Carolyn Backus

  • Peer Tutor

Carolyn is a junior majoring in educational studies and economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. As a native of the St. Louis region, Carolyn hopes to apply her current studies to work towards education equality in surrounding communities. In addition to tutoring at The Writing Center, Carolyn serves as a Calculus II PLTL leader through Cornerstone and participates in independent research through the Education Department. In her free time, Carolyn likes to read, dance, and take long walks in the park.

What brought you to The Writing Center?

I have always had a passion for writing, but I also acknowledge that writing can be a stressful process. Throughout my life, I have always appreciated having someone listen to me brainstorm ideas and provide suggestions or questions that guide my thinking and take my ideas in new directions. At The Writing Center, I am thankful to be able to serve in this role for other writers because I know how helpful this meaningful exchange of ideas can be for the writing process.

What do you like most about working with writers at The Writing Center?

I learn something new every time I work with a student, and I love the ability to take on the role of the learner while simultaneously helping students organize their thoughts. Every student is the expert on his or her own paper topic, and I have the advantage of being able to help students from across all disciplines. I never expected to learn about Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, the Panopticon, or the construction of buttons, but by working with writers at The Writing Center, I am constantly exposed to new information like this from multiple points of view.

What do you find most challenging about writing? 

I think the most challenging part of writing is accepting that my first draft can be messy. In fact, it should be. Sometimes, I try to write the “one-draft wonder,” but I find that when I let my thoughts flow unrestricted without editing during that initial drafting stage, I am much more satisfied with the final product.

What advice do you have for writers?

Don’t be afraid to let your paper go in an entirely different direction than you thought when you started it. Sometimes the best papers emerge after trial and error and giving yourself time to explore several avenues of thought!