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Learning through Teaching at the Writing Centre: Student Tutor Robin Melick

Robin has long been interested in writing and teaching. Becoming a Writing Tutor last year, then, seemed like a perfect fit for him.

Robin, a fourth-year Music History student, began his position with excitement and with the goal of diversifying his skillset. “I was motivated to take on a job that would be challenging but also rewarding.” He wanted to be part of a “fun environment, surrounded by like-minded people that made an impact on other writers.”

Like other tutors, Robin was anxious about tutoring outside of his own discipline of Music. He wasn’t certain he could relate to a Biology student, for example. But what he soon learned that he was able to teach students how to “synthesize complex ideas in a way that is approachable and accessible.” For Robin, this “has been difficult, but the most rewarding” part of being a Writing Tutor.

He also recognized the value in teaching. “You often learn when you’re teaching. It’s an optimal way to increase your ability in something.”

As his year at the Writing Centre progressed, Robin noticed himself “growing a lot in terms of my writing and my ability to deconstruct complex information to make it presentable to others.” He valued meeting with his peers and the Writing Consultants. “It’s refreshing to have someone outside of your discipline look at your writing,” he said. For high-stakes writing tasks such as scholarship applications, the feedback he received helped him to write in a way that “would help me shine.”

Robin believes that “writing is always a work in progress. There are always new perspectives that can be gained from sharing your work with others.” Robin was challenged with writing outside his usual academic genres when applying for jobs and completing scholarship applications. During the Writing Centre’s weekly professional development sessions, Robin focused on developing his skills as a writer and becoming aware of how he could market these skills.

What does the future hold for Robin? This fall, Robin will be going to Germany for a year to study business and the German language. He hopes to apply his strong writing skills in the non-profit world perhaps in the field of development or marketing.

“Writing allows you to connect with people. It’s definitely something that I’ll continue in my life.”