Stressed? Come to the Long Night Against Procrastination!

If you are feeling stressed about everything that has to get done before spring break (like our friend to the right), never 1782019_404368383033279_1357785604_nfear! On Thursday, March 6 from 3pm to 1am, the CWLT is hosting the annual Long Night of Procrastination! Come to the CWLT’s event for the productive atmosphere, German pastries from Hess Bakery, and the fun study breaks.  At the end of each hour, one of the peer tutors or writing advisors will lead a short activity such as learning to juggle, coloring, meditation, flashlight tag, and more.


If you’re on Facebook, check out the event we’ve made! Also, while you’re there anyway, like our page as well.

Long Night Against Procrastination (Lange Nachtder aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten) originated in a German university writing center in 2010 and has since spread across Germany and even to the U.S. It’s meant to an enjoyable night of working hard and having fun at the same time.

Working with translations

by Hannah Fattor, writing advisor

I can’t speak any other language besides English very well.  I’ve tried with Spanish, Gaelic, Greek, and Latin (to name a few) but I just don’t have the mind for memorization, unfortunately.  I’ll never hold a conversation in French, but I do like to learn about different cultures, and one way I do this is by reading novels, poems, traditional stories, or plays that have been translated.  I’ve written quite a few papers on translated plays, and I find that there are some very important ways to think about translated texts that help me gain a deeper understanding of a foreign society and its culture.

  • Find an edition with footnotes, endnotes, any kind of notes.  Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita makes ten times more sense when you can check in the back and find out why someone’s name is funny, or what in the author’s life prompted him to write about foreign currency so much.  Aristophanes’ plays are ten times more hilarious when you know why jokes were so dirty in the original Greek.  Foreign works may allude to events that are unfamiliar to an outside audience, and learning about those events through literature often reveals why they were important to a culture.  Finding a good translation that includes the translator’s notes is incredibly helpful in understanding comedy in particular and linguistic nuance in general.
  • Learn about the culture!  Take the time to explore how a culture understands the themes that a novel or poem or play discusses.  Learn a bit about writing styles and conventions.  There are linguistic guides out there that discuss sentence structures and influences.  If you’re reading a landmark work in a society’s literary history, find out what influences it had and watch out for those!  The Persian epic, the Shahnameh, was incredibly influential to the literature of the Middle East, and it still defines a great deal of Iranian cultural identity.  It is celebrated today in Iran, parts of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and other Persian-influenced regions.  It could be helpful to find a list of major themes that still appear in modern writings from that society, or how modern audiences relate to the ancient text.
  • Look at the critical response.  Clearly, the work was popular enough to translate, but what did critics within its home culture think of it?  Why do you think it was translated?  An interesting option, if the work is fairly old, is to look up what scholars think of various translations, and why one is considered particularly good over another one.  Translations can be tailored to serve a particular purpose, too; either they stick closely to the actual language they were written in, or they may incorporate more familiar sentence structures and language more idiomatic and connotative to the language they were translated into.  If you don’t understand an idiom or think that word choice is strange, try looking up translation notes or go looking for a glossary.
  • (For poems, epics, and plays) Research how it was originally presented.  Format is often incredibly important in poetry.  Learning about the style in which a poem was written can lead to a deeper understanding of how the poem was intended to convey its message.  Why would someone pick the haiku form over the tanka form in Japanese poetry?  In some poetry, syllabic conventions were very important to the cadence.  Ancient Greek epic poetry (like Homer’s The Odyssey) and Old English works (like Beowulf) relied on particular rhythms.  These same rhythms were important to Ancient Greek plays, and French dramas had strict rhyming patterns.  On a completely different level, look up the style in which a play would have been performed.  Japanese Noh theatre has a specific performance style that would be unusual for a Western audience to see, but it would be completely recognizable to a native audience.  Look into what in particular would be expected.  This can also show you where modern plays deviate from established norms.  There have been various movements in British theatre—a movement away from stylization to more natural acting styles, for example—but the same holds true around the world.  Indian dramas have changed through the centuries, still relying on some traditional elements but also utilizing new techniques.  Think about spectacle when it comes to plays, and remember that there may be new conventions to discover about another culture.

Working with translations is hard work, particularly if, like me, you don’t speak other languages.  Even so, it’s a great way to learn about a new culture, see a new perspective on the world, and understand how our own art could appear to an outside audience.

