Writing Is Part Of Who I Am, And It's Time That I Come To Terms With That

Writing Is Part Of Who I Am, And It's Time That I Come To Terms With That

Writing was part of my everyday life, my every moment.


English was always my favorite subject-- especially writing. The way that you could have more than one answer has always enthralled me. I could create new worlds simply with the flick of a pencil. Now, any honest elementary school teacher I had would tell you that I wasn't the next Emily Dickinson or JK Rowling, but I was alright once you got passed the spelling mistakes.

The invention of Google Docs helped me extend my love for writing. When I found myself waiting for my mom to finish her after-school meetings, I would be on the outdated computers typing away. My imagination was able to flow from my mind to the screen in front of me, and I would eagerly show my mom when she came to pick me up.

Often, I would keep writing through her multiple warnings to leave and would find myself scrambling to save my work after the lights were turned off. I wanted to be sure I could squeeze every last word out. I was fascinated that I could create a world just through words, that my imagination could become a physical thing that I could show others.

I don't remember when I stopped showing people my work. When I was in middle school and the early parts of high school I wrote constantly and was usually found in my bedroom on one of my parents' laptop. I found myself being open and vulnerable, expressing myself fully with my short stories and poems.

My young heart was poured into my work to its fullest extent. When I wasn't writing--which wasn't very often-- I was thinking about writing. My fingers danced across surfaces, imagining there was a keyboard underneath. Stories flowed out of me even when I wasn't trying to. Writing was part of my everyday life, my every moment.

My sophomore year I took a creative writing class. This was a horrible paradox. I loved writing, but I didn't want to show my writing. I told myself if they don't like my work, they don't like me. I found myself scrubbing my work, writing things that were basic and unextraordinary. Instead of expressing myself through my poems, I wrote pieces that were uninspired and impersonal.

My work became extremely censored and wasn't really my writing at all. I put as much distance as I possibly could between what I was writing and myself. I simply wrote what I needed to to get an A, and that was it. What I did write outside of class was kept private, read only by me. To the world, I wasn't a writer.

I tell some people I like to write, but they don't normally have any follow up questions. For that, I am thankful. However, one of my friends did follow up. They asked me how I come up with ideas for writing. This stumped me because really, I'm constantly writing.

I see the world in bits of poems and stories, each moment as an opportunity to write. I think about how life is so much better when it's observed to its fullest extent, about how every single detail makes a story. Overthinking is how I live my life, and what I believe makes my life more beautiful. My mind is wired to wander and create a story.

I have to express that I do not find myself to be a great writer. I don't hold myself to some high esteem, or believe that my words create magic on the page. I don't fool myself by believing that my poetry will one day be held to the same standards as Emily Dickinson, or I'll someday be a bestselling author like JK Rowling.

I also don't know if I'll share my true work with the people around me. My poems and my stories are the things that I consider to be private, and I don't know if I could handle criticism. Somewhere in the back of my head, there's the little girl who still believes if they don't like my work, they don't like me.

However, that doesn't mean that I'm not a writer. Being a writer is more than sharing your work. For me, writing is a way of expressing myself, a way of observing the world around me and a way to break down everything I'm thinking. It's the lens in which I view the world. In my heart, I am a writer, and I have started to come to terms with that.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.


Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100 percent real" and that incoming freshman should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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I Almost Left Odyssey And Stopped Writing, But I Didn't

And this is why I stayed.


Earlier this month, I don't know if it was my stress levels or what, but I contemplated leaving Odyssey as a whole. After releasing my "9 Websites That Will Throw You Back To 2008" article, it barely got any page views. After realizing this, I found out that after every article I wrote, the page views got lower and lower and lower, until they were barely hitting 40.

At the time of writing this, that article got 36 views, and the only successful article I've written to date is "6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming To College In Philly" which got over 320 views. That also happened to be the first article I ever put out. After coming to that realization I thought, "Why am I even a part of Odyssey if no one seems to care about what I'm writing?"

That thought led to a spiraling breakdown. I've been told that I was a good writer ever since elementary school when I got awarded for a personal narrative I wrote. Ever since I got the acknowledgment, I started to think that I was good at writing, so I started to pursue it more. In middle school, I went above and beyond on narratives and essays in English class. I continued to do this in high school as well, but I started to take more classes focused on writing, such as journalism and creative writing.

Once I came to college, the thought of me being a good writer started to diminish, until I started creative writing again. I started writing up listicles and different articles and would show them to my roommate. In the second semester of my freshman year, I found out about Odyssey and decided to let my "talent" shine through.

After my first article was released, I was ecstatic. The page view count was skyrocketing up to over 300. People that I didn't even talk to from high school shared my article with their friends. I thought that all of the articles I would write would do the same, and everyone would enjoy them. After I released my second article, I realized I was wrong.

My second article didn't do very well with views; it got under 40. At that time, I figured that I would have other articles that might do well. I was wrong about that too. While I have had one article exceed 100 views since then, I did notice that the view count started to go below that, then below 90, below 70, and now, below 50 and 40.

I began to have consistent thoughts in my head like, "I'm not a good writer," "I don't even know why I'm writing for Odyssey if no one likes what I'm putting out," and even as far as "Do people not read what I put out because they don't like me or care about what I do?"

I began to spiral for a whole week over not being a good enough writer and bouncing back and forth between whether or not I should quit. I talked to the people in Odyssey about how I was feeling about it, along with some of my other friends. They all told me the same thing:

"You joined Odyssey because you love to write. You said you've always loved to write. Don't let the number of views bring your self-confidence down about your skills. Numbers don't define who you are. Do what you love to do most."

After hearing so many people telling me this, I started to think. I do love writing. I've always loved writing. I shouldn't care about the numbers that come up. Most articles that do go viral either have clickbait titles or are very controversial.

If I'm not a fan of writing about controversial issues, it's not a problem. I chose to write for Odyssey in the first place because I love to write and I want to be able to have a voice and write what's on my mind. Everything that I've written has been topics that I'm interested in. It doesn't matter if anyone else is interested in them. I have this platform to show my voice, and that's exactly what I'm going to continue doing.

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