The first thing people usually say when I tell them I work in the writing center is "oh, that's so cool. I should do that. I'm great at editing." Sometimes I just smile and nod, while to others, I utter, “But we're not editors.” And the truth is, we are not editors. The writing center is available to help college students with their writing process: analyzing, organizing, the whole work. Yet, we are "not supposed to edit" because at the end of the day, it is not our paper. It would be easy to give someone all of the answers, put in the right words for them, and make it sound pretty, but to whose advantage? We might be spoon feeding them their “A” but we would be doing it with a scoop of plagiarism on the side. So we can't simply edit. And it's frustrating. But it's also immensely rewarding.

The session usually starts off pretty well. We introduce each other, review the assignment, and begin to brainstorm.

Today, we decide, we are going to come up with a thesis. Although we both may start off with fresh, bright smiles, pretty soon those smiles can fade away.

The student is frustrated. She has been going in circles for forty-five minutes trying to figure out one line. She realizes that once she gets that line, she can make her outline. Once she makes her outline – it will be smooth sailing. But as much as she might realize it, in the height of the session, she is still frustrated. Can't we just figure out the necessary line already??

And the tutor, she is at a loss. Part of her knows that feeding a student her thesis is not what she is there for, but is also not to the advantage of the student. But as much as that rationale might be going through her head, she takes one look at the student – close to tears – and the tutor wants to cry herself. And the harder the student works, the harder the student struggles to come up with the answer, the more the tutor endeavors to invent new approaches and to make her message clear.

And it goes back and forth. The student finds an idea, but then finds it won't work. And just as you think it’s never ending, as nothing good is ever going to come out of this hour wasted on making a thesis, she gets it.

The student writes a thesis. A good thesis. And both the student and the tutor's smiles are unforgettable. Much bigger than the smile would have been had the tutor "caved in" and simply spoon fed a thesis.

G‑d is not a writing center tutor. But we are all students. Sometimes we barge into his "writing center" the day before a paper is due. We just want an easy way to finish the assignment and we don't care what we get out of it. Sometimes we just want to sit down, give up, and have G‑d write our paper for us. We tried, it failed, and we are done. But other times we walk into His office with a smile on our face. We talk to G‑d and let him know how hard this is for us. We want to learn, we want to know what’s right, and we want to able to do it, but we just can't seem to figure it out. We tell G‑d we need help. We are frustrated. We beg G‑d to help us.

And while a writing center tutor might get lost in the panic, might give in and spoon feed a thesis, G‑d is not a writing center tutor. But G‑d does care. And so when we cry, G‑d cries with us, yet His eye is always on the goal; only ours sometimes gets lost.

Life is a challenge. Yet it's made for us to work through. Because when we really try, despite our failures, despite our periods of discouragement, when we really put in all of our effort and when we really want to come out with a deeper understanding, G‑d will help us write our thesis.