Hume Tutor Spotlight

Winter Quarter 2021

Sariel Golomb, Graduate Writing Tutor

Year? P.h.D. Candidate

Program? TAPS - Theatre and Performing Arts

On why she joined Hume:

I first heard about Hume through the grapevine and my department, lots of TAPS Ph.D students use Hume or become Hume tutors. It's a very popular resource in my department. The first time I used Hume was for my comprehensive exam paper last year. I was in a kind of dark place with it and having a really serious writer's block, I would say. It was at this point where I had produced this document that I really liked but it needed a lot of work, and I knew that, but I just couldn't face that task myself. So I feel like Hume kind of came at the right time as a tutee because I just needed someone outside of my head, who hadn't read it before, who knew nothing about my fields to just come in and say encouraging words but also be very frank with me about what it needed. I also was able to set up a recurring appointment with this person, and that was a way of holding myself accountable through the long duration of fixing this paper. And that was while I was applying and starting my training as a Hume tutor. I knew I wanted to be a Hume tutor because I had done a lot of tutoring in the past and also done a lot of editing in the past. I knew that editing was very different from writing tutoring and I wanted to tease out those nuances for myself, figure out how I explained my process to other people, and figure out how to be a better educator and reader.

On her tutoring style:

I think it's a work-in-progress. I'm still trying to figure out what works best and I think it really depends student by student. I try to ask a lot of questions and take a lot of notes for myself becuase I want to show my tutee that I'm listening really well and that I can repeat back to them what they say. I also think an important part of my process is just having people say things in their own language like I'm a friend that they're just explaining their paper to a friend on a walk home. I think that once we've said things colloquially in a familiar way, doing whatever tweaks we need to do to that language to make it academic is easy, but we just have to get out the ideas first.

So I would say my approach to tutoring is I try to be friendly. I try to ask a lot of questions and I really just try to have it be ideas bouncing around in both directions. 

Her experiences tutoring virtually:

I’ve really enjoyed it. I haven't had any other experiences with Hume because I joined during the pandemic, but it's really nice to have that sort of one-on-one time on zoom. Usually we're in classes zoning out, sort of watching our own faces, and I think that something about the type of conversations that happen over writing means that it feels intimate and warm, even if it's over the computer. And we also have a paper at reach just a click away! So it hasn't been horrible for me, although I am looking forward to trying it in person too.

On how she sees her Hume experiences informing her life and writing:

I think it's definitely allowed me to see, or to internalize, a lot of the things I said, like how writing is a process. It's made me more humble about my own writing. I thought I was a good writer before and now I know that I'm always a writer in progress. I thought I knew who would say. It was at this point where I had produced this document that I really liked but it needed a lot of work, and I knew that, but I just couldn't face that task myself. So I feel like Hume kind of came at the right time as a tutee because I just needed someone outside of my head, who hadn't read it before, who knew nothing about my fields to just come in and say encouraging words but also be very frank with me about what it needed. I also was able to set up a recurring appointment with this person, and that was a way of holding myself accountable through the long duration of fixing this paper. And that was while I was applying and starting my training as a Hume tutor. I knew I wanted to be a Hume tutor because I had done a lot of tutoring in the past and also done a lot of editing in the past. I knew that editing was very different from writing tutoring and I wanted to tease out those nuances for myself, figure out how I explained my process to other people, and figure out how to be a better educator and reader.

On her favorite Hume memory:

I think one memory that comes to mind is from back in our spring tutor training class and just being able to look at a document together of a student we'd never met and have everyone think in such generous ways about how they would approach this writing assignment with a student. There was zero judgment, everyone was so eager to say, “Well, the first thing I would ask the person is this” or “I wonder if they're coming from this place”. It was just such a rich conversation among people who just exuded so much care about writing and about other people's writing process. I think there have been some really special conversations with fellow tutors about the Hume process that are so special to me. In terms of tutoring, I've always just really enjoyed working with students who either come in with one idea of what they're doing and leave with a very different one, but they're also very happy with it, or students who just come feeling extremely overwhelmed and together we're able to find some clarity and also establish very concrete steps that are so unintimidating that we know we can do them together.

Why she thinks Hume is for everyone:

I think the big realization for me as a tutee and a tutor, that Hume has really driven home for me, is that a tutor is really just a second pair of eyes. It's just someone outside of yourself. Writing is a very social process. Not only does it happen between you and your reader, it happens between you and everyone you talk to, you and everyone you've learned from, and it's a very never ending process. So if you think that writing is a solitary process, you're missing so much about what you could accomplish with it and how joyous it could be in conversation with other people. I think the best writers have great readers behind them. Everyone can benefit from that. 

Anything else to add?

This is a more pragmatic note, but there's so many different types of writing that Hume can help with and I feel like a Hume tutor is kind of a friend for literally every step of the way. I've worked with people on class applications, on post doctoral program applications, and everything in between (I wish I saw more creative writing, that would be awesome to work on).

I wish I'd had a program like this when I was an undergrad and knowing that I could have taken advantage of it because it's just so special how much you can take away from a Hume session.