Today marked my last official day in the writing center. As per tradition, senior superlatives were held during a little writing center ceremony to honor all the senior tutors, like myself, who are going to be graduating in another week. After gifting my freshman year RA a bag filled with chips and frozen white castle burgers from the convenience store, I was determined to step my game up. The way the writing center superlatives work is each senior tutor is assigned another senior by picking names out of a basket. Over the course of the month tutors submit superlative award suggestions for all the seniors by placing slips of paper into a metal box. Then at the end of the year the seniors receive a list of superlatives for their assigned tutor, and assemble an award/gift to present to them. If it isn’t clear so far, the senior tutors don’t know what their superlatives are or who is going to present them with their award.
My tutor Katherine had the following superlatives:
- Most likely to make us laugh
- Best Oreo harvester
I honestly didn’t start assembling my gift until yesterday since it’s the middle of finals week and I’ve been half losing my mind so far. I went down to the convenience store (no I didn’t buy frozen burgers and chips) to get a plush monkey toy along with a bag of Oreos he can hold. My tutor, Katherine, is a member of the college’s improv comedy group and I wanted to give her a gift that would represent her ability to cheer people up through laughter. I slipped in a card that had a rather lengthy note, but it basically stated: “Katherine, please accept this monkey (that may or may not bite) as a reminder to keep making people laugh beyond your college days. The monkey insisted on grabbing a pack of Oreos on the way out due to your Oreo harvesting abilities.” It was quite a nice feeling to watch her face light up as I presented her with the gift. Nothing like making someone else smile to get a good start to your day. No literally a start to my day; I got up out of bed, put on a nice shirt and kept my pajama shorts on as I headed on over to the writing center.
Obviously I was quite excited to see what superlatives the other tutors had awarded me. The award ceremony went in a chain with someone volunteering to start, giving their tutor the award, and then the tutor receiving the award presenting the next award. Midway through the ceremony, Alissa received her award and then turned towards me. “Adi you have been nominated for most likely to (be)”:
- Quiet but wise
- Secretly the smartest person in the room
- Secretly a ninja
- Survive if sent back in time
This really brought a grand smile to my face because I didn’t expect some of the other tutors to be able to describe me so well since sometimes I can be quite a reserved person. Apparently a reserved person can be described as reserved, duh! Alissa presented me with a really awesome gift in honor of my ninja abilities.
You can’t really tell from this picture, but there is a black jacket covering the black mug, which represents a masked face with a slit for the two eyes. The stirring spoon has a samurai sword handle, how awesome is that. My favorite part though is the shuriken coaster. If you’re gonna be a ninja, you need to be armed even while you’re sipping your morning tea. Or morning milk because I really don’t drink coffee or tea on a regular basis.
The award madness wasn’t over because after the senior superlatives, folks from the Army War College presented us with awards as well. Our writing center has a partnered program with the War College where we tutor papers written by International Fellows who attend the War College through a prestigious training program. International Fellows are basically high ranking military officials from all over the world that are sponsored by the American government to get additional training at the War College here in the US. They’re really brilliant individuals, but for some of them English is a second language and the tutors at the writing center help them organize their thoughts cohesively, in written form. In the past, only tutors who volunteered tutored International Fellows because it was deemed a rather challenging task (that policy was eventually changed as the volume of International Fellows increased) . Ever since my first appointment I volunteered to tutor International Fellows, and my first training session as a tutor was with an International Fellow. It was a really special moment for me when the generous folks from the Army War College took the time to create a personalized award for me. Not only that, they went through the trouble of getting it signed by the US Ambassador to Brunei who is now serving as an advisor. They really went above and beyond there because think about this as a resumé item: “received award signed by Diplomatic Advisor to the Commandant”.
This really doesn’t bother me that much since it’s a really easy fix, but the award reads “Ms. Aditya has been an incredible asset to the U.S. Army War College.” It’s unfortunately a common mistake since I have a foreign masculine name that ends with an “a”, which usually indicates a female name. However, when you have to present awards to 40 tutors and get them signed by the “Diplomatic Advisor to the Commandant”, I can so easily forgive such a simple mistake. I’d be lying to you if I said this hasn’t happened to me before (my doctor’s office repeatedly asked my mom “is your daughter due for her annual checkup?” and I went to that office for 14 years). Fortunately I’m not short sighted or easily offended, so I place much greater value on the fact that today commanding officers at the Army War College demonstrated to us that our work actually helped the International Fellows receive their Master’s degrees. It was pretty cool to see that we played a part in US diplomatic relations as well as the training of high ranking military officials from all over the world. It’s quite a unique experience that I’m incredibly thankful to have been a part of.
Today was also sad in some respects because I don’t want my time at the writing center to end. Coming out of high school, my writing was never recognized until I reached college. Even then, I didn’t gain any confidence in my writing abilities until I was accepted into the writing center program, halfway through freshman year. Having the opportunity to teach others about the basic principles of writing was rewarding in the sense that I learned so much by reading a high volume of papers and I had the opportunity to transform people who hated writing into people who enjoyed sharing their opinions through written word. I honestly have the writing center to thank for being able to write this blog because looking back on my writing from two years ago…no one would really want to read that. Being a part of the writing center improved my writing to the point that I can take pride in some of my written works without constantly being self critical. I’ll really miss being a part of the writing center, but this sure was a good way to go out.
Now that I’m not officially a writing tutor anymore, I guess it is an even higher priority of mine to share my thoughts on good writing practices through my blog. With that being said, I also offer free editing services if any of you are in need of a second opinion on some of your writing pieces. A writing tutor doesn’t stop tutoring simply because it’s not their job anymore. I’m happy to say I can take these skills with me for the rest of my life.