Role Reversal: From Tutee to Tutor

Role Reversal: From Tutee to Tutor

Posted by: on April 5, 2016   |Comments (0)|Writing Center

Hi everyone! My name is Marla Gagne, and I’m from West Haven, Connecticut. I’m a sophomore English major and am currently living the suite-life on campus (pun intended). I am a news co-editor on The Cowl and love writing stories about what’s going on around PC. I’ve also volunteered with campus ministry and love getting involved on campus. College life can be crazy, but chicken nugget Thursdays, Friday night hockey games, and PC friends make it all worth it!


As my friends and I walked into Friar Ball, decked out in brand new dresses and painful yet beautiful heels, we were excited. All the upperclassmen we had talked to said the night was going to be one of best nights of our whole college career—no pressure there. Peterson was filled with hundreds of students, many of whom I had come to know in class or meeting through a club or even just saying ‘hi’ in the hallway. And while the night was a great night to spend time with my friends before they went home for the summer or traveled abroad, it also reminded me that in five weeks I was going to be halfway done with my college career.

It seems like only yesterday that I was struggling to read the RIPTA schedule, freaked out to walk around campus by myself, and always forgetting that Ray closes at 6:30 on the weekends and then being forced to walk to Alumni. In two years, I have become friends with people from all over the country (well, mostly the East Coast), joined different clubs, and explored a new city. As I got a little nostalgic and thought about my short journey at PC, I couldn’t help think of my experience at the Writing Center. Before I was a tutor helping with thesis statements and comma abuses, I was the one being tutored.

As a freshman I was intimidated by my professors and scared to write my first paper—what if these professors wanted something completely different than what I wrote in high school? Within the first month of school, I made an appointment for the Writing Center to get some help.

Going into a tutoring session can be nerve-wracking. What if my essay was terrible? What if I had a mean tutor? What if I couldn’t even find the Writing Center? I was already psyching myself out before the session started. Ali, then a junior writing tutor, ended up looking over my paper. I sat quietly as she looked everything over, not sure what to do in that awkward waiting time and internally cringing every time she made a mark. When she put her pen down, I was expecting the worst.

But the worst never came. Ali first pointed out what was great about my essay—my strong thesis and detailed examples. But we also talked about what could be improved. I needed to add a little more to my conclusion so it wasn’t just repeating my thesis. Yes, I was nervous throughout the whole session and probably didn’t take a calming breath until I left the library doors. But later I reflected on everything that happened and realized that it was really not a bad experience and was actually really helpful. I used the Writing Center for the rest of semester and had good, unique experiences with many different tutors.

Getting any critique can be difficult, especially by people you go to class with or see around campus. But lots of the tutors, like myself, were in your same exact spot. And before we were tutors, we were students. We have all been critiqued by professors or have struggled with a class or assignment. Coming into the Writing Center can be intimidating, scary, or just simply something new. But always remember that as tutors we are on your side and here to help you put the pieces together. And who knows—in time you might find your role has been reversed.

GUEST BLOGGER: MARLA GAGNE, ‘ 18 Hi everyone! My name is Marla Gagne, and I’m from West Haven, Connecticut. I’m... MORE

Three Quick & Easy Tips for Students

Posted by: on October 23, 2014   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

Last night, I had the pleasure of spending the evening with students that had participated in the Transitions Program.  We enjoyed some pizza and talked about this crazy time during the semester – mid-terms.

Group selfie!

Group selfie!

It was a great break from studying and a chance to catch up.  In between slices of pizza, I shared some of my favorite study strategies for this semester.  Here are two easy tips to try:


Yes, flashcards!  Whether you use an app with pre-made flashcards, such as quizlet, or create your own,
flashcards are a great flashcardsway to study.  This approach to studying is more effective then reading over your notes because it forces you to recall information.  The more you try to remember what you’ve already seen before, the longer it will stay in your memory.  The constant retrieval of information increases your long-term memory of what you are studying.  Plus, creating a few flashcards each week is a simple way to do ‘homework’ each week that will help be part of your study guide.



We use abbreviations in our every day life (texting!!) but many students don’t think to use the same approach in class.  In addition to the standard abbreviations (b/c for because, w/ for with) try creating your own.  Instead of writing our ‘Allegory of the Cave”, simply write ‘AC’.  Using abbreviations is so easy and, most importantly, it makes taking notes easier and faster.  So the next time you are sitting in DWC and your professor is lecturing about St. Thomas Aquinas, be sure to write your own abbreviation – maybe StT.?

Break it Down


Your to-do list doesn’t have to be pink, but it has to be detailed!

