Resources for Graduate Students

Every writer needs a reader. And we have a reader for every writer!

The Writing Center offers free one-on-one sessions with experienced fellow writers trained to consult on projects in any discipline. Writing Center Fellows can assist graduate students at any stage, providing feedback on course papers, proposals, article writing, job market materials, and the dissertation. We welcome visits during any part of the writing process, from getting started to structuring an argument and revising a draft. Fellows serve as sounding boards, careful readers, and helpful critics, and are able to suggest possibilities implicit in your own thinking and writing. Graduate students may select a 50-minute conference, ideal for shorter writing assignments, or a longer, 80-minute conference to address longer research projects.

Writing a dissertation doesn't have to mean going it alone.

Dissertation Boot Camps offer dissertators a quiet space to work, focused thinking and writing time, and the camaraderie of a writers' community.

Framed by opening and closing workshops on the writing process and wrapped up each day with a short debriefing session, boot camps provide a dedicated space and clearly structured schedule for getting work done. Participants agree to write for designated blocks of time without distractions like checking email or Facebook. In addition to helping writers gain momentum on a project and make tangible progress, boot camp sessions and workshops help graduate students develop the effective writing habits that will sustain them throughout their careers.

What Boot Campers have said:

“I had a great experience all week.  I reveled in the quiet niche I had, while enjoying the company of the other grad students (which I thought would be stressful, but totally wasn’t).  Debriefing group was really refreshing.”

What was useful about Boot Camp? “Having a quiet, clean, well-lit, air-conditioned work space I can leave my stuff in overnight—with plenty of table space, pleasant company, and easy access to snacks. Dissertation Boot Camp is a blatant misnomer; Dissertation Day Spa would be more appropriate.  Really though, the biggest of all these elements would be the structure: having to be there at a certain time in the morning, for a certain time…”

Graduate Writing Days

Graduate Writing Days, sponsored by the Graduate Student Government and the Graduate School.

Graduate Writing Days offers:

  • Work space to suit your style (quiet zone or cafe atmosphere)
  • Tips and strategies for the writing process
  • Optional weekly debriefing groups
  • Plenty of caffeine and a generous spread of food

A great complement to Dissertation Boot Camp (gear up and maintain momentum) OR an independent low-intensity, flexible writing routine for other projects such as grant proposals, articles, or conference papers.

Writing Fridays

Writing Fridays is a weekly workshop created with the specific needs of graduate writers in mind.  As graduate writers know first hand, several of the most common obstacles to productive writing are the lack of time dedicated solely to writing, as well as the absence of a system of support.  Modeled after the Writing Center Dissertation Bootcamp format, Writing Fridays provide writers with:

  • An opening briefing (~10 minutes) for writers to set their goals
  • Quiet and uninterrupted writing time
  • A closing discussion (~15 minutes) of achievements or difficulties encountered during the session
  • Healthy snacks balanced with plenty of caffeine

When you sign up for the workshop, keep in mind that attending the opening and closing discussions is mandatory. They offer a chance to battle the isolation that writers often find themselves in, introduce an accountability element so that it's easier to deliver on your plans and offer emotional support. If you ever think that you are too slow or your writing task is just too daunting, come and get the support of your peers. It's easier when you are not alone!

The series is generously funded by the Graduate Student Government, Princeton Writing Program, History Department and Slavic Department. If you have any questions, contact Elizaveta Mankovskaya.