Hailey Danielson

MY STORY: The Writing Center at the University of Utah


I became interested in the Writing Center because I was recently brought on as a new tutor there. During my training, a lot of questions started to come to mind. Why don’t a lot of students at the University of Utah make use of this free resource?

I had to start looking inward, and I realized that I never wanted to visit the center because I was afraid that people would think that I was a bad writer. So I wanted to know if other people shared this fear and if there was some sort of a stigma against visiting the Writing Center.

So I decided to start my story by asking some fellow students about their thoughts on the Writing Center. To my surprise, the students I interviewed didn’t feel that there was a stigma per se, but rather there couldn’t even be a stigma because not enough students even knew that the university had a writing center.

I had to shift gears, I went to the director and coordinator of the center to ask them about what they believe that the student body thinks about the center. Anne McMurtrey and Abby Christensen were great sources because they had first-hand details about how they market the center and data that I could get on student visits.

But during my writing and interviewing, I did find some moral and ethical hurdles when it came to the fact that I am a paid tutor at the Writing Center. I had trouble ensuring that no bias came through in the article. In the end, I think I was able to keep a level head while I was writing, without adding in my own opinions and thoughts.

As I began writing, I found it difficult to make sense of all the information that I had gathered, I just wrote everything down in the way that my mind made sense of the order, answering the questions that came to my mind in the order that they appeared to make the story come across the most logically. But it is true that that style mostly relies on the basis that everyone else’s brain functions the same way mine does, which is a bit of a gamble.

At first, I had no idea what I was doing. But after a few very rough drafts, the flow of the paper really started to come to me. Suddenly I was writing, paragraph after paragraph, in a voice that was true to me, while also making the points I wanted to make.

I suppose what I learned from this story is that even if you are struggling don’t stop writing, because as long as you persevere, the story will come to you eventually. I learned a lot about my writing throughout this process. I had to separate the English major part of my brain and explore the journalist part. I ended up really enjoying writing this piece, even though it was incredibly difficult. The voice that I discovered within myself was very exciting, and I’m very proud of all the growth that I have made while working on this project.


Hailey Danielson was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and moved around the state a lot in her childhood. When she was 13 she moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she finished off high school at San Marcos Senior High. When she started college she came to the University of Utah to pursue a degree in English with the Honors College. Danielson is a photojournalist for the University of Utah Daily Utah Chronicle and is debating whether or not to pursue a double major in journalism.

Danielson just completed her first course in journalism — Comm 1610, Introduction to News Writing — with her very first journalistic piece, “The Writing Center at the University of Utah.”

She wants to pursue a career in publishing, either books or print journalism and is considering a career in television news as well. Danielson is planning on graduating from the University of Utah in the spring of 2022.