Tutor profile: Natalie W.
What does it mean to be a "good writer"? How can I become one?
The most exciting (but also most challenging) thing about writing is that it's subjective! What's good to one person might not be good to another. While there are certain components to writing that can make it more digestible (using proper grammar, for example), trying to define what makes a "good writer" is hard! Because of that, the goal of a writing tutor is to make writing feel easier. We want you to be proud of what you're working on. This might mean creating a writing plan for you, with a structured outline and resources, and blocking out several hours to completely focus on writing. Or this is might mean having multiple rounds of editing, or maybe spending a long time talking out what you want to write about and how you want to say it before you actually start writing. It's not so much about making you a "good" writer; it's about making it so the writing feels good to you!
How would you help a student with sociological theory when they struggle with understanding broad, sweeping concepts?
The first thing I like to do with sociology (and the way I've always made it make sense to me) is applying it to real life. Anytime I learn something new, I give myself time to say "I've seen this theory in practice in X situation." Whether the situation is applied to real-life or a video game or a favorite TV show doesn't matter! What matters is that you remember it and can find a way to make it make sense to you. After that, I like to use flashcards and guiding questions. Theory is something that needs to be engaged with, so it's all about finding the best method of engagement for an individual person (whether that's flashcards, discussion, mock quizzes, essays, etc.).
Subject: Gender Studies
Gender studies can feel so obvious. Why do we need to formally study it? Why do I need to write papers on what I see?
The benefit of research is that it gives us the opportunity to confirm and/or learn more about the trends we might already see. One of the most exciting things about research is that it's like solving a mystery! We can ask ourselves "most of my teachers growing up were women--what does that mean? Is that a universal trend?" and either find existing data on it, or create studies to answer that question for us. We do this because, while lived experiences are valuable, having data from controlled studies can provide a clearer, less biased picture. We run studies to either confirm the trends we're already seeing, or to challenge what we think we already know.
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