Sometimes, Social Science Grad Students Just Need a Place to Work. . . . a Place with Coffee, Chocolate, and Help

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-By Glenn Koelling

Let’s say you’re a grad student in the social sciences.  Oh you are? How convenient! It’s the end  of winter term and your project is coming up.  Yeah, that one.  The one you just have to sit down and do.  Technically, you can work almost any place, but the question is what’s your productivity like?

Re/Write Studio is an experimental outreach program (hosted by the Research Center and the Writing Center) targeting graduate students in the social sciences. Three times throughout winter term, we’re providing a workspace for students to come, work on projects, and get research and writing help if they want it. The sessions last 3 hours, but participants can come whenever and for however long they want. Our final writing session will be March 3 from 2-5 in AAC 340 (the Loft).  People can register here for the last session, but drop-ins are welcome too.  We have consultants from the writing center *and* librarians who specialize in social science research available to help with quick questions or concerns. Don’t feel like you need writing help? There’s also snacks and coffee to help power you along during the writing/research process.

Why Write with Others?

For me, I get more excited about a concert if other people are excited. I actually care about football if I’m at a viewing party. With papers, if people around me are focused on their work, I focus better on mine. Groups influence us—especially when members have similar goals. But more than that, there’s a sense of camaraderie that can happen in groups. We’re all in this together, even if we’re working on different projects.

The best part about Re/Write Studio is that if you hit a block, there are people available who can help you move past it. Writing Center consultants are available to help participants with writing problems or even brainstorm ways to continue.  Librarians can help navigate the research world or help participants find new resources.

This group is designed to help students as they need it, so it’s looked different both times we’ve held it. The first time involved a lot of conversation about writing and research. The second time was mostly quiet with people hunkered down working. It’s hard to say exactly what the third time will look like, but so far, everyone has left further along in their work than when they came in. We’ve had questions ranging from organizing literature reviews to figuring out a tricky citation format. We’ve also had some productive research sessions where participants discovered ways to go further with their own work. And there’s been a lot of writing.

When the last Re/Write Studio happens, we’ll be looking for ways to continue to offer collaborative events like this. Please let either the Research Center or the Writing Center know if you’re interested in seeing more programs like this.  Hope to see you and your work March 3rd!

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