Ben’s visit to the state capitol

by Ben LaBouve, French tutor

Along with being one the French tutors in the center, I have also been lucky enough to hold a work study position off-campus at the Tacoma Community House.  Instead of tutoring French, I am a literacy advocate, helping native English speakers improve their reading and writing skills. I also get to help out in the ESL (English as a Second Language) courses. The best part about working with our ESL clients is that in a single classroom, many cultures and languages are present. The students become friends and overcome the language barrier by using English, the language they are learning. Many of the students are immigrants who have come to Tacoma seeking to better their lives and the lives of their families and some are refugees who are escaping systematic violence, oppression and political unrest. As a social service agency, not only do we offer English courses, we also provide naturalization and employment services to help ease the transition into American life and help them move towards economic independence. Being able to put a face to such a hot-button issue as immigration and hearing the deeply personal stories behind them is enriching to me both personally and socially – it inspires me to take that extra step and to try to enact positive changes for them.


Ben (on the left) at the state capitol!

On behalf of Tacoma Community House, I had the opportunity to participate in Washington State’s Immigrant and Refugee Legislative Day that took place on February 11th.  We took a group of about 50 of our ESL/Immigration clients and headed down to visit the capitol, however this was not your average field trip! My role in the event was to tour a group of students around and to meet with different senators and representatives to advocate for improving services that affect them and other immigrants in the state. The day focused on how productive and vital immigrants are to the community and to nation. Many refugees that have come to the US have supported US forces abroad, providing translation and support to Special Forces operations. Once they have come to the United States, they find it difficult to be self-sufficient on programs already in place, mainly because their basic needs are not being met.It is important to provide access to education services so that they are able to succeed; immigrants have one of the lowest graduation rates because of the lack of funding to ESL services – about 25.8% of students drop-out. A total of 9% of Washington’s student were enrolled in said programs, but only 1.2% of the state funds are allowed towards multilingual services. Another prominent issue is naturalization. Last year, our state cut funding to naturalization program resources by 47%, making it increasingly more difficult (and expensive) for these immigrants to become citizens. The US is foundationally a nation of immigrants, and often we don’t make it as readily accessible to them.

But I digress. In my group I had an older couple from Ukraine, Olga and Mykhailo, and a woman from Mexico, Jessie, who has been living in the US for more than 25 years. Each of them had a unique story which they disclosed to members of the senate. In our first meeting with a Pierce County representative, Olga explained that they had fled from Kiev, Ukraine because of increasing violence and political instability. She also expressed that her family had become divided; only one of her two children, her son, was able to come to the US with them and her daughter was left in Kiev. I asked how often they were able to get into contact with her, and she told me that often, they would go months, even years without hearing from her, with fear that she had been taken or injured by rebel forces or worse. Despite this, Olga remains optimistic. She knows she is doing everything she can to bring her daughter to the US and has faith in the work we are doing within our agency. Jessie explained to the senator that despite her extended stay in the US, she has still not been able to find a consistent job and depends on funding from the state in order to survive. She recalled her experience of crossing the border from Mexico and entering into Oregon, as an “obscuridad sin fin,” or a darkness with no end. The violence she endured on her odyssey, according to her, was more bearable than being in country that every day turns a blind eye to her needs. She reflected that meeting with the congresistas was a really important experience to her, “being able to put a face to a problem, to recognize that we are real people affected by decisions they make.”

After our meetings we gathered on the steps of the capitol for a rally. A good number of agencies and organizations that provide resources to immigrants in Pierce and King County were present. We grabbed our rally signs and cheered for the speech being made, many by immigrants themselves who work as policymakers for the state, who emphasized their needs and animated their hopes.

The speech that impacted me the most was made by an Iranian man who said” We are all gathered here today for the same reason. We have so many different languages, united by a single voice.” As a French tutor who just happens to be a Spanish major, language is important to me. No matter if you are using a Latin based language, an oral based language from sub-Saharan Africa or Mandarin characters, we have many different ways of expressing the same thing: we are all human beings who are equal and worthy. What my experience at the capitol taught me is that we have a responsibility to be good neighbors. No matter what language you speak, where you come, or what your culture is, the moment we stop learning from each other is the moment that we lose the war on equality.


How to pass a class

Sometimes the thought of studying for a test can be really daunting, and it’s difficult to know how to start. Don’t fear, though, because Aspen Mayberry, exercise science tutor, has some study tips for success!  This list is geared toward science students, but the tips can definitely be applied to other disciplines as well. Capture


“Uncle Albert made it impossible not to hate Thanksgiving.” & other creative first sentences

Have you ever wanted to write a story, for a class or for fun, but didn’t know how to begin? We’re here to help! Anna Elliott, a writing advisor double majoring in English and History, shares some intriguing first sentences to unwritten novels, short stories, plays, and more. Enjoy!

