Why I Chose to Write for the Odyssey

Why I Chose to Write for the Odyssey

I can talk about what I feel and express myself.

Do you get paid? How much do you make? Do you have to do it for your school? Why do you do it?

I get asked these questions a lot when people see me. It may be just small talk or it may be genuine curiosity. However, when they ask me these questions, a swarm of thoughts and feelings pop up to answer the questions.

I think: the odyssey is an outlet for me. It gives me a place to go and talk about what I feel and express myself. My tweets show my annoyance about something trivial in my life, while my Facebook posts consist of numerous pictures of my past, eventful night. My Instagram has aesthetically (hopefully) pleasing pictures of me with my friends. However, nowhere on those platforms can I speak up about my personal thoughts and opinions on politics, college, relationships or life. The odyssey online gives me the opportunity to speak up about my past experiences and helps me reach other to others who may be in the same situation. It allows me to form thoughts and speak out.

I do not do it for the money or for the shares. I do it for myself. I want to look back and see what I was going through during my college career. Now, sitting here writing articles, hanging out with friends, studying for tests, I think I will forever remember these moments and thoughts. However, the truth is, I won’t. When I sat there in high school, listening to the teacher lecture me about cells, the mitochondria, and other confusing subjects, I thought I would be able to look back on the thoughts running through my mind at that moment with ease. However, after a couple months, those moments disappear because they are small and insignificant. By writing about my thoughts and publishing them allows me to catalog my opinions for when I want to look back.

With clubs, a social life, a job, and school, my plate is absolutely full. The odyssey only adds to that, however, it is something I do because it is rewarding. When I’m in the elevator chit-chatting with a friend and my friend surprises me by mentioning my article, I feel good. When someone comes to me and tells me they connected with last week’s article, I feel happy. Those little comments warm my heart because I see that it is impacting others. It not only connects with others, but I can also see myself growing throughout the process. The way I think, the way I write, the way I see the world is constantly evolving and my improvements show my growth in knowledge and experience.

So when I get those questions: Do you get paid? How much do you make? Do you have to do it for your school? Why do you do it?

I don’t give sit there and tell all of my reasons of why I choose to write for the Odyssey. Instead, I tell them a very simple answer, “I write because I enjoy it,” because that is the significant and sincere answer I have for them – I write because I truly, genuinely enjoy it.

Cover Image Credit: denisaoosthuizen

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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This One’s For Africa


Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.


It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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