Humans of Hume

Cesar Rodriguez

Cesar Rodriguez photo, Humans of Hume

Class Year?  Frosh

Major? Undeclared

Q: What was your first experience with the Hume Center?

I think my first experience with the Hume Center, if I remember correctly, was for one of my PWR assignments at the beginning of my fall quarter. I was having a lot of trouble with, kind of like, making out my rhetorical analysis. I just needed a second opinion on what my professor was talking about when they gave me feedback and better adjust and make revisions to my PWR essay. So I think that's what my first experience was, and it was really positive. They really made me feel welcome, even making a few jokes and stuff like that. I think that it was just really a positive experience and didn't feel super impersonal. I feel like they just gave me a lot of great feedback and a good perspective that really helped my essay and my grade.

Q: What made you come back to the Hume Center after your initial visit?

I think it was really eye-opening in the sense that I never really had that kind of tutoring experience before. I would have to go to either my teacher and stuff like that because I didn't really have the resources that Stanford had in my high school. Having that kind of a student experience, it was really great to connect with somebody who had similar experiences. It's an opportunity to talk with somebody who's more knowledgeable at writing or just enjoys teaching. It took me hours to try to make out the best approach, and Hume really sped up the process to like 30 minutes or so. I think just being able to talk to someone about your writing and kind of just trying to better plan for writing is really helpful. So I thought, you know, "That was a great experience, why not come back?"

Q: How has Hume helped you navigate virtual education?

Overall, I think a lot of what the Covid-19 pandemic has done is that it's made it very hard for students to reach out to people and, like, have the opportunities to talk, especially about assignments and stuff like that. Also, with different time zones, different home responsibilities, and stuff like that, everything is just really all over the place. So to have the opportunities to use these hours for Hume and really revolve it around that and just having someone to talk to about what I'm struggling on and then, kind of relating at the same time, just kind of talking through everything about writing was really helpful. So I feel like virtual tutoring helped me adjust, especially my first year of college, to this new way of writing and all these new expectations. So I feel like Hume was definitely a big part in helping me feel confident in my writing, especially as a student who just started at Stanford.

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks tutoring is remedial?

What I would say is, "don't knock it till you try it." I think it's kind of cliche, but I definitely felt somewhat similarly. I never really considered talking through my writing or just hearing a second opinion, other than a professor or somebody who's probably more experienced with writing. Still, I definitely feel like student tutors have such a unique perspective, other than your own, which could really help you get a flow or just gather more information. It's really helpful to just speak about your ideas. You get so much out of a conversation, I feel, so definitely try it. If you don't like it, you do you and continue doing what works for you, but definitely, if you feel like you're struggling, just try it out.

Q: What is your favorite memory of the Hume Center?

I want to say… oh I don’t know if I want to shout her out? Okay, I guess it was really funny, since a lot of my assignments for PWR were due around the same time of the week I would always come in around the same time and had the same tutor, Kira. She's super sweet and I guess just having that prior experience with her so she kind of already knew what I was talking about and my past experiences with my other writing assignments that kind of related to my current one was really helpful because she kind of understood my thought process before and how that's changing with this new assignment. So I feel, kind of finding, I don't want to say favorites, but kind of finding those tutors who kinda already know you and have prior experiences is kind of helpful. It's kind of like having a writing buddy in a sense, and I think I like that.

And I feel like other people, if they try out Hume, they can experience that as well, especially in a time where we're not making a lot of social interaction, it could be really that helpful for both your assignments, and just you know your social well-being overall.

Q: How did your experiences at the Hume Center change your approach to writing?

Now, I feel like I really tried to perfect my writing before and kind of took a very hard approach towards writing, trying to perfect each and every sentence I used, but I guess through Hume and through talking with different people, I learned the idea that it's really just a constant revision process. You know, just getting your idea out there and then going from there and adding to it, deleting some parts and definitely just keep editing. I feel like writing is a constant process until the assignment is due, obviously.

So I feel like a lot of the tutors definitely taught me a lot of new ways to approach an assignment or piece of writing and would tell me, “You know, what you have right now is good, but you can make it better by doing this or that”. I feel like the process, I mean writing, is also not a super individual process, or it doesn't have to be. You can ask different people for their opinions on your writing and use their feedback as something that drives your writing. I just feel like writing doesn't need to be all that hard, even though, you know, sometimes, it can be a little rigorous, but definitely there are people out there who can help you so writing shouldn’t be too much of a burden. I just feel like you can really refine your writing by talking to people and just make it a whole lot better and the process a whole lot better.

Q: Any last thoughts?

If people are reading this and hearing about this, I kind of want to promote them and encourage them to actually go use the Hume Center. I feel like a lot of times if you’re not busy or are just struggling, go use Hume and see if you can actually figure something out because a lot of the writing tutors and OCTs are actually just wanting to help, and they want to be a resource for you. So if you're hesitant at all or you just don't think that Hume is right for you, try it to see how you like it. And I know a lot of PWR professors actually really like, and I guess professors overall, like for you to use the Hume Center because it's there for a reason. I think it's something great that I wish I had in my high school, or something like it to some extent, and I'll definitely keep using Hume Center because it's such a great resource. My writing has never been better and I feel like it's something that every student should have a chance to experience, because it is somewhat transformative and like it can be really useful and helpful. I also feel that I, somehow, want to give back to the Hume Center. If I can be a better right overall, I can try to be a tutor one day, but no promises. I definitely want to emphasize how helpful the Hume Center is and to encourage people to expand on it and use it and make it all the more worthwhile.