learned how to accommodate to others’ needs so that I can work with all students. Continue reading “Why Be a Writing Tutor?”

Mental Health Awareness in the Writing Center

by Sarah Emmerson

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people”

 -Virginia Woolf

When I started my first semester at CLC, I was both excited and terrified of what it would be like. Before attending CLC, I visited the college to take a tour and see if it was the best fit.  I fell in love with the college the moment I stepped in it; it was like eating a food you’re skeptical about but then it ends up being your favorite.  However, seeing it and living it were two different experiences.

When I started classes, everything changed because it was harder than I expected with the work load and taking classes that weren’t right for me. I jumped in too quickly with difficult classes such as marketing and a higher-level math. Plus, my struggle with depression and anxiety that had started in middle school followed me into my college education, and I ended up dropping out after my first semester.

A year and a half later I returned, and I had a new perspective on what I wanted as far as goals for college. One of them was getting help on what I struggled with the most, which was geometry. I didn’t know much about the tutoring center until I visited the math center for my geometry class. Continue reading “Mental Health Awareness in the Writing Center”