Where To Write on Campus

Maybe you write best in absolute silence. Maybe you need the soft buzz of life going on around you. You might find that the best sentences pour from you once you turn on some Frank Sinatra or One Direction. Perhaps all you really need to be inspired is the scent of the fresh air rushing through the grass.

The importance of place when one sets out to write is paramount. Ernest Hemingway needed to write standing up. Rumor has it that Ben Franklin wrote from the bathtub. Jane Austen preferred to write amidst the daily routine of her family. E. B. White sought the comfort of a cabin by the shore. And I find that my best work comes when I lay on my stomach on the floor.

Every writer, and yes, you are a writer, has his or her own quirks when it comes to finding a place that works with writing energy. As a junior now at McDaniel, I’ve been able to try out a few places around campus and have found some of the best writing places for those with different writing atmospheric needs. My hope is that this brief list will help both the new students coming into a new environment at McDaniel and those still searching for their sweet spot around campus.

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image from mcdaniel.edu

The Library
• Clever, Shannon, the library is an obvious place to mention first. But seriously, I bet you might be able to find a place in the library that works for you. Hoover Library has undergone some serious renovation and refurnishing that has made all types of spaces available for students. Whether you need the silent floor, the group study tables, an individual desk, or one of the comfy chairs on the side rooms on the second floor in the front, you’ll find a nice place amongst the shelves. I recommend that you take a walk through the library and explore every nook and cranny like I did, and now I know my perfect library spot—which is mine and mine only…

Casey’s Corner
Casey’s Corner is a wonderful place for those who need a soft buzz in the background while they write. The colors are cozy, the seating options vary, and the place always smells like delicious, warm coffee (if you like that sort of scent, like I do). Casey’s Corner also offers a convenient and tasty writing break opportunity so that you can reenergize and refocus with a coffee or big cookie stimulation if you work best with a yummy bite.

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image from mcdaniel2016.tumblr.com

Hill, Lewis, Merritt Classrooms
Even though the late night classroom use policy has changed, you can still find a classroom to work in for a couple hours before the buildings close for the night. Sometimes I like to work in the classrooms on the second floor of Hill (because I love the English dept. to pieces :] ) which provide enough space to spread out and write while on the floor, or you can use the big desk if you’d like. The classrooms are conducive to writing because they don’t have too many distractions which means you’re usually left alone and can focus much better.

Little Baker
You might think this is an odd choice, but sometimes when I really just need to get away from it all, I like to take a little walk over to Little Baker, laptop in tow, and sit down for a couple of hours to write. I have found that Little Baker has a very peaceful and beautiful atmosphere that might be helpful for those of you that stress out while writing. Take a breather, look at the beauty of the stained glass, and return to that paper with a calmer demeanor.

Harvey Stone Park
Depending on the weather, Harvey Stone is a great place to write for those of you who need to be outdoors. Harvey Stone is the pavilion located behind the baseball field, down the little gravel hillside pathway, and bumped up against the golf course. You might find the quiet you are looking for here with a little bit of nature cheering you on as you type.

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image from panoramio.com

Gill
I know a lot of athletes who like to write in the lobby of Gill where they can have the background stimulation of the tv’s, passersby, and the all encompassing aroma of Vocelli’s. A lot of athletes feel comfortable working and writing here because they spend so much time there for their extracurricular athletic activities and training. This might be your spot if you need some movement around you or would like to feel comfortable in a spot that feels just like your second home.

Create Your Own Unique Spot
So this is my clever way of wrapping up my modest list. But this one might be the most important. Maybe your dorm room or common room is the best place. I’ve never been to your room, but maybe you have a poster of Brittany Spears or Ganesh from which you find the source of your most brilliant of thoughts. Or maybe you’re like me and you find some spot that only works for you—for example, I go down to the pool. As a swimmer, I’ve found that writing at the pool is like coming home, and that is perfect for me to generate some stellar paragraphs.

I hope this list has at least sparked some thought about where you need to be to write at your best. Sometimes it is surprising just how much of an effect your surroundings have on your work, and those surroundings might need to change depending on even your mood or the type of writing you need to do. You might find that you can do your English papers in the comfort of your room, but gosh darn you just need to go to a classroom to do your Chemistry lab report. Do a little writer-soul-searching and take a walk around campus, try out some new spots. You never know where you might end up and what you can do when you find that perfect place of your writing dreams.

– Shannon,  peer tutor

Practice for your Ultimate Competition

Being a student-athlete means that you have a busy schedule. In just one day, you juggle classes, multiple practices and training sessions, homework, and let’s not forget finding time to eat–you’ve got to fuel that body to keep operating at such high efficiency! The dedication and self-discipline you exercise in your athletic lifestyle and every time you suit up are tools that can also help you succeed in the classroom. Just as you practice every day for athletic improvement, you can think of the Writing Center as your practice arena to train towards ultimate success in your academics.

From http://www.wahijournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/balence1.jpg

From http://www.wahijournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/balence1.jpg

As a swimmer, I’m in the pool with my teammates three mornings a week before school, and two hours every afternoon during the week after classes. On my own, I’m also responsible for completing five hours a week of supplemental cardio and weight training work outside of the pool. I’m joined in the Writing Center by Amber, Lauren, Kelsey as fellow student-athlete-tutors who know what it takes to balance school work and sports. As athletes, we all have our own crazy workout schedules, but one thing sports teach us is time-management, as we wouldn’t be allowed to practice and compete if we didn’t make the grade.

Each year, the Athletics Department brings McDaniel’s student-athletes together for a meeting to reinforce the idea of NCAA Division III athletics as an organization that fosters academic excellence through intercollegiate athletic programs. This mission statement rings true as McDaniel has an exemplary student-athlete population, demonstrated by the 115 athletes named to the Dean’s List and the four students named to the Green and Gold Honor Roll for fall 2013.

From http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/styles/wide_teaser/public/D3-logo-hero.jpg?itok=PtCJIaq9

From http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/styles/wide_teaser/public/D3-logo-hero.jpg?itok=PtCJIaq9

As athletes, we see our goals and envision success through the hard work we know is necessary for victory. The same philosophy should hold true for our work in class. Emma Wingerd, junior member of the Women’s Basketball team, frequents the Writing Center and says that “As an athlete, it’s hard to make time to sit down and do these things outside of class, practice, and meals, but those one hour appointments were the best decision I ever made to become a more successful student-athlete.” Wingerd expressed that she was surprised by how helpful the tutors are, especially within one hour sessions, as she was able to come in with a broad topic and leave with a specific thesis and an outline. Writing Center tutors also help you tackle resumes, applications, and scholarship essays for further academic success. In another session, Wingerd brought in her unorganized resume: “I came in with everything and the kitchen sink and came out with a polished resume that I am proud to use to represent myself.”

From http://www.mcdanielathletics.com/images/logos/acad-gt.jpg

From http://www.mcdanielathletics.com/images/logos/acad-gt.jpg

Writing can pose a difficult challenge as we are always trying to improve ourselves as students and scholars. Just as we put in the effort on the field, track, and in the pool, we know that we need to put in the same level of intensity into our studies if we want to be successful in life and remain eligible to compete. The Writing Center tutors are more than eager to be your writing coaches to help you succeed in the classroom so that you can achieve your academic and athletic goals as Green Terror student-athletes.

-Shannon, peer tutor