This is one of my absolute favorite time management tips.  Break everything down – break down your DWC readings, break down studying for an exam over a few days, and break down your schedule for a random Sunday afternoon.  When you break down a large assignment into smaller tasks, the assignment becomes more manageable.  Instead of sitting down to read 60 pages for DWC, break it down into three tasks – 20 pages at a time.  When you have a detailed study schedule, you will be more productive then say, deciding to study for 4 hours.  By having a detailed breakdown of all you need to accomplish, you have set goals.  Don’t set aside a few hours to ‘study’ – break down exactly how many pages need to be read, problem sets to be completed or pages written.



Last night, I had the pleasure of spending the evening with students that had participated in the Transitions Program.  We enjoyed... MORE

The Journey to College Success

Posted by: on October 6, 2014   |Comments (0)|Disability Support Services



My name is Francisco Oller, I am a Junior Management Major and I was born with a rare genetic disease called Pelizaeus Merzbacher. My disability has made me into a determined and courageous person. I was born in Puerto Rico and I have lived there until I came to Providence College. My goal in life is to be successful in all that I may pursue and never let my physical limitations deter me from enjoying life.


What If I were to tell you that the confident and loud PC student that you see every day rolling around campus was not always like this?  When I entered Providence College I was very shy and mostly kept to myself because the transition from high school to college was overwhelming.  I came from a small private school in Puerto Rico of about 250 students and my life was changing academically, socially and culturally.  In addition, I was leaving everything I had known my entire life, including my mom’s rice and beans.

At first I asked myself, what was I doing here? Why did I decide to leave the place home? I came from a very small school of about 250 students. I experienced a huge shock my first day on campus when I saw that I had 991 classmates.  Like many of you, I felt alone. I wondered every day, would people accept me for who I am and look beyond my handicap?

Cisco's speech on April 16, 2013

Cisco’s speech on April 16, 2013

Initially, I felt that people were apprehensive asking me about my medical condition.  At the time, I was afraid to share.  My life forever changed when I delivered my motivational speech to a crowd in McPhails and since that day I have not looked back.  I realized that not everyone has the courage to stand in front of a crowd of hundreds, but you can do this by just saying hi.  I have met some of my best friends because I was doing laps in Ray and decided to go up to a table and introduce myself.  Don’t be afraid to do introduce yourself to unknown fellow classmates because you never know how positively you might impact that person or how that person might impact you.

Since arriving at Providence College, people have shaped me into who I am and have helped me realize that I am not alone in this journey.  My experiences inside and outside of the classroom have transformed me into a confident, adaptable and resilient individual and this is why I encourage you to get involved.  The camaraderie at Providence College has made me overlook my disability.  I love that people see me for who I am and not just because I have the coolest wheels on campus.  My goals, interests and hobbies are similar to many other college students.  My problems and concerns are just like yours: study for exams, write papers, read and prepare for class (well most of the time).  I look forward to graduation, landing a career, and overcoming any curve balls life may throw at me!

The crowd was so large the speech was moved from Slavin Soft Lounge to McPhail's

The crowd was so large the speech was moved from Slavin Soft Lounge to McPhail’s

My friends and professors have told me that I inspire them by just being me. This is why I believe that God gives each person specific talents and abilities, not only for their benefit of themselves, but for the benefit of others. I have faced many challenges but I’m living life as though I have no limits. I am proud to call myself a Providence College student and you should be too.  The best advice I can tell you is take your own transition day by day and just be you!

  GUEST BLOGGER: CISCO OLLER, ’16 My name is Francisco Oller, I am a Junior Management Major and I was... MORE

Three Things You Should Do on the First Day of Classes

Posted by: on September 2, 2014   |Comments (0)|Study Skills

By Meghan Murray, Assistant Director for Academic Skills/Programming

The first day of class is an exciting time in Friartown.  To ensure you get the most of out this fall semester, be sure to do these three things.  

1. Look Up From Your Phone

No seriously, look up from your phone.  When walking across campus to class, be sure to pay attention where you are walking.  In addition to making sure you don’t trip or walk into a sprinkler (yes, I saw this happen today), you also get the chance to see some friends or new people.  For upperclassmen, you haven’t seen each other for a few month so take the walk to class as a time to reconnect and say hi.  Don’t be too busy checking out pictures on Instagram to check out the new updates to our beautiful campus!
2. Look at your Syllabi

Take the time to review each of your syllabi.  Be sure to check how your final grade is broken down – if class participation is 20% of your final grade, it is good to know that at the start of the semester.  Become familiar with each of your classes and what your professors expect from you.

keep-calm-and-read-the-syllabus 3. Update your Planner

During this first week, update your planner with major deadlines (test, projects, and research papers) from all your courses.  By putting all this information in one place, you can see if you have two mid-terms on the same day or a busy week with a group presentation and 2 quizzes.  By being more aware of these busy times (because it happens to everyone), the better you can plan ahead and stress less. If you want more tips for using your time wisely in college, be sure to check out our videos.

By Meghan Murray, Assistant Director for Academic Skills/Programming The first day of class is an exciting time in Friartown.  To... MORE