I've been writing for the Odyssey for about a year and a half and it's given me more than I expected.
I originally applies to write for the Odyssey at College of Charleston in hopes of getting some real-world writing experience and building a slight portfolio. I was certainly able to do that, but I also learned a few things along the way. Some of it has gone right along with the writing classes I take and some I don't think I would've learned without the Odyssey.
Writing for the web is hard, and that's one of the biggest lessons I've learned. It's hard to find something you like enough to write about, but also something others think is worth reading. I've come to know that if you don't like what you're writing about, no matter how popular it is among the masses, you're not going to have a good article, and it's better to have a great article that only a couple hundred people (or less) read than a bad article that will reach thousands of people.
Writing for yourself is a big part of the Odyssey and that's what makes it a great place to start. It has taught me how to find my next article topic, what style I should write it in, and how to best research for it, among other things.
Speaking of research: research for a web article is completely different from research for an essay. Figuring out what I should research for my articles is something that I know will come in handy for the future because it's far more casual than academic research. People don't want to read a works cited page so inserting links is one of the best and easiest ways to reference. It's also a great way to plug some of your own past articles in.
Probably the biggest lesson I've learned from the Odyssey is how I write and what I'm good at writing. I've been writing academic papers for so long that I almost forgot what it was like to write in a more casual style. In addition to learning what kind of articles I like to write, the Odyssey has reinvigorated my love of writing. I've been writing more creatively since I started the Odyssey at College of Charleston and I've found new passions in that.
While some may think the Odyssey is just college students writing clickbait articles, I think it is much, much more and can help writers grow and expand. So if you want a great opportunity, find your local Odyssey and start writing.