  • When Albert awoke, the regret of last night instantly slapped him across the face.
  • There were eggs everywhere, most of them broken, with puddles of yolk surrounding them, but some were still whole.
  • Tina looked at her sister and fought hard not to pour the bowl of chili on her head.
  • Knowing he would die in a little less than three days now, Steven woke up and started his day as usual.
  • There was something strange about the trees in Sumner, Mississippi.
  • “Jennie, I’m gonna count to three, and if you’re not down here, there’s gonna be hell to pay.”
  • Peeling the dried Elmer’s glue of his fingers after art class was James’ favorite part of kindergarten.
  • Nobody knew where I hid it, and I wasn’t gonna tell either.
  • Uncle Albert made it impossible not to hate Thanksgiving.
  • The more I think about it, I really do think I was made to be alone.


Audrey’s conference experience!

by Audrey Kvam, CWLT physics tutor

Audrey and her poster!

I spent this past summer doing a theoretical research project (“Analyzing the
Propagation of Light through Composite Dark Matter”) with one of my professors in the
physics department, David Latimer. (It was fantastic, I highly recommend doing summer research here at UPS!) By mid-August, I was wrapping up my research, making my
poster, writing up my results, and David sent me a link to something called the Conference Experience for Undergraduates (CEU). This conference is held in conjunction with the American Physical Societyʼs fall meeting of the Division of Nuclear Physics, and is an opportunity for undergraduate researchers to get experience
presenting their research to the physics community, learn about the research currently
happening in the field of nuclear physics, and network to get connections for future
research/grad school. On somewhat of a whim, I sent in an application and received
funding both from the conference itself and UPS to attend with my research poster.

School took over and I barely had time to think about the conference until last
week, when I suddenly realized I was about to fly across the country (the conference
was held in Virginia this year), alone, to talk about my research with people who would
not only understand everything I did over the summer, but could also ask all kinds of
complicated questions that would go way over my head. I spent the next few days trying
valiantly not to panic.

It turns out all my angst was for nothing; small talk is not my forte, but luckily
physicists are not known for their social prowess and no one was thrown off by a little
awkwardness. By the second day, Iʼd made friends with a few other undergrads and
together we explored the area and went to endless talks given by current researchers at
universities and labs across the world. At the poster session, I fielded questions from
various graduate students and fully-qualified physicists and rather impressed myself
with how much I did know (although I had to admit to ignorance several times). There
was an ice cream social and a graduate school fair, where I talked to representatives
from schools such as Rutger, Duke, and MIT about what their programs are like, which
fields Iʼm most interested in, and what they look for in a strong application to grad


A group photo of all of the undergraduate researchers at the conference

Overall, the conference was incredibly inspiring. Hearing talks about current research made me realize how much I have yet to learn (I need to take a quantum
mechanics class STAT) and how much I really want to learn it. It was also apparent how
much the physics community really cares about the next generation of physicists-to-be by the ready willingness to give advice and recommend research and/or grad school opportunities. In just a few days, I made friends that I can see myself staying in touch with for years to come. For anyone who has the opportunity to attend a conference — for any field, not just physics — do it!!



Spotlight on: Chemistry!

by Danique Gigger, CWLT chem tutor

Hi! I’m Danique and I’m one of the Chemistry tutors. Chemistry can seem like a daunting subject to many students, but it can really be a LOT of FUN too!

If you are having trouble enjoying what chemistry has to offer, check out Chem Club, the annual Chemistry magic show, chat with your professors about what they love about chemistry, etc. By developing some connection with the subject, you’ll be more invested in the learning process and less concerned about fulfilling a degree requirement.

Nonetheless, Chemistry can still be tricky to understand. My number one recommendation for students who are finding an area of Chemistry difficult is to find a study partner or two to work with. It really benefits working through homework problems and studying for exams with others. They can clarify areas you may find difficult, and vice versa. By teaching each other, you both are able to develop a deeper meaning of the concepts.

And don’t forget – professors, the CWLT tutors and SAACS tutors are all available to help you!

Make an appointment with one of the three CWLT Chemistry tutors!
Danique Gigger
Tuesday, 7-8pm (drop-in) and 8-9
Wednesday, 6-7pm
Sunday, 3-5pm

Guinn Ellen Dunn
Tuesday, 7-9pm
Wednesday, 11am-noon
Thursday, 7-8pm (drop-in) and 8-9

Liz Meucci
Monday, 5-7pm
Wednesday, 7-8pm (drop-in)
Sunday, 5-7pm

Interested in publishing as a career?

If you’ve ever considered a career in trade, textbook university, or small independent publishing, there will be an interest meeting on campus that’s perfect for you! On Monday, Feb. 10 from 5-6 in WY101, Greta Lindquist (class of 2010) will be talking about her experiences at the Denver Publishing Institute, an intensive 4-week summer program meant to help launch careers in publishing. Greta currently works at the University of California Press, and she is a former CWLT writing advisor!

Feel free to drop by even if you have to come late!

Writing advisors share: What’s my writing process?

We know that everyone has their own writing process, and it can sometimes be difficult to start a paper if you don’t go through your usual routine. Last semester, writing advisors shared about how they write. Here’s what they had to say!

