July and August are quieter months for the Writing Center. The frenetic sprint of fall and spring finally transitions into a manageable rhythm, without the punctuation of ringing telephones and back-to-back appointments, without the wait lists and the desperation of students with imminent due dates and assignments they have mere hours to revise. Actually, during the summer we continue to work with some anxious students who are busy trying to navigate an intensive summer course, a family, and a job beyond the campus. They—like us—face the challenge of making the most of their time amidst the rigors of everyday life. Finding a moment to slow down and reflect is an ongoing dilemma. It is, however, apparent that a shift in stride is crucial if we are to discover or maintain a sense of balance, if we are to manage the length of a yoga breath without hyperventilating from the stress.
At the start of another school year, we here in the Center are ready for the next semester of balancing acts. We spent the summer creating new handouts and updating old ones (did you know that there’s a new edition of the MLA Handbook?); we created flyers and designed new brochures; we updated our website; we planned workshops and worked on annual assessments; we are now scheduling and conducting fall presentations for faculty members; and we are working on promoting our high-school writing program for next year. Some of us are even working on a blog! During the summer we took some time to reflect on our goals, individually and collectively; we made the most of our quiet time.
This summer “interlude” not only gave us some space to work on projects, but it also afforded us time to reflect on the work of the previous semester and to plan for the year ahead. The first wave of new students is already finding their way to us clutching assignments with underlined due dates, expressing anxiety about grammar and format; others are returning with renewed determination; some are revisiting old concerns. The hours and days will soon become a blur of activity as the buzz of summer recedes into another swirl of blue-sky memories. But we will all be better off for the time we took to reflect and view things from a different vantage point, even if we are still moving at the same swift pace.