‘There are no stupid questions’: Writing Mentor Samridhi explains why you should never hesitate to seek help on your assignments
How are you going managing your assignments now that we’ve passed the halfway mark for the trimester? Are you a little unsure of where to start, how to reference correctly or perhaps you’re not feeling confident about how to approach a specific part of your assignment?
We asked Deakin student and Writing Mentor Samridhi Gupta what it’s like being a Writing Mentor and her advice on how you can improve your assignments! Samridhi recently completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science.
What are you hoping to do now you’ve graduated?
I am looking forward to continuing my fourth-year (Honours) degree at Deakin! I’m enthusiastic about research within the alcohol and drug sector – specifically the cognitive-neuropsychology side of addiction, so I’m looking forward to selecting a project in those areas.
Why did you want to become a Writing Mentor at Deakin?
Being an international student, it took me a while to understand the differences in approaching academics when I first came here; it was the whole Students Helping Students hub that helped me ease into studying in Australia and getting comfortable with academic writing. This is just my way of giving back to my university.
In your experience, what are the most common writing problems that many students face?
I’ve found that students are mostly concerned about referencing styles; they are aware of the Deakin guide to referencing but are sometimes apprehensive about navigating them alone, so they need some guidance on knowing if they have understood it correctly. Another common one is synthesising information appropriately and keeping within the assignment word limit.
What sort of challenges do you think students face studying online?
I think not being able to meet face-to-face can make them feel somewhat isolated from peers, tutors, and the other resources available for them (Writing Mentors, for example). They may feel unnecessarily concerned about having to wait for responses from peers/tutors online.
What are your top three tips for students who may lack confidence in their writing and who want to improve?
- Understand tutor feedback. Often, recognising the seemingly small things outlined in the feedback can help students pinpoint ways to improve in their future assignments and grasp writing for academic purposes.
- Take time out before editing your work. I’ve found it very hard to find issues in my own writing because I’ve put in so much time and effort into creating my assignments, but over time I’ve realised I need to detach from my work and view it objectively and critically at a later time in order to improve.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help because there are no stupid questions. Students should absolutely utilise all the resources at Deakin to assist them in improving on their work – that’s the sole reason our services exist.
How can a student get the most out of their time with a Writing Mentor?
I’ve found that it really helps students if they have some idea of the issue they’re facing (even if it’s something as broad as not knowing how to approach their assignments). That way, we can direct them to appropriate and specific resources instead of linking them to all available ones which can be overwhelming, especially if the student doesn’t know where to start.
What are your favourite things about being a Writing Mentor at Deakin?
I think the satisfaction – which comes from hearing students’ voices go from that of worry and overwhelm, to gaining some confidence when they’ve figured out how to work through their concerns – tops everything else. Other than that, it’s a wonderful skill to know how different referencing styles work; something I’ve only been able to develop through this position.
Get in touch with a Writing Mentor!
Sometimes when you’re having issues with an assignment, it’s just helpful to talk things through. The Writing Mentors can also help you review any feedback you’ve received on your first assignments so you can think about the academic skills you’ll need to focus on in your next assessments. Additionally, they can offer you tips on researching, understanding assignment questions and how to plan and structure your work.
- If you want to chat to someone about any aspect of your assignment until the end of Trimester 3, you can contact a Writing Mentor by sending an email to [email protected]. The email service runs all week and you should expect a same-day reply.
- Beginning in Trimester 1, 2022, you’ll once again be able to attend our interactive online drop-in sessions hosted by a Writing Mentor like Samridhi! You don’t need an appointment, just bring your assignment and your questions. You can also continue to get in touch via email for referencing questions and brief queries.
If you would like more help with your learning and assignments, remember you can also get in touch with a Language and Learning Adviser (LLA) at Deakin. LLAs are all experienced teachers, and they are available by appointment to offer you a range of assistance and advice on aspects of your learning.