Grete, Biology major: “When I really get into writing mode, my hair goes up in a ponytail, sweatpants come on, and all of the miscellaneous collections of books, old assignments, and the ever-present army of vitamin waters on my desk gets pushed to the side to make room for my computer. Head tilting from side to side along with rhythmic tapping of my feet is a common occurrence as I flip through all my notes and construct a detailed outline of what I hope to write. By the end of many hours of pouring over old books and constructing several drafts, I sit back, eat some brie and crackers, and finish revising my essay with a much needed feeling of contentment.”

Anna, English/History double major: “I’m what I call a Pressure Cooker Writer. Once I sit down to write, I don’t take more than a ten minutes break until I’ve got the draft I’m looking for. Of course, this strategy doesn’t work unless I’ve put some considerable thought into what I’m going to write, and how I’m going to write it, before I touch fingers to the keyboard. First, I have to closely read and consider the text(s) I’m working with. Lately, I’ve been rereading with my computer nearby, typing out quotes that I see as potentially relevant as I go along. After I’ve pulled out a lot of the best material from the text itself, I’ve found that I not only have a much better understanding of the reading, but also a potential direction I can take in my argument. A thesis usually comes quickly after going through the material I’ve typed out. Once I have a clear general argument, I start looking at the sub-arguments that are the steps to proving that thesis. With general idea headings, I’ll move around the quotes I’ve selected so that they’re organized under what will become my body paragraphs. Now, before I’ve even started to write, I have a thesis, headings for body paragraphs organized by sub-arguments, and a wealth of textual evidence for each step of the way. It’s all this prep work that allows the pressure cooker strategy to work so well. Once you’ve done all the cutting and basting and seasoning, you can toss it all in and go!”

Maya, History major: “My writing process begins when I check out a teetering stack of books from the library. This may be a quirk unique to history majors, but I find it to be the most reassuring part of the writing process since it means that other people have thought and wrote about my topic as well. To organize my thoughts around the writing assignment, I comb through glossaries and subject encyclopedias for key words and ideas, and then I draw a bubble map connecting those ideas. Once I know what ideas I’m focusing on, I write a skeleton outline with an introduction, one idea per body paragraph, and a conclusion summarizing my analysis and re-stating the significance of my claim. That skeleton makes it easy for me to categorize my quotes and synthesize clear, specific analysis. My outlines are always single-spaced and full of different symbols and colors marking sections that I want to revise or expand upon. Once I’m confident that my ideas are clear, have sufficient evidence, and answer the assignment prompt, I paste the writing into a new document, erase all the bullet points, standardize the formatting, and read it out loud to myself to check the assignment’s flow and syntax.”
Jana, History major: “My writing method is hectic at its best, frantic at its worst.  I write and work in spurts, meaning that instead of sensibly researching for two or three hours a day on a single project I’ll try to jam 15-ish hours’ worth of work into a single weekend.  When it comes to the actual writing, I gotta keep myself pumped: I listen to Girl Talk remixes or (as recommended by fellow advisor Hannah Fattor) Australian eco-rap, and denizens of the front rooms of Collins Library are probably familiar with my mid-paragraph dance moves and lip-synching.  I tend to write my essays in a single sitting, even if it’s a 20-page long behemoth of a thesis.  Sometimes I’m writing with a thorough point-by-point outline in front of me, but more often than not I just have a loose outline of reminders and general ideas or even no outline at all.  My goal isn’t to write a perfect draft or even a good draft, but to just write something.  Once I’ve gotten words on paper, I can rip them to shreds during my own overly-critical editing process.  That’s where I’m merciless.  I turn my conclusion into my introduction.  I cut entire sections out of a paper.  I change my entire argument.  The paper usually ends up covered in scarlet/lilac/brown/whatever editing remarks in my famously illegible handwriting.  It’s only after the 3rd or 4th round of this editing that I feel like maybe, just maybe, I’ve actually written something I’m proud of.”
Henry, P&G major (who graduated December 2013!): “My writing process is often characterized by the extent to which I’m putting things together on the fly. A lot of the time when I first sit down I only have a vauge inkling about what I want to say, usually something like ‘I think John Dewey has a god among men, I really want to defend him from this criticism,’ or ‘I don’t think Allan Bloom has any idea what he’s talking about, let me take his argument apart.’ As a political theory major, I’m usually writing an argument about other peoples’ arguments, so I always start with what they say. Can I write up a summary of John Dewey in a reasonable amount of space, or do I need to re-read? Next, I ask myself what I think about each part of their argument. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and what do I have to say about those? I tend to write individual sentences or paragraphs and organize them into something coherent. I end up cutting lots of stuff out by the end, but that’s the process that works the best for me!”