A delightful internship

by Haley Woods

Haley Woods, an English major at the University of Central Florida, wrote this reflection for an internship during the Fall 2021 semester.

Throughout my experiences at UCF, I’ve never been so lucky to participate in a wonderful internship opportunity like this. My name is Haley Woods, I’m a Sophomore at UCF, and by engaging in this wonderful experiential learning opportunity, I’ve been able to expand my current vocabulary array, learn more about the proofreading process, and gain amazing insights from those I worked with during my Fall internship.

Who was Samuel Johnson?

For historical context, Samuel Johnson, also known as Dr. Johnson at the time, was an English poet, dramatist, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. Johnson’s Dictionary was the first to attempt to standardize the spelling of words by using literary quotations from authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden to illustrate the meanings. Moreover, Johnson offered remarks about a word’s usage rather than simply being descriptive. I think the online format accustomed to Samuel Johnson’s Online Dictionary is a wonderful resource for multiple generations to attain. The main goal of proofreading is to increase the paper’s quality by ensuring that there are no lingering flaws and correcting broad discourse errors or inconsistencies in the composition. In essence, I’ve learned that I need to make sure I have a clear communication aim.

For someone whose major is in the College of Arts and Humanities here at UCF, I’m deeply appreciative of this internship that’s involved in the context and purpose that a diverse array of words can have within a narrative. Over the course of this Fall semester, I proofread approximately 1,248 words, ranging mostly in words starting with the letter “I”. The work that I contributed to this collective assignment was incredibly helpful in terms of assisting with errors related grammar & syntax, correcting definitions with words, and checking on cultural or geographical origins and context from the various phrases. In this experiential learning occasion, I learned that a proofreader traditionally compares an increment of text on the copy to the matching typeset increment, then marks any errors (also referred to as ‘line edits’) using standard proofreaders’ markings.

“Words” to the Wise

Some of my favorite words that I chose to explain during this fantastic internship include, “Infatuate”, “Unfruitful; infertile”, “Insusurration”, “Intromit” and “Jolly”. I chose “Infatuate” for my first real week working on the proofreading spreadsheet, as the majority of my proofreading set entailed “I”-related words. I also chose “Infatuate” because it reminded me of something I’d heard before; among my friends and family, we have an inside joke about how obsessed I am with anything linked to “Phantom of the Opera.” I’ve loved this specific musical since I was about eight years old; in high school, I wrote a report based on Gaston Leroux’s original short tale, and I’ve seen at least two or three off-Broadway productions in the previous several years. Sierra Boggess and Norm Lewis, the first African American Phantom on Broadway, were two of the most prominent actors from Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera,” that I had the absolute pleasure of meeting a few years ago.

Regarding “Unfruitful: infertile”, (both definitions were conjoined since they were similar in purpose) the rationale for this choice is that in high school, I read Annie Dillard’s novel “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”. “Fecundity” was the subject of one of the chapters in this book, and it discussed the terrifying beauty that nature encompasses. My senior year English class read “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” as a class, with my personal study group focusing on the “Fecundity” chapter. Because of the numerous examples of nature’s prolific reproduction, the aforementioned phrase and its explanation have resonated with me. The context of the word, “Insusurration” is simply known as the act of whispering. I really like the meaning of this word because it already sounds like you’re shushing someone, even though I don’t like to do that simply because I believe it to be rude when unsolicited.

Another collection of interesting words I discovered includes “Innoxious”, “Ingot” and “Insectator”. “Innoxious” means not noxious or harmless and “Ingot” means a block of steel, gold, silver, or other metal, typically oblong in shape. Finally, an “Insectator” means a pursuer; a persecutor; a censorious critic. The one thing that these words have in common is that I’d never heard of them before; at the moment of analyzing their state within the online database, I was intrigued by their originality. As a result, I posted them as my word of the week for a weekly check-in for the internship. And of course, I chose “Jolly”, meaning ‘Gay; merry; airy; cheerful; lively; jovial’ because of the upcoming holiday season that I’m eagerly looking forward to!

What Have I Learned?

When I started working on this experiential learning encounter, it’s extremely important to acknowledge that I’d never participated in an internship of this kind before, let alone any kind of internship at all. To say I was nervous is an egregious understatement. However, the atmosphere amongst the community was extremely welcoming and accepting of manifold audiences & backgrounds. If ever I had any issues with double checking a word for proper proofreading, I was assured that help would happily be provided from head members of the internship, as well as fellow team members who worked alongside me in the spreadsheet. Proofreading is a portion of the editing process for creative writers that entails re-reading your own or someone else’s work in order to discover faults such as typos, grammatical errors, formatting flaws, and missing words.

Regarding my position for this experiential learning experience, I was given the opportunity to proofread an array of diverse words within the Online Dictionary. This position allowed me to obtain behind-the-scenes access to spreadsheets involved with words collected, defined and utilized within the Online Dictionary. This work greatly impacted me because I learned about the tireless and intellectually challenging work that goes into proofreading vast arrays of words. As an English Creative Writing Major, it’s extremely important to know a multitude of phrases that properly represent any narrative choices I include in any of my own original works. The main goal of proofreading is to increase the paper’s quality by ensuring that there are no lingering flaws and correcting broad discourse errors or inconsistencies in the composition. In essence, I’ve learnt that I need to make sure I have a clear communication aim.

In conclusion, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been a part of such a delightful internship and I hope to continue this academic relationship in my future collegiate pursuits.