The Intern Diaries: Goodbye Oxford

This is a post series for me to share my thoughts about interning, but also to share what I have learned in office with all of you!

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It's kind of crazy to me that Thursday was my last day at Oxford because it feels like only yesterday was my last day at Bloomsbury. Time flies way too fast, and I was very sad to leave.

And that's not only because I had the most awesome office ever:

A photo posted by Lili (@lilifeinberg) on

Yeah, it was kind of the coolest thing ever to walk into a room where I was surrounded by books everyday.

But, on top of that, this experience was so amazing for me. As book people, we all have a passion for words because words can be strung together beautifully to create mind-blowing stories. And being able to spend 10 weeks exploring old words, new words, potential future words, and the surprising history of questionable words (I am talking about you, twerk), made me love them even more.

I live my life by a quote from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: "I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."

One thing I've learned at this internship is that words are...crazy to say the least. For every uplifting word out there, there's a weird word like gerrymander with strange origins, or unstranslatable words that describe you perfectly but don't yet fit into our language (thanks Japan for giving me tsundoku because this is literally the story of my life), or words with meanings that have evolved to almost mean the opposite of what they used to mean, like literally, there are bad words meant to hurt people, too. It's kind of scary just how long and creative the list of racial slurs is. But I suppose this is part of language evolving, and simply part of life. The language I'm speaking now is not going to be the same language I speak in a decade. The language of book lovers is like gibberish to computer programmers, just as sailors don't understand the language of fan-fiction and soccer fans may be stumped by gardeners. It's kind of crazy how different community's and spheres create their own tongues, you know?

At Oxford, I had the pleasure of seeing a ton of words added to the dictionary, a few words that will be added in the near future, and even more words that are currently being researched for potential additions. And I'm really proud of my work there. To see words for different sexuality's enter the dictionary is amazing, to see uplifting terms that counter racism is moving, to see words that promote equality and positivity instill pride in me, and to see new words that are just plain cool and interesting is pretty rad, too. It balances out the fact that words can be pretty terrible at times, and reminds me that though words are damn powerful, they're often used for the better.

I loved this internship, and one day I very much hope to walk Oxford's halls again. Not even gonna lie, the wallpaper is pretty fascinating. ;)

6 comments:

  1. Its always sad to leave something that you love, but think of it as a new beginning. I would love to be surrounded by books. Great post.

    Grace @ Books of Love

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  2. Sounds like you had such a great experience! And a gorgeous office :') Language is really such a remarkable tool and and you pointed out so many things that are mind-boggling to consider -- like the way different groups form their own language, and the way that language is constantly evolving in so many different ways. And THANK YOU for exposing me to "tsundoku" as well. ;)
    - Lina @ Every Book a World

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    1. They were all "we are putting you in our library, sorry" on my first day and I was like THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME! lol

      Tsundoku is life, Lina. I am so happy you can experience it with me ;) haha

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  3. It sounds like it was a such a fascinating internship! I've always had a fascination for unusual words, and it's really interesting to me that you were able to experience so many different words during your internship in a unique way. Plus, that office is amazing!

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    1. Right?! I am so sad about leaving that office!

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