Walden University Writing Center -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Recent Posts

Embracing the Learning Process: Transitioning from APA 6 to APA 7

No comments
It’s been 10 years since I first began my journey to master APA. When I began working in the Writing Center in 2010, APA had just published its sixth edition of the manual, so it was a perfect time for a new writing instructor like myself to dive in headfirst. Those early months of learning APA were frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I looked up the rules for when to use “et al.” or when exactly an issue number was needed in a reference entry. Slowly but surely, however, I mastered APA’s rules. As I practiced using the style, both in my own writing and by teaching it to students, APA’s rules became second nature to me.

APA 7 manual and keyboard

Fast forward 10 years, and I’m now looking at the recently published seventh edition of APA. The manual itself has helpful tabs and a colorful cover, but as I have started exploring the new and modified rules of APA 7, I’m reminded of how challenging and daunting it can be to learn the rules of a citation style. I’m taken back to my initial foray into APA, as I’ve been asked to learn entirely new guidelines or adjust old rules for the new edition of APA. As I do so, I tell myself over and over again that I will, at some point, memorize the URL version of a DOI so I won’t need to look it up every time. Intellectually I know that this is true, and that I’ve been here before, but it still feels frustrating. I’d gotten used to knowing APA intuitively, but now this new seventh edition of APA requires an extra layer of thought to something I used to do without thinking.

On the positive side, these feelings of frustration have also been productive. As I labor over the new edition, practicing the new way to reference a webpage or including “et al.” in all citations with three or more authors, I’m reminded that my feelings of frustration are simply part of the learning process. Learning often isn’t comfortable; it’s challenging, and it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone to learn to think in a new way. And so, with this learning process, I also am reminded of the student experience. It’s been quite a long time since I went through the process of first learning APA, and so learning APA 7 has given me insight into the challenges and frustrations of any Walden student who is new to APA style. 
APA 7 transition logo
Walden University will be adopting the seventh edition of the APA manual starting in the summer terms (May 4 for semester-based programs and June 1 for quarter-based programs). So, very soon, much of the Walden community will be joining me in this learning process. To support you along the way, here are a few tips from the trenches that you may find helpful:
  • Acknowledge the Challenge: Learning APA 7, like any learning, is a process; there will be frustrations and challenges along the way. Acknowledging—and if possible, embracing—this challenge will help you avoid feelings of failure if you make a mistake or frustration if it’s taking some time.
  • Give Yourself Time: I’ve had 10 years to absorb APA, and it’s unrealistic to expect that I'll memorize and use APA 7 intuitively in a short period of time. Similarly, using APA 7 will add to your writing time, since you’ll most likely need to look up rules and double-check formats.
  • Use Resources: Once you begin learning and using APA 7, don’t feel like you’re in this alone. The Writing Center is working on a number of resources to help you transition into using the seventh edition. We will have fully updated APA resources throughout our website, so you can use tutorials on our website and services from our writing instructors and form and style editors to support your learning of APA 7. In the mean time, you can visit our APA 7 Transition page for the latest updates and a comparison table so you can see the biggest differences in the APA editions.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t forget to ask questions, too: You can email us or visit our Live Chat Hours with questions about APA 7 after the May switch dates. Your faculty and classmates can be a great source of support, too. I can’t tell you how many times I've reached out to colleagues to confirm I’m using a new APA 7 rule correctly.

APA 7 manual

We will also have new and updated webinars in May to help with the transition. You can find the full schedule and registration information on our webinars calendar page. All webinars will be recorded and archived as well, so you can watch them at your convenience.

We look forward to working with you as you engage in your own learning process with APA 7, and we’re pleased to support you on this journey. And hey, if you find yourself loving a new rule or experiencing a particular challenge, be sure to let us know. We’re all in this learning process together! 

Beth NastachowskiBeth Nastachowski has been with the Writing Center since 2010, and she currently manages the center’s webinars, modules, and videos. She spends her time running after her son, husband, two cats, and dog in St. Paul, MN. 

Send me new posts by e-mail button
Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time

Interview with Patrese Nesbitt, Walden DrPH student and 2019/2020 Writing Center Intern

No comments
In 2019, Patrese began a 9-month internship with the Writing Center, during which she learned about writing center pedagogy, giving writing feedback to students through our paper review appointments, and attending the International Writing Centers Association conference in Columbus, OH. We are grateful Patrese was interested in the internship, as she is also working full time as a faculty member and pursuing her Doctor of Public Health from Walden. She is also now a published author on the Writing Center blog with her blog posts “The Art of Storytelling: Mastering Paraphrasing” and “How to Manage Procrastination and Brain Fog,” where Patrese brings her unique perspective as student, faculty member, and writing center intern to give students writing advice.

