Writing Center Tutor

Hana Connelly, ‘17

Concentration: History and Literature

House/Dorm: Kirkland House

Employer: Writing Center (Barker Center)

Official Title of Job: Writing Center Tutor


Hana Connelly, a History and Literature concentrator in Kirkland House, knows that her dream job is in publishing or editing, and her on-campus job as Writing Center tutor is helping to get her there. The Writing Center, located in the basement of the Barker Center for the humanities, is an enormous asset for students of all disciplines. English and Biology concentrators alike sign-up for free appointments at the Writing Center, where some of their specially trained peers can review their papers-in-progress. But it seems like the tutors themselves may be the ones who reap the most reward. Hana says she “loves being forced to think more about the fundamentals of writing,” and remarks that her post has substantially helped her own writing. “When I have to write a paper for a new kind of class, I don’t freak out, because I’ve probably discussed a prompt similar to it before,” Hana remarks.

Writing center tutors are required to work a minimum of five hours a week, and Hana usually works about seven. “The flexibility is amazing,” she adds. Writing center shifts are only one or two hours, which means that she can “even just drop in between classes.” Some students schedule hour-long one-on-one appointments in advance, and others come to the two-hour long drop-in sessions that the writing center tutors staff. This revolving door of students means that Hana gets to interact with a wide range of people she may have never met before, so as Hana puts it, “This job isn’t all about writing skills; people skills are essential.” Writing is a very personal endeavor for students, and Hana has welcomed the challenge of effectively communicating with and encouraging those who come to her with their work.

Hana chose this job in part because she used the writing center herself freshman year, and found it to be an incredible resource. When she realized that she could be a part of it, she jumped at the chance. Hana’s passion for writing extends far beyond the writing center. In addition to painstakingly crafting essays for her History and Literature concentration, Hana is the editor of the Culture section of the Harvard Political Review. In addition, this past semester, Hana decided that she wanted to explore the publishing world first-hand, and is interning at a literary agency in Boston. While this all may seem like a lot, Hana makes clear that her on-campus job is a pleasure. “Our weekly tutor meetings are way more fun than they are work,” Hana remarks, “and the hour or two hour shifts are easy to fit into my schedule, even with my off-campus internship.”

Hana looks forward to continuing her job at the writing center as she heads into senior year, and is excited to apply all that she’s learned at the job to her future work: a greater ease in explaining concepts clearly, a flexible communication style, and a nearly infallible gut instinct for identifying when, where, why, and how writing is going wrong. Keep your eyes on this editor and publisher in training: the Harvard Writing Center is just the first stop of many on a quest to make writing clearer and more effective. Let’s just hope her feedback on this article isn’t too harsh