Goodbye Odyssey, And Thank You

Goodbye Odyssey, And Thank You

I never intended to join a publication, but I have no regrets for choosing to do so.
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In June 2016, one week after my high school graduation, I published my first article as a writer for Odyssey. It was right after the horrible shooting at the Pulse nightclub took place, and I remember feeling extremely heavy hearted for all the innocent lives lost, but I was just as much afraid about the backlash the Muslim community would face. I mustered up all my feelings and wrote my first piece titled, “Why Guys Like the Orlando Shooter Threaten My American Identity.” Before it was published, I was anxious, but most importantly, I felt relieved because writing that piece allowed me to collect my thoughts and express them in a manner where others could relate as well.

Originally, I had no intention to join a publication. Writing has always been something that I enjoyed but never to a point that I actually wanted to take time out for. I stumbled upon a Facebook recruitment post on the new Emory Class of 2020 page on Facebook and felt intrigued by the platform. I scanned the website and started to read some articles. It immediately stood out to me that there was no specific restriction to what one could write about.

From personal narratives to news stories to fictional pieces, Odyssey catered to all types of people who just needed an outlet for their thoughts, and I appreciated that. As someone who is not apathetic and cares a lot about what is happening around in the world, I thought it would be fair to give this a shot and see how it works out. Once I became a part of the team, I immediately felt the pressure to write something that would be “good.” But as previously stated, the Pulse shooting came about, and it made me forget about writing a good piece to simply wanting to write about what I had on my mind and wanted to communicate to others.

It was great to be able to write about whatever the good and bad was going around me and then reflecting upon it, getting the facts, and getting it all out. I knew what I was writing was helping me, but I didn’t understand the power of writing until one of my articles accomplished something I would have never imagined.

Towards the end of August, just a week or so after I started my first year of college, I heard from my roommate how one of her friends at high school had their assistant principal blame girls at their school for the boys’ low grades. Appalled by the official’s behavior, I obtained the audio and wrote an article calling the official out.

Before I knew it, it had over 12,000 shares overnight and it had started a conversation that wasn’t there before. I didn’t quite understand the scope of the platform until I received messages from Houston’s news sources on Facebook asking me to comment on the situation and learning that local news channel went to the school to interview the students about the incident.

Within a couple days, the article had been shared over 23,000 times and the story was being covered by news channels in Houston. And because of this, the school district officially released a statement condemning the school official’s words and ensuring that action would be taken to prevent future scenarios from taking place. I would say throughout my time at Odyssey, this was my biggest accomplishment, and I’m thankful that this platform allowed me to make a difference.

Unfortunately, as the school year picked up, it became increasingly hard to keep up with the consecutive articles. I had to go from writing about topics I really cared about to Buzzfeed style lists where I was simply creating content for the sake of creating it, rather than taking time and effort into things I cared about. I think when it hit me that I no longer enjoyed writing, I knew it was time for me to stop. Although I will miss writing for Odyssey, I am grateful for the opportunity it gave me to have an outlet for my thoughts.

I am also thankful for the people that I met through this platform. I was able to bond with the other writers and get to know them better in person. I would also like to thank my editor, Ryan Fan, who had a big hand in a lot my success and just me improving as a writer. I admire him a lot because of his hard work and devotion to his job and how much time he invests in getting to know his writers. Ryan made sure to get to know me and help me out other than just Odyssey or writing-related issues. His encouragement and advice meant a lot to me, and I am glad I got to know someone like him through Odyssey.

My time at Odyssey was fun regardless of how short lived it was, and I couldn’t be happier with myself for choosing to join it.
Cover Image Credit: the Odyssey

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50 Things to Do When You're Bored and Completely Alone

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For people like me, spring break is a time where you come home and have absolutely nothing to do. You're parents work all day and you're either sibling-less or your siblings have already moved out. Most of your friends are on the semester system, so your breaks don't line up. You're bored and completely alone.

Although while being alone sounds boring, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with yourself. There is a plethora of unique and creative things you can do. Netflix marathon? That's overdone. Doing something productive or worthwhile? You do enough of that in school anyway. Whatever the reason is for you being alone, I have assembled a list of unique things to do to cure your boredom.

