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Graduate Learning Specialist: Writing Tips for Grad Students — Idea Generation through Venting

Posted in Academic Communities, General News, Library Services, Students, Tutoring, Tutorials & Tips, and University Learning Center

Venting is an effective strategy for de-stressing, but did you know it can also be a handy tool for coming up with ideas for your paper writing?

Now, it should be noted that venting isn’t merely complaining. Oh no: venting involves a litany of challenges, difficulties, complexities, and conundrums accompanied by causes, reasons, complications, and connotations. Constructive venting resides in the sharing of these analyses of one’s life, followed by comments of sympathy and encouragement by the fellow venter, and sometimes some rather ingenious fixes for elements of the problem. Many’s the time I’ve been going on and on about the shape a paper REFUSED to take only to find that in all my whining, the main idea finally emerged!!

There does come a point, though, when venting too much is symptomatic of something deeper, and it’s not just that your spouse’s eyes glaze over whenever you digress into the totally unhelpful markings Professor So-And-So leaves on your papers. Sometimes life has a way of piling it on all at once. At those times, it’s best to seek the help of someone who knows what their doing. One way on campus is to visit the CAPS counselor for grad students, Chan Francis. She can be reached at The CAPS website is a great source of information as well.

Helen Alexander
Graduate Learning Specialist
University Learning Center (ULC)

The University Learning Center is located on the second floor of Pollak Library North.

This service is funded by EPOCHS grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education awarded to Office of Graduate Studies.


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