Patrese Nesbitt

Join us in learning a bit about Patrese, how she manages so many responsibilities in her life, and her tips for other Walden student writers.

Writing Center: What are you studying at Walden? 
Patrese: Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Writing Center: You are also a faculty member at your institution. What do you teach? 
Patrese: I am an Assistant Professor and I teach Health and Physical Education at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. 
Writing Center: How do you spend your free time? 
Patrese: I spend my free time reading, working out, traveling with family and friends, watching make-up and hair tutorials, or studying about mindfulness and health. 
Writing Center: You have a lot going on: How do you keep track of everything or keep yourself organized? How do you make time for it all? 
Patrese: I have and stick to a “to-do” list! I have a “to-do” list at home which is a dry erase board, updated daily. My “to-do” list is just a notebook at work. As you can imagine, I’ve gone through a lot of notebooks!

To Do list

Writing Center: What is your approach or goal to one-on-one paper reviews and when giving students writing feedback? 
Patrese: I want to make sure the student knows that I am aware of their own personal goals of their paper review appointment. I do so by stating their goals at the start of their paper review appointment. I may also state their personal goals throughout the paper; sometimes I may ask “what do you think?” to the student to show that I am engaged but I am open to their interpretation and suggestions as well. It is a learning experience for the both of us!
Writing Center: Why or in what ways do you think students can benefit from a one-on-one paper review appointment? 
Patrese: One-on-one paper reviews are an exceptional way to have an individualized review based on your goals, tasks, and abilities. I’ve benefited from a one-on-one appointment at the very beginning of the DrPH program, and it was superior! While I had the opportunity to attend writing centers at my prior institutions, one-on-one paper reviews, in an asynchronous format, feels as if the writing instructor has time to review my personal information without making me feel embarrassed!
Writing Center: What have you benefited the most from or learned the most about during your Internship with the Writing Center? 
Patrese: I increased my knowledge base on the number of tools the Writing Center has towards improving writing. The increased knowledge provided from the internship will help with the success of my dissertation. 
Writing Center: What’s one thing you’ll take away from the Internship and use in your writing at Walden or your teaching at your institution? 
Patrese: Appointments! More students should take advantage of making appointments with the Writing Center to achieve their goals as well as staying on task in their course. I will actually make more appointments! So, Beth, Amy, and Max will certainly see more of me! 
Writing Center: What is the most helpful advice you’ve received about writing? 
Patrese: I find myself typing how I talk, which is ok, but I firmly believe in the process of proofreading/self-editing. You learn so much about your writing style and it helps to ensure you are on task. One more note: follow the MEAL Plan for your writing as if your life depended on it!
Writing Center: Could you talk about a particular writing challenge you faced and how you overcame that challenge?
Patrese: I procrastinate! I prepared a blog about procrastination and it is something I still struggle with as a doctoral student. As one who has struggled with anxiety, I’ve used procrastination to cope with anxiety due to fearing (or overthinking) that what I am writing about is wrong, or I am off topic, and the worst can happen as a result of poor writing. Having a “to-do” is list extremely helpful and has helped me to overcome that challenge. I can always tell when I operate “away” from my “to-do” list. I am not as focused, and distractions are everywhere. 

image of coffee, notebook, keyboard

Writing Center: What’s one writing accessory you can’t live without—or something you couldn’t write without?
Patrese: A college ruled, $0.69 notebook! I carry at least one everywhere!! Especially now as I am getting closer to writing my dissertation!
Writing Center: Describe your approach to writing in three words:
Patrese: Prepare, plan, pray. 
Prepare: Get all the tools that are needed; read the material that helps to reference what you are writing, use a notepad to mind-map or outline what your paper will state, and find a comfy sitting area to write your paper.
Plan: Back to the “to-do” list! Break apart difficult tasks or break apart tasks that may be big (or time consuming) and may lead to overthinking and anxiety.
Pray: or be mindful in what you are getting ready to do. Mindfulness to me means being “in the moment”. Praying helps me to get in the moment and put all my focus on the task from start, through the process, and to completion.

Walden University Writing Center
The Walden University Writing Center provides a broad range of writing instruction and editing services for students, including writing assistance for undergraduates, graduate students, and doctoral capstone writers. 

Send me new posts by e-mail button
Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time

An APA 7 Update and Resources

No comments
We here in the Walden University Writing Center recently updated our APA 7 transition webpage to provide more information about how we’re preparing to help Walden University students use the APA’s new style guide.
APA 7 transition logo
Later this year, Walden University will be fully transitioning to the seventh and latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). For semester-based programs, the official transition date to APA 7 is May 4. For quarter-based programs, the official transition date is June 1. The university will soon share more information about a grace period for students who are actively writing their doctoral capstones and may choose between continuing in the sixth edition or using the seventh edition. 

