UW Passport 2 – Academic Success

Three weeks ago, I was struggling for the first research overview in my life. It was a very difficult and tiring process to write an eight-page long research paper, especially for me, a freshman and a non-native English speaker. I spent most nights before the due date working on the first draft. After I have received the feedback from my writing fellow Emma (we have two writing fellows for the class), I was anxious about writing the final draft, because according to her comments, some of the paragraphs were not entirely related to the topic and some were not in the right place. With a nervous mind, I went to the Open Book Cafe in the college library and met with her. When I walked in, she was just finishing off the last meeting. I saw her once before in the library when she introduced herself to the entire class, but this time she looked much more approachable in a much closer distance with a smile on her face.

I thought this meeting would be a fairly formal one, but as it turned out, it was not the case at all. Instead of playing a role of a teacher, Emma was more like a friend helping me sort through my thoughts and find the best way to express them. We talked about the topic and structures of my paper, and she expanded on her comments. With her explanation, the seemingly overwhelming comments were not so scary any more. Together we figured out where my problems and shortcomings were and what I could do to improve my writing. She also mentioned that the resources provided by the writing center might be helpful to my paper. I went through every link she sent me and actually used some of the techniques and skills to build my final draft.

This meeting was both meaningful and educational. I walked in anxiously, with no idea how to make my paper better. Yet I walked out confidently, having so many details planned out that I could not wait to start working on it. UW Madison provides hundreds of good services and resources and the writing center is definitely one of the best and the most useful asset. After this meeting, I would never again hesitate to reach out for help because this experience serves as a perfect example.

I forgot to take a selfie on the meeting day so I asked Emma to send me a picture of her. Here’s my awesome writing fellow!


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