Two weeks ago, I started a new and huge chapter in my life. I was blessed to have amazing roommates, friends that served as unconditional support, and a loving boyfriend, but I still found myself nervous and anxious for the incoming school year.
I'm a transfer student. There, I said it. I don't like bringing it up in conversations unless directly asked, as even though there's really nothing to be ashamed about, there is always a small feeling of doubt and apprehension in my mind when I first meet someone- Am I good enough to be here? Do you think of me differently once you know? Will you look at me and say, "Oh... you are?"
And yet, as the quarter started, I found myself not caring. I threw myself into my work and meeting new people and reconnecting with old. This confidence, this basis of my interaction was first formed because I applied to the online community of passionate, diverse, and incredibly welcoming people that is the UCLA Odyssey team.
If you're reading this, and you're an incoming student (whether a transfer or a freshman) or even someone who's been here but is just now considering getting more involved, here are 5 reasons why I urge you to join Odyssey.
1. The FreedomGiphy
Creativity is hard. If you're in college, or even in the workforce, it's extremely difficult to find the time to explore your passions and hobbies. If you have ever been passionate about a topic and you found that there's not that much information about it, or if you've ever stumbled across a piece of work on Facebook or other socials, and thought to yourself, "Wow, I kind of wish I could hear from a different perspective," or, "Wow, I kind of wish this was written in a better way," The Odyssey is the space for you. Simply browsing through the homepage of this diverse publication yields hundreds of articles, all about different topics. If you're a sports fanatic, we welcome you with open arms to write about your take on the game last weekend. If you're into fashion and beauty, please, go ahead and write that scathing review on a makeup brand you discovered yesterday. If you're into poetry, short stories, and odes to those you love most in your life, Odyssey is here for you.
2. The Group ChatGiphy
On the first day of my entry into this wonderful space, I was introduced to the UCLA Odyssey group chat. Since then, the chat has been alive and filled with helpful advice, emotional support, and amazing memes. Sure, we talk business- article deadlines, revisions, and writing prompts, but we also discuss and share things we find interesting and are constantly supporting each other and checking in. If you're looking for a welcoming community, or simply a few more friends to share and discuss with, the chat is the place for you!
3. The TeamGiphy
"Writing for the Odyssey is supposed to be a fun experience for you! Don't stress so much about it." -C.C.
From the heartwarming, weekly emails from our President, Izzy, to the guidance of our Community Strategist, Kat, the Odyssey UCLA team is unlike any other I've ever met. I wrote for the school paper in High School, and briefly for another online publication during my first two years of college, but my experiences there are so vastly different from my time so far in Odyssey. Yes, there's weekly deadline. Yes, you're encouraged to share the pieces you write- but as long as you just shoot out a quick message and let people know, everyone continues to be incredibly understanding and supportive. I went through a rough month about a couple weeks after joining, but I felt no pressure from anyone to push myself beyond my capabilities. I now look forward to our gossip threads, discussions about the best places to eat, and the vibrancy of the people I write alongside with.
4. The ExperienceGiphy
Writing is an important skill. I don't care if you're an English or a Biochemistry major, chances are that you'll have to take a writing class, or send an important email to a professor or workplace. Odyssey is a great place to hone your writing while also having fun. Since joining, I've already begun to polish off my rusty writing skills, and I find myself all the better for it. What's a better way to improve yourself while also expressing your opinions on the things that matter to you the most?
5. The MemoriesGiphy
We're all meeting up for the first time this quarter this week, and I am stoked. In the last couple of months, I've talked to and shared so many fun and deep memories with this incredible group of people. They've made my transition so much better, and we will do the same for you! If you're active, even just a little bit, you'll find someone who shares so many similarities with you. Spending late nights talking about past flings or that amazing bowl or ramen you just had, or simply just reading and sharing personal stories creates a bond like none other. Odyssey is so much more than just a newspaper- it's a living and breathing community of people who are always looking to welcome our next member.
If this sounds like a good time, go ahead and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (if you're in the UCLA area), or simply click that little "apply" button at www.theodysseyonline.com/core/in/ and get your story started.