To help support Walden students’ transition, the instructors and editors of the Writing Center are working to learn the details of the new style guide, update our instructional resources, and create new resources. For example, these APA 6 and 7 comparison tables provide a concise preview of the significant changes between the old and new version of the manual. These tables are just one example of the type of resource our staff is working on to highlight and help you learn the changes.

We also just published a WriteCast podcast episode on a few of the APA 7 changes that we’re most excited about. Stream or download (click the connect button on the player) the episode here, or listen on your favorite podcast app. If you have heard or read about upcoming changes, we’d love to know which ones you are looking forward to the most!
Please bookmark our APA 7 transition webpage to learn about when new Writing Center resources will go live and for information about the official Walden University timelines for the transition. We’ll continue to share updates with you on resources, training, and timelines as we all make this exciting move together!

Any questions related to the transition to APA 7 can be directed to APA7@mail.waldenu.edu

Walden University Writing Center
The Walden University Writing Center provides a broad range of writing instruction and editing services for students, including writing assistance for undergraduates, graduate students, and doctoral capstone writers. 

Send me new posts by e-mail button
Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time

How to Manage Procrastination and Brain Fog

No comments
Have you logged onto social media today? It is almost impossible to avoid. News, events, and social gatherings can all be found on your social media platform. The next thing you know, you realize you have been on social media for hours. Now, what does social media have to do with brain fog and procrastination? First, allow me to provide a personal definition of  brain fog: It is a sense or a feeling as if you cannot recall any information or even produce information relevant to what you are currently doing; for example, writing a course paper. Due to the lack of recalling information or producing information towards the course paper, we find ourselves delaying the task of completing the course paper. Delaying the taskbetter known as procrastinatingmeans doing anything else but the course paper. According to The Huntington News, a student newspaper from Northwestern University, the main tool college students use in procrastination is social media. Sixty-four percent of college students polled in the study indicated that they lose their train of thought after scrolling through social media!

Icon Set, Social Media, World, Digital, Analog, Media
Image used with permission from Pixabay
Anxiety presents another layer to brain fog, which can lead to procrastination. The Social Anxiety Institute stated that anxiety increases as we place too many tasks on ourselves at once. This can lead to procrastination because of the excessive number of tasks to complete. Additionally, Dr. Harriet Learner in Psychology Today also stated that anxiety causes brain fog. Frequently we assume doing something unrelated to writing a course paper can help us towards getting the course paper completed. With that said, we might reflect on whether procrastination on social media is just adding to or maintaining our list of tasks to complete, perpetuating anxiety.

Short term anxiety can create short term brain fog, and long term, or chronic, anxiety can be a powerful force—but thankfully, not a permanent force. When it comes to writing a course paper, it is easy to think too far into the future (being afraid of a negative outcome of the course paper), and not be mindful of the moment, or utilize tools that help us to break down the task.

In my work towards my doctorate degree, I’ve gone down the social media dark hole as well as dealt with significant personal and professional challenges, sending my anxiety overboard and placing me in what feels like a huge brain fog. By working to overcome procrastination and brain fog has helped me move closer towards finishing. Below, I’ve included a few tips to help you with procrastination and brain fog:

1. Therapy: Therapy has been the most excellent tool in my academic success at Walden University. Therapy helps me talk through life’s obstacles that may place me into brain fog. As mentioned earlier, anxiety can lead to brain fog, but so can depression, grief, sadness, or trauma. Therapists work closely with their clients to help resolve these issues. Resolution can lead to success once the client is open to seeking opportunities that will help them thrive, both personally and academically. 

2. Breaks from social media: Technology like smartphones and computers allow us to be constantly "plugged in" to the news and current events. Being plugged into social media too much feeds procrastination and could lead to anxiety. One way to address this is to make social media applications less easy to access. You might consider removing these apps from your phone or using website blockers or timers to limit your access.

3. To-do list or planners: I am willing to give the office supply store my income based on planners alone. Not only do I love them, but planners and to-do lists keep me on track and organized. I use them to ensure I am not missing out on anything important, such as assignments, webinars, meetings, and coursework related tasks. Staying organized keeps me on track and helps me to avoid procrastination.

4. Meditation and Mindfulness: As a yoga instructor, I know that the purpose of meditation and mindfulness is to consider the thoughts that make us feel upset, sad, or anxious and to focus on the thoughts that make us feel empowered, happy, refreshed, energetic, and accomplished. It’s the practice of knowing and focusing on the “now” and not “back then” and “in the future.” Using meditation and mindfulness when dealing with brain fog, as the writer, helps to focus on what you are doing, in that very moment. Meditation and mindfulness help the student to focus on their ability to produce the very best course paper by encouraging focus on that exact task and nothing else. By focusing on being in that very moment of creating a paper, you can navigate out of your brain fog!

