There are dozens of different articles written on Odyssey about why that given person decided to write, and I can assure you that this article will not be like any of the others. Simply because I joined the Odyssey for a reason I don't think anyone else did.
I might be a Communication's major, but I didn't join for that reason. I might get the chance to be heard, but that wasn't the reason I joined. I may have improved my writing significantly, but again that isn't why I joined. I originally joined Odyssey to impact people. But I quickly discovered that I was not just impacting the strangers who happen to click on my articles, but as an editor-in-chief, I am impacting the Content Creators on my team.
The way Odyssey works is by splitting Content Creators into teams, called Communities. My Community is the Saginaw Valley State University Community. In the beginning of the summer, after several months as a Content Creator, I became Editor-In-Chief of the small team and worked to make my team a strong voice on SVSU's campus. I started with less than 10 writers on my team. After a lot of hard work, we are now nearing 30 writers. And those 30 people are the reason I'm here.
I strive to make sure that my Content Creators make an impact. After all, that's what they write for. I push them to share as much as they can, I suggest ideas, help brainstorm headlines, decide how to make a topic more relatable, and edit their work. I eagerly meet with potential new Content Creators, and get to share with them the ability to publish their thoughts and ideas through Odyssey's website. And at first, I thought that's what being Editor-In-Chief meant, just pushing them to be the best Content Creators they could be.
But God had a different plan for me.
I am a strong believer that everyone comes into your life for a reason, and I'm starting to discover that every Content Creator that comes into my community is walking into my life because we need each other. I have supported some of these amazing people through break ups, through depression, through hard times, through loss of loved ones, and through failing grades. I have given each of these Creators an opportunity to not only be heard, but to be appreciated. I encourage them to step outside their comfort zone, to put their words to good use, to improve themselves and not be quiet when the world tells them to. I believe that every one of my Content Creators have walked into my life because we needed each other, but I don't think they know how much they truly mean to me.
Before Odyssey, I didn't belong. I didn't have my "place" or my own "thing." I felt stuck, I felt alone, and I felt like I wasn't heard. But now, I have a group of people that surround me and want to be here, that support me, that lift me up, that love me. My community is my home, they are my people, they are my best friends, and every single person that joins my team holds a special place in my heart. Thanks to my Creators, I have my family. Thanks to Odyssey, I have a home.
One of my Content Creators has become my right hand, my life saver, my Co-Editor and my best friend. Maddie joined the team, and became my Co-Editor right when she began going through a rough break up. I knew what it felt like to go through a hurtful break up alone, and the day she sent me the text that they were over was the day I told her she would never be without me. Today, Maddie is attached at my hip, my best friend, and has taught me that my soul is beautiful. Thanks to Odyssey, I have Maddie.
Some of my Content Creators I knew before I was even part of Odyssey, just from mutual friends and SVSU being a small college. But once we had Odyssey in common, we had something to share. Now my phone is flooded with group messages, laughs are common and we exchange hugs in the hallways while we're running to our next classes. Thanks to Odyssey, my acquaintances have become my closest friends.
Many of my Creators I didn't know before Odyssey. They joined for their own reason, and I anxiously awaited to publish their first article. I crave to help them become better writers, I strive to push them to be the best they can be, I get excited when they succeed, and I help them when they want to be better. I always make sure that I make myself available to the members I didn't know before they join, and I get excited to create that relationship with them. When they joined the team, they joined to write but they ended up with me. Thanks to Odyssey, strangers are now my family.
God has shown me Odyssey is more than just the articles, it's about changing the lives of the people around me. It's more than the people who click on our articles, it's about this team.
It's about MY team.
To my Content Creators:
Thank you. Thank you for giving me undeniable love. Thank you for giving me a place to call my own. Thank you for putting up with me in meetings, late night texts, long group messages, lots of emails, and stopping to hug me between classes. Thank you for listening to me when I have a bad day, for sitting with me in the library, for joining me at the bar on Thursday nights and laughing at my stupid jokes. I honestly don't think that you know how much I truly love each and every one of you. You joined the team to write, but you ended up meaning the world to me.
I promise to always put your progress first, in your life and your writing. I promise to always cheer you on, with school, your life, your relationships, your writing and your everything. I promise to always be there to listen to you, whether it be a 3 am phone call, or lunch on campus. I promise to support you, to never judge you, to help you through your hard times, to celebrate your good times, and to remind you that you mean something- because to me, you are everything.
You gave me a place when I didn't have one. Not only did you provide me knowledge and give me the ability to learn my field by providing me the ability to be an Editor-In-Chief, but you gave me a voice I didn't have. You turned on a light within me that I didn't know I had. You ended my endless search for a career (Maybe ya'll can hire me after I graduate?) You gave me a chance to change the lives of the people who read my articles, the people who join my team, the people that ask what the Odyssey is. You changed my life. Without you, I don't know where I would be.
It's not about the articles anymore, it's about the people we impact. I love that.
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