The First Week of Editing

After a very interesting week of classes, on the 11th of June, we split up into editing and design. I knew the classes would take place separately, but when I walked into class that day, it felt a bit odd without the design students (although they were just next door!). I had already got used to there being 11 of us, each with our self-chosen seats. Now there were just eight. Eight people I already felt very familiar with. The first few days of the course had been a bit odd, since we were new to the school and new to each other. We either looked at our phones or at the beautiful pictures on the walls to avoid awkward conversations. Now, however, we were perfectly comfortable with each other and sat in our classroom, idly chatting until Bishan Samaddar, our teacher (who requested that we do not call him sir), entered. I was really excited, as this was the part I was most looking forward to. I wanted assignments, I wanted to do grammar and punctuation. We started off with punctuation. Bishan said we’ll be learning about the comma first. ‘That should be fairly easy,’ I thought. Commas were common, and we had been taught in school to use them as much as possible. But no. There were a lot of things about commas I did not know. The first rule was that we should not overuse the comma. There were several terms I was new to, such as subordinate clauses, main clauses, and the Oxford comma (which I have made use of in this sentence!). We learnt about the difference between em dashes, en dashes and hyphens. In fact, there was so much I didn’t know that I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but it was easy enough to grasp and Bishan was extremely patient and helpful. We were also taught proofreading marks that were made in the margins to correct punctuation and grammar in manuscripts. I had wondered why we had been given a red pen along with our file and notebook on the first day, and now it became clear. We were given an assignment on proofreading, which I found tough at first because I was unfamiliar with the symbols, but by the time I was done, it was a lot easier. I didn’t feel uncomfortable about asking questions, however silly they seemed, to Bishan, because he was extremely friendly and helpful (as all the other teachers have been).

We have a coffee break after an hour and a half of class, during which we are given steaming hot cups of coffee with biscuits (I am guilty of eating too many of these). We sit in the neighbouring room, either looking through the amazing books on the shelves, or silently sipping on coffee. In school and college, I hated that the breaks got over so soon, but here I don’t mind so much. Our classroom is beautifully decorated and a lovely environment to learn in. The air conditioner is a welcome relief after the heat outside, although half of us find it too cold and the other half don’t find it cold enough, but we manage to strike a balance.

Well, that was my first week of editing. I have to admit that I was extremely nervous about writing this, because after those few classes, I realized I didn’t know as much about the English language as I thought I did. I know that my grammar and punctuation will come under scrutiny here more than anywhere else, and I was never much of a writer in the first place. I had to share how lovely my experience has been so far though, so I hope you will excuse the mediocre language and the several errors I’m sure are present.

I was really looking forward to this course and it has lived up to (I would even say has surpassed) my expectations. All I can say is, I am looking forward to the next two and a half months, and I’m already dreading it coming to an end.

Daya Subramanian

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