Wednesday, May 13, 2015

BE Communications Lab is a great resource!

At the beginning of the year, when we had our first meeting for course 20, someone introduced the BE Communications Lab as a resource for all of us. I quickly discarded this piece of information because at the time, it had very little relevance to me. It was brought up again at the beginning of the semester for 109, but I didn't end up scheduling an appointment until a week before the Mod 2 report was due.

In order to kind of force myself to start getting words on paper, I scheduled an appointment to discuss my introduction for my paper. I was really excited because my GRT from last year, Jen, was the writing fellow I planned to meet with. Since I had moved off my hall in McCormick in January, I hadn't really seen my GRT at all for a few months, and it was nice to interact with her on a more scientific, rather than social setting. 

For the meeting, I had my introduction prepared, and I expected that Jen would just read what I wrote, and give me a few comments on how I could improve. While that did happen eventually, she had me start by verbalizing what the problem was, and what our approach was. I was slightly taken aback because I didn't realize I would be talking so much during a writing meeting, but instead, I found it was really useful in sorting out the ideas in my head for the direction of the section. Jen then read through what I had brought for content and flow, which I thought was really useful. She told me things I already had done well in, and the pointed out specific areas I could improve in, providing examples of how some wordings could be changed to make a sentence more effective. I thought it was really useful to have someone who was already very well-versed in the science side to also help with the writing side, so I really appreciated the meeting. 

Later that same week, I made another appointment with another guy in the writing lab because Jen wasn't available. I didn't have very much prepared except an outline and a question on how I should approach a particular problem, so I spent most of the meeting explaining to him more of the entire background to what the project was and what the form of data was. I didn't think that the meeting was very helpful, but a lot of that was my fault because I didn't prepare enough material ahead of time, and also I should have directed my particular question towards teaching staff. Overall, I think the BE Communications Lab is most helpful for people who have thought about and prepared some amount of material already, and sections, such as introduction, may benefit more because it assumes the reader doesn't know everything about the project already. 

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