USF Writing Studio

Archive for October, 2014


Staying Healthy in the Studio

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Right now, and right at this same time (mid-semester) last Spring, I developed a wicked bad cold. I blamed my children at the time, but really I think students, circulating and teaching, typically get hit when the stress of mid-terms crops up.

What I am realizing now, more than ever, is how important personal health and well-being is to the work we do, day in and day out. I think this really got hammered home when I was pulling a seven hour shift in the Studio last March and had, by 4PM, lost my voice during a particularly bad cold. It decided not to return for a week.

Here’s some pointers, from my experience, to maintain your well-being as you continue to consult (and some writers come in and sneeze on you).
  • First, we have some sanitizer floating around. I have no idea who brought it in, but it was an excellent idea. We’ll work to try and have that more widely available, especially as flu season descends on us.
  • Second, if you’d like a flu vaccine, the College of Public Health is offering them for free on October 24th. You can also head over to Student Health Services, or any local pharmacy, and get one for relatively cheap. The perk of staying on campus is that the shots are free for students.
  • If you are ill, please take care of yourself. If that means staying home and missing a shift, please call the front desk staff ASAP (801.974.8293) and let them know, so they can cancel your appointments. Your writers, fellow consultants, and the coordinators will understand. Trust us. Let the coordinators know about your situation, too. 
These are suggestions about how to protect your physical health. I want to take a brief moment suggest some pointers to maintain your mental health in the Studio, too.

Consultants work with students of all levels, on all sorts of projects, and on any number of diverse and equally challenging consultations each day, and over the course of the week. During my time consulting, I still have to regularly remind myself of a few things, so as not to get frustrated with what seems like constant investment, with (seemingly) little return:
  • Give what is given. Sometimes, writers don’t necessarily want to be in the Writing Studio. Or they are in between classes, or have other pressing obligations. Invest as much as the student invests. This helps to ensure you (and/or the writer) don’t leave frustrated with the other party.
  • Remember that your obligation to writers does not extend beyond the door of the Studio. Sometimes this is hard to remember, especially if you have a regular who comes to see you. We are but one support mechanism in the writers’ process.
  • Get to know the consultants you share shifts with. Having the opportunity to chat with people who are doing similar work as you may help ease the tension between shifts. Know that you can ask for support, ideas, and tips from your fellow consultants! 
Please, take care of yourself! Let the coordinators know if you need anything, and let us know if you have suggestions or recommendations to ensure our space stays healthy- mentally AND physically!

By Johanna Phelps-Hillen, PhD in Rhetoric and Composition
(813) 974-2729

4202 E. Fowler Ave. LIB122 Tampa FL 33620

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