Recently, I had edited a thesis and a report. It was arduous and fun; arduous because I undermined the actual time it would take for me to ease into the role; fun because I felt like I’m on a ride, on top of the words, picking “gems”—some I throw away because they were mere debris, cluttering the scene, while some I polish because they have a place in there.

There was frustration at first while skimming the material, but simultaneously, in a strange, profound way, it made my heart flutter. I’ve discovered my love for words in high school, but only started writing after school. And now I’m editing.  Education, for me, has only just begun.

These days have been pivotal. Before, I felt it best for people to partake into my indecision—I let the world decide for me. But now I discovered I can make a solid decision for myself.

What I have learned from editing and proofreading someone’s work was meaning: It made me feel, even hope, that I’m adding a sliver of value to someone’s life through words, sometimes painfully omitting them, or peppering some in elusive crevices, similar to treating my own work.

It makes me think that improving ourselves and extending it to others, however small or subtle, is true art.

Seven days into it made me realize how much I assumed I know, what in fact I don’t, and how much I could do about it. My job in research made sense. Citation, indeed, is an art and it pays to know them well whenever necessary.

It also taught me how to be flexible, i.e., without relying heavily on computer. Doing most of the revisions on paper—slashes here, insertion there—allowed me to detect errors more easily. Despite the lack of space to insert words or phrases (line spacing was single), the limitation in itself helped me stretch out of my comfort zone. It was quite messy but interesting, tactile work.

I think I’m beginning to understand what connection means. Because it made me buy a blue pen.