Danya Ata, senior in teaching of English, enjoys reading and watching Netflix when she’s not tutoring at the Writing Center or working the front desk. This semester has been busy at the WC, and Danya shares her experiences with telling writers that there are no tutors available. Although our sessions get booked two weeks in advance, we encourage you drop in anyway. The school administration has provided more support to the WC so that more students will be able to make appointments in the spring.

I’m the girl who says no. The girl at the desk who crushes your tutor-needy hearts. I greet you with a lipstick-covered smile and ask you if you have an appointment. When I hear you say no, I sympathetically tell you that there’s no one free to help you right now.

You say that you can wait and as I scroll the mouse’s wheel and furrow my brows at the screen; you find a little bit of hope in your heart. Then I look at you again and tell you that we’re booked for the rest of the day. For the rest of the week. But please, come back and try again. You might just get lucky.

You hear these words, look down at your essay, and back up at me. When you first walked in, I was a kind face that you thought you’d remember and like. But as the idea of a bad grade seeps into your brain, I now look like the face of failure. You wish that my lipstick-covered smile would smudge away. You grow angry and try to tell yourself that it’s not my fault. But then you think it’s easier to blame me. Because you worked as hard as you could on this essay and all you wanted was to be reassured. You start to clench your hand, only to hear the crumbling of the paper –a reminder to let go.

As you see every unresolved mistake flash by your eyes, you realize that a line has formed behind you. You wonder if they’ll all see me as a kind face or the face you think me to be. You walk away, resolute. You instill the confidence in yourself that I could not and decide that there’s nothing more to do. You don’t look back.

I look past the next tutor-needy student in front of me and towards you. I wish you luck even though I know you are too far to hear. I wonder how you’ll do on your essay. If you’ll prove yourself right or wrong. As I hear a new voice, I look at the now black screen and notice that a little bit of my lipstick has started to fade. I remind myself to fix it as I look up and put a new smile on my face. I hope that I can help the next you. And if I can’t, I hope that you’ll remember me as a kind face anyways.

Danya Ata