One of the most common questions I get as a writing coach is “are you an English major?” It’s understandable. English majors love good writing, write a lot, and seem to value grammar over everything else. Who better to edit mistakes in other people’s writing than the people who care about the written word the most?
I think these questions speak to a misunderstanding of what our writing center does. Based on my experience, many people who come to us want a one stop grammar shop. They seem to want definitive answers rather than explanations and suggestions. Writing has rules, but it is also highly subjective; there are infinite “right” answers, and some are better than others. That choice must be in the writer’s hands. Coaches are only there to help guide that choice.
When people bring English papers to us because they believe we are an English major hub, they are buying into this incorrect view of what the writing center is. We help you with the writing process. That’s why we can have so many different majors represented among our staff: history, biology, business, and others. By incorporating many fields of study, the Undergraduate Writing Center is focused on the whole writing process, not just grammar or formatting. We can help all students, not just one subgroup.
I’m a history major, by the way, but yes, I do want to get an English degree at some point. My point still stands.