To Not Let Go of the Past by Charlie Victor

One should never lose their sense of culture and where they came from.  If someone decides to stay in an area that is completely intertwined with the culture that they are comfortable with, then there shouldn’t be a problem with keeping that culture.  However, by stepping outside your small, comfortable world, other influences come into play, shaping and shifting opinions and experiences.  Perhaps the greatest first unexplored area of experience that many people go through is college.  Here ideas and beliefs are challenged, as well as something that many people are not used to; their writing.  Writing for college classes are something most students are not used to and from my experiences as a student and tutor, a tad scared about.  Some refuse to change their ways while others change their work completely.  While some only want the good grade, one should not sell out with their writing in order to obtain a good grade.  A good paper has the guidelines of what college classes recommend but the personal touch, represented by your own thoughts, feelings, and where you grew up makes a paper that much better.  Anis Bawarshi and Stephanie Pelkowski agree with this and feel that how you are represented in your writing should not be lost when in a new writing environment in their essay “Post colonialism and the Idea of a Writing Center.”  A good tutor and writing program should help students follow the university’s writing guidelines without having them lose themselves in their writing.

“A primary goal of the postcolonial writing center, then, is to teach students how to retrace the formal and textual effects of academic discourses to their rhetorical and social sources” (Bawarshi 92).  By accepting college writing techniques and university policies, one can easily lose a sense of home and culture.  For many, the grade is what counts. However, tutors do not want to see that happen.  We want the process of helping students to run smoothly and fun.  Having a student become “cleansed” of bad writing, or the writing they are used to, and providing them with “the light” is not what tutoring is.  The university’s guidelines should go alongside the comfortable writing that one is used to in a manner that can fuse the two.  Tutors then should listen to their kids and see how they feel about the changed writing.  What is their point of view?  How do they feel about their style incorporated with how their professors want them to write papers?  “The goal of the writing center should be to teach its students how ‘to reposition themselves in relation to several continuous and conflicting discourses'”(Pelkowski 91).  Crossing boundaries leads to good writing.  By having students keep their culture and traditions in their papers, students can redefine themselves as original, yet culturally intact writers.

Success in writing is specific to the student, not a general code.  Anyone can follow guidelines given to them and write a paper that passes.  However, to have someone say “that is without a doubt (insert name)’s paper” because of the strong writing, as well as the strong support through one’s culture and influences is a much better read and showcase of talent.  “A primary goal of the postcolonial writing center, then, is to to teach students how to retrace the formal and textual effects of academic discourses to their rhetorical and social sources, allowing them to look prior to and outside of these discourses in order to explore what it means to write” (Pelkowski 92).  When tutors at a writing center can get students to write well-written papers, they have done their job.  However, to have students write papers that are true to the authors themselves, not only have they done their job, but they “kept it real.”

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