The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Writing Center is starting a new program for graduate students this semester called “Boot Camp.”
Boot Camp offers a space for 15 graduate students to get together one Saturday every month from 8:30 a.m. until noon to work on their dissertations or thesis.
While this semester’s Boot Camp is full, Kathryn Radosta, assistant director at the Writing Center, said she hopes the program will continue in future terms.
Many graduate students work outside of school, and it can be hard to manage outside responsibilities and the demands of a master’s education. The program requires students to commit to coming all four weeks, which helps hold the students accountable to working on their projects, Radosta said. It also ensures that people dedicated to working in a community are the people attending.
“Sometimes people just need scheduled time to work, and the check-ins help to motivate them,” Radosta said.
Breakfast, coffee and soda are provided during the sessions along with Writing Center tutors who can help students with any formatting or technical questions, Radosta said. The main goal of the program is to help students feel as supported as possible during the overwhelming process of putting together extensive projects.
Senior graduate student Alea Hall, who is in the English department, feels that UNO and the Writing Center are doing a good job of providing the resources that graduate students need.
“I’m starting to feel the panic,” Hall said, “just having time set aside for me to work on my thesis is helpful.”
Boot Camp is open to graduate students in all majors, Radosta said. The only requirement is that the students are working on a thesis or dissertation.
The faculty at the Writing Center also pairs up with graduate studies advisors, Radosta said. The advisors help to check in on the progress of the projects as well, helping keep students accountable.
“There is a constant conversation between the graduate studies program and the Writing Center on the best way to meet the needs of students,” Radosta said.
While Boot Camp is reserved for students in the graduate studies program, the Writing Center offers a similar program for undergraduate students called “The Long Night Against Procrastination.”
The Writing Center has hosted two LNAPs so far. They have set April 6 as their third date, Radosta said.
They have seen 85 students per event and are hoping to see that number grow, Radosta said.
Unlike Boot Camp, LNAP offers support from more than Writing Center tutors. They offer tutors from the math and science department as well as librarians ready to help with research.
Students don’t have to wait until April to get help with projects. The Writing Center is available year-round by appointment.
After the conclusion of this semester’s graduate Boot Camp, the Writing Center will collect feedback to help update the program for next semester so they can better serve their students.