Despite Its Baggage, Working With Odyssey Was One Of The Best Decisions We Made

Despite Its Baggage, Working With Odyssey Was One Of The Best Decisions We Made

The job as both a writer and editor isn't perfect, but we wouldn't trade it for anything else.
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We're not going to claim to be the voices of all Odyssey editors, but we can represent ourselves.

Writing for Odyssey comes with a few misconceptions, like how when we share we write for Odyssey, many people give us a condescending look. We become glorified wannabe Buzzfeed writers that write either crappy clickbait listicles about Greek life, open letters rife with grammatical errors, or intentionally controversial articles that only exist to provoke (See: "Stop Calling My Drug Addiction A Disease").

And it is sufficient to say that the experience doesn't come without baggage: Writing a quality article every week of at least 500 words is not always feasible, especially when we have classes, work, sports, and the regular rigors of college life to balance. Naturally, having to write an article every week means we'll run out of ideas or opinions, and overall we have put out work that isn't our best.

In addition, being an editor means having to deal with pressure not for quality but for stats. While we have worked with incredibly friendly, encouraging, and helpful Managing Editors, it's clear what the message is from HQ: focus on page views. Focus on how many articles our team can put out every week. Make writers share on as many social media platforms as possible. Make sure all headlines read like tweets.

We have seen our articles and our writers' article headlines changed with no permission from them or from us whatsoever, in ways that don't even reflect the message of the articles anymore. It's clear at some point that articles aren't being valued for the amount of passion and effort put into each one, but for what will generate the most clicks and ad money for the site, despite most writers remaining largely unpaid.

It's clear that this isn't our editors' faults - they did their jobs. Like many talented teachers who have to "teach to a test" instead of actually teaching useful skills, we see our editors' ability to improve our writing largely wasted on trying to generate as many page views on articles as possible.

Needless to say, this shouldn't be the case.


But behind the negatives of the job and the writing experience belie something much greater: How much writing and editing for Odyssey has helped us grow. The one thing about the platform is that there is no specific restriction on what any writer could write about and that freedom and flexibility are what attract many people to the platform.

Being pushed to write an article every week has brought much more out of us than we ever thought we could write ourselves. Obviously, we'll exhaust ourselves of ideas, of material, of time. But being pushed to the wall like that and making it through leads us to learn a lot about ourselves and what we really care about. We started to write about people and organizations in our lives that we care about - and that's a kind of freedom that wouldn't have been allowed on any platform than Odyssey.

That isn't to say there aren't articles we've written that we weren't proud of. Between the two of us, we have both published probably 150 articles, and some of them were bound to be bad. But no matter what, they were ours. We felt 100% ownership in our articles, and each one, no matter how "bad" it was, really added to the complete pictures of ourselves as writers.

We weren't going to be absolutely on top of our game every single week. No one is. We weren't going to put out a masterpiece every single time we drafted up 1000 words. But maybe we changed the way one person saw something. Maybe writing about a certain person really made someone's day. The reach of our writing is really unknown, but, again, the fact that it was ours, and we did it on our own made us grateful no matter what.

Recently, our headlines had been changed in an effort to make them improve to the average reader and seem more appealing. We knew that was done with only the best of intentions, but that really made us cringe, because for the hours we spend on each article, that took away some of that ownership. It took away the one great thing about writing for Odyssey.

As editors, we have consistently been impressed by writers' content, and we have seen, as time has gone on, our writers grow as well. One kid that wrote under us hated writing when he began writing for Odyssey and thought of himself as a terrible writer. But after about ten articles, he grew much more confident in himself, venturing into articles about his racial identity when he wouldn't before. He started to really have fun in his work, and started really having people take notice of it.

It's a reality that not every single Odyssey writer is going to be a journalist or even a writer, but seeing these people come out of Odyssey with more faith in themselves and more confidence in their voice as writers, well, is the one reason we turn on a website with thousands of technical problems to edit 20 articles and still write our own when there are millions of other things to do.

At the end of the day, we are contributors first and foremost. Just like any of our other writers, the satisfaction we receive from each Facebook comment, each message from our moms or grandmas, each comment we receive from each other on the articles we're proud makes it feel worth it. For every clickbait piece we send out during weeks when there's not even time to sit and eat a full meal, there is another we send out on this site and know it makes a difference to someone, somewhere.

The job as both a writer and editor isn't perfect, and there sure is baggage that goes with it. But we wouldn't trade it for anything else. Being with Odyssey was one of the best decisions we could have made.

Cover Image Credit: Odyssey

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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