SEE ALSO: 50 Things To Do Instead of Finishing Your Homework

  1. Have a solo dance party.
  2. Teach yourself how to do an Australian accent (or any accent for that matter).
  3. Learn how to play harmonica (or any instrument for that matter).
  4. Buy an at home workout DVD.
  5. Bake a cake (and eat the whole thing for yourself).
  6. Take a rollaway chair and ride it down the driveway.
  7. Paint a self-portrait.
  8. Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  9. Become a master at air-guitar.
  10. Perform a concert (just for yourself).
  11. Write a novel.
  12. Become an expert on quantum mechanics.
  13. Give yourself a new hairdo.
  14. Knit a sweater (if you don't know how, learn).
  15. Make a bunch of origami paper cranes and decorate your house with them.
  16. Make homemade popsicles.
  17. Reorganize your entire closet.
  18. Put together a funky new outfit.
  19. Make a short film.
  20. Try to hold a handstand for as long as possible.
  21. Memorize the lyrics to all of your favorite songs.
  22. Create a website.
  23. Go on Club Penguin and troll a bunch of children.
  24. Become your favorite fictional character.
  25. Become your favorite animal.
  26. Practice your autograph for when you become famous.
  27. Create a magical potion.
  28. Learn a few spells.
  29. Learn how to become a Jedi.
  30. Put the TV on mute and overdub it with your own voice.
  31. Make paper hats with old newspapers.
  32. Become a master at jump roping tricks.
  33. Create music playlists based on random things, like colors.
  34. Find a chunk of wood and carve something out of it.
  35. Find something that doesn't have a Wikipedia page and create one for it.
  36. Create a full course meal based on whatever's in your kitchen.
  37. Teach your pet a new trick.
  38. Take a bunch of artsy photographs.
  39. Make a scrapbook.
  40. Learn a bunch of new words and incorporate them into your speech.
  41. Try to draw the most perfect circle without using a compass.
  42. Make your own board game.
  43. Memorize some poetry well enough so you can recite it.
  44. Build a fleet of sailboats and float them in your bathtub/pool.
  45. Write a song.
  46. Practice picking locks.
  47. Make a drum kit out of random household items and play it.
  48. Draw a tattoo on yourself.
  49. Give yourself a new piercing.
  50. Figure out the meaning of life.
Cover Image Credit: Josh

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Entering My Second Act

Realizing I can still become that thing I always wanted to be.

Janine
Janine
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Tonight, I was watching the five o'clock news, and there was a segment on new tv shows that the network will be releasing for the fall. One that caught my eye was called "Carol's Second Act." A woman named Carol has recently become an empty nester, a divorcee, and has retired from her teaching career. Embarking on her 50's she decides to finally achieve her dream of…being a doctor. This character has decided that it's not too late, and it made me wonder if the same applied to me.

I had done the college thing, and my career was split between being an administrative assistant and a medical assistant (yep, totally didn't get a BA to do either of those things). After that, I became a stay at home mom to my three boys. As they're getting older, I am finding that maybe it's time for me to figure out what my "second act" will be.

During my stint as a college student, I had no clue as to what I really wanted to do with myself. My main goal was to finish college. So, wherever most of my credits fell, that would be my major. Thanks to my degree audit (that's what it's called, right? It's been a while for me), it was determined that I was to become an English Language Arts major aka Liberal Arts Degree. As part of my degree requirements, there were several English classes I needed to take, one of which was a creative writing class. I hadn't written anything creative since high school. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did I think it was a career choice at that time? Nope. My parents were pushing me towards a "real" job. Some acceptable choices were police officer, nurse, or anything that required a civil service exam. The writing courses at school became something to bring me closer to attaining that beloved Bachelor of Arts.

Years went by, and I wound up in a writing class at the local library. I took the class on a whim, thinking nothing of it. It was in that small class that I was reminded that I have the capacity to tell a story. I had people that were just getting to know me tell me that I have some potential. Then came a class at the community college. Again, I am validated as a writer. Writing was becoming less of a hobby and becoming something that I wanted to do full time. I knew it was time to pursue the one thing that I've always wanted to do: become a writer.

Yes, a lot of people emit those words, and I am glad to be among them. But I am finally confident enough to throw my hat into the ring and begin my own second act. I may not be the same age as Carol, but I am reaching a milestone age that leads most people to reflect on where the next part of their life is heading. Mine is leading me towards writing. Will I hit it big? I sure hope so. But, if I don't, I will still be happy with the fact that I went for it. However, my second act will end, I will be satisfied knowing that I did not give up on my dream.

Janine
Janine

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