January 2020

How to turn the high school “hamburger” essay into a university-level paper

5-paragraph hamburger essay

It goes by many names: the 5-paragraph essay, three-tier paper, or 1-3-1 model, to name a few. Many of you know it as the “hamburger” essay – an easy-to-follow model for writing papers that’s often taught in North American high schools.

How to Use the Bullet Journal as a Goal-Setting Tool

bullet journal cover for september

The September cover page.

Need a creative way to keep track of your online courses? Consider breaking out your bullet journal (or BuJo for short) to lessen the blue light strain on your eyes and to plan your goals effectively using the good ol’ pen and paper.

Keeping Academic Writing Simple

Keep calm and keep it simple

As a new student just entering university, I was obsessed with this idea of “academic writing.” What was it? How could I recognize it? How was I supposed to do it? I was always worrying about whether my writing was “formal” enough, or “academic” enough.

Writing Into the Void: Tips for Completing Final Papers During Quarantine

6 Resume Tips to Land a Co-op Placement

6 Resume Tips to Land a Co-op Placement

As the fall term approaches, it’s almost time to finish your co-op term or get ready for a co-op placement interview. To help you get ready, the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC) teamed up with Co-op Connection this week to give you a few resume writing tips. We’ve also included undergraduate writing programming that would not only be helpful for getting started on your resumes, but also for your cover letters and work term reports.

Communicating virtually with your Professors and Teaching Assistants

Screenshot of Husneya and Emma on Zoom

Welcome to the brave new world of university learning post-Covid-19! Over the past few months we’ve all become more reliant on technology, and there’s no denying that having strong virtual communication skills is more important now than ever before. 

Our Top 5 Reasons You Should Try the Virtual Drop-Ins

Drop-Ins promo

If you want immediate answers—from a real human being—to all your writing and communication questions, then it’s time to try our virtual drop-ins! The peer tutors who staff our drop-ins provide quick, real-time

Hit ‘Reset’ on the second half of your term

real_talk

I think it’s safe to say we have all been there. Despite your best intentions, whether you have taken on too much or overestimated how long you can focus in a given day, the work has piled up and you’re stressing out about all that you need to do before the end of term. Boy, have I been there and more than once too.  

I’m not much of a gamer, but a concept I have always liked about video games is the option to hit reset. No matter how badly I felt I had messed up my term, I could start over from the beginning with a fresh slate.  

The key to writing? Planning and organization, especially for EAL students

A close-up of Marian's notes.

Writing in English is hard. I know because I’ve been doing so every day for the last ten years. Navigating a labyrinth of sudden structural differences and changing expectations, my path towards writing my Master’s and PhD theses was not an easy one. I was ill-prepared for English writing, despite studying the language for twelve years in school and speaking it fluently.

A peek into my writing practice: How I’m structuring my own write-from-home sessions

A close-up of Nadine's beloved timer cube.

A few weeks ago Elise Vist wrote about how tough writing is right now as part of her blog post about how to get the most out of the WCC’s Virtual Writing Cafés. Like many of you, I’m finding certain aspects of working from home challenging; it’s tougher than ever to research and write. But there is still writing to do: I have blog posts, grant proposals, and online workshops to finish and you might have course assignments, journal articles , or a dissertation to work on.

Eco-Poetics: How to Write Productively During the Pandemic

Eco-Poetics

It’s a weird time. No one can deny it.

We’re stuck at home, sitting, lying down, and doing almost everything else virtually. Although it can be convenient, eating, sleeping, and working in the same place is mentally straining and doesn’t help our already unstable emotional states.

Reading the news doesn’t help either. There are always new cases of COVID-19, which adds more anxiety and worry to our already stressed-filled hermit lives.

To release some of the stress and anxiety, why not… write it all down?

WCC Workshops Go Online!

Image of the WCC Workshops banner

Alongside the rest of UWaterloo, the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC) has been working hard to transition our services into an online format for the Spring 2020 term. Our team is tirelessly striving to ensure that we can continue to support you as much as possible throughout the changes brought by the ongoing pandemic. As a result of these efforts, we are excited to announce that on June 1st, we will be launching the Spring 2020 WCC workshops on a new LEARN website! 

Getting the most out of Virtual Writing Cafés

Image of a cup of coffee, pen, and lined paper

It’s always hard to write. Even as someone who loves writing, I hate sitting down to actually do it. Especially now, with the paradoxical pandemic life of being exhausted, wired, busy, bored, lonely, and completely overwhelmed with Zoom-based social activities, it’s really, really hard to write my seemingly endless dissertation.  

Academic Success During Isolation 

Photo of planner and writing materials

With campus closures and classes staying online, it can be hard to transition from the structured schedule of classes and other activities to large blocks of free time. Here are some of our tips for managing writing assignments while you’re home all day. We encourage you to mix and match techniques to suit your needs! 

Tip 1: Create a Schedule  

Balancing Productivity and Self-Care in Grad School During COVID-19

Homer simpson to Marge: "See, the problem is communication. Too much communication."

The title of this post is misleading. It implies that productivity and self-care are separate and opposing things. But they aren’t. We can’t be productive without taking care of ourselves. This relationship between productivity and self-care is particularly important right now, during a stressful, frightening situation where expectations on all of us nonetheless remain high. While we navigate the coronavirus pandemic together, we can try three simple things to tackle our research and writing:

Be Honest

Revising your assignment ft. Google the rapper

Google logo in a snapback hat.

Have you ever tried getting Google Translate to rap before? It’s probably one of the funniest things you can do with translate, outside of totally messing with Disney songs. When I’m not using translate as a means to laugh though, I’m using it to revise my essay by having Google read it out loud to me. Granted, that usually is also very funny, as the automated voice has a habit for tripping over lengthy sentences as well as butchering incorrect spelling of words. Use that last bit with caution though, Google Translate does have a habit for pronouncing everyday words like “get” very wrong.

Forgotten Punctuation and Shakespeare

Painting of William Shakespeare surrounded by different punctuation marks

When I was younger, the more pieces of punctuation I could add to a written work, the more I felt like some sort of literary genius. “Yeah, I’m ten and can use a comma, period, exclamation mark, and question mark within two sentences. I’m just that cool.”

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