It is not necessary to do everything on this list, but I challenge you to try one you think could help you move through procrastination and brain fog. Don’t you worry, you got this! Happy writing!

Patrese Nesbitt is a writing intern at the Walden University Writing Center. She enjoys reading articles that are inspirational, in addition to doing research on how certain physical movement patterns help with mental health. As a doctoral candidate in Walden University’s Public Health Program, she is eager to find ways to intrinsically and extrinsically motivate people to live an improved and upgraded quality of life.

Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time

The Art of Storytelling: Mastering Paraphrasing

As an avid reader, I love stories about revolutionaries, abolitionists, orators, or great public speakers. I am particularly drawn to stories pulled from African American history: Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Madam C.J. Walker, and my favorite, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American female to run for President of the United States. 

You might have thought I read an entire book about the life of Ms. Chisholm, based on my mentioning she was the first African American female to run for the presidency. I actually did not read a book about Ms. Chisholm. Instead, I pulled various online resources about the life of the former Congresswoman from the Smithsonian and the U.S. House of Representatives websites, as well as scholarly articles about her life and history as an educator.  

So, is this how paraphrasing works? You pull pieces of information from different resources and articles and put them in a paper? Well, sort of. As you continue reading, you will find this post is intended to help you get comfortable with paraphrasing by providing some encouraging insight on how to tell a story. Crafting your story from your interpretation of course assignment readings and research articles may appear to be a daunting task. Still, your professor will be impressed by your efforts in understanding the content from the course, which ultimately aids in your application of the gained knowledge to your profession and your passion.  

My story is similar to Ms. Chisholm’sI am somewhat of a revolutionary, or as my mom would call me, headstrong. I have New York and Caribbean roots (Dad was Jamaican American), and I love my current full-time career as an assistant professor. Ms. Chisholm’s facts are easy to paraphrase for me because I so easily relate her life to my own story and experiences. We both possess one key element, which is that we both hold a commitment to social change. 

So, when you paraphrase, think of how you can relate the information to your own story. Here are some tips that may be helpful: 

1. Determine your interest: When reviewing your course assignments, find information that is of importance to you. The assignment is much easier to interpret when you have interest, even if it is just a small part of a chapter from a course assignment. 

2. Consider social change: I get it, there may not be any articles directly applicable to you or your background. Therefore, find content that encourages and inspires you to be a change agent. Ask yourself, what could you or what would you do differently from this article that would contribute to social change in your career field? 

3. Use those bright highlighters: Highlight and note parts of articles and chapters that stand out to you the most. Often times, those points will help you to understand the material from the article better. Highlighting also shows your professor that you know the text, which further helps you to understand the assignment with proper execution. 

4. Have no fear, my friend: Do not be fearful of words that you don’t know the definition of. Highlight those words and use the thesaurus tool in Microsoft or look up the meaning of the highlighted word. No harm in looking up the meaning of individual words to get your point across in a scholarly manner without copying something directly from the article.

5. And Again, re-read! There may be areas you may have missed or additional areas you want to highlight.
Plagiarism, Citations, and Quotations: In your reading, you may find out that an author’s description of a topic is clear, concise, and well written; therefore, it may be easy and effortless to just directly copy the content into your course assignment. Before you do, ask yourself, “did I give the author credit for their work?”“did I quote or paraphrase?”, and “is this something I would say in getting my point across about the content?”  

1. Professional Advice: Review your work. Ask yourself, “Is this what I want to say about this article?” “How did this article resonate with me?” “Did I cite facts?” “Did I properly give my interpretation of this article?” and the most critical question, “Did I answer my professor’s question?” 

2. Be confident: Most importantly, be confident! You are the author, so your text, your interpretation, or your story is vital for the learning experiences, not only for yourself but for everyone else who reads your writing.  

As you are crafting your own interpretation of something you read or are paraphrasing, picture it as the most exciting topic one has ever wanted to read. Spare no details and confidently present to the reader, as an author, your interpretation of what you read. Think about who you might be helping as a result of your storytelling.  

Patrese Nesbitt

Patrese Nesbitt is a writing intern at the Walden University Writing Center. She enjoys reading articles that are inspirational, in addition to doing research on how certain physical movement patterns help with mental health. As a doctoral candidate in Walden University’s Public Health Program, she is eager to find ways to intrinsically and extrinsically motivate people to live an improved and upgraded quality of life.

Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time