It’s been a long, hard last four months, as the pressures of my academics and extracurricular activities required abundantly more time than I had ever anticipated. I had to sit back and really think what needed to be prioritized, just as I prioritized my work, and give myself a little bit of free time from the craziness of college life. For these last four months, I had to give up my outlet of writing for Odyssey, and it taught me some of the most valuable life lessons that I will take with me forever.

Being away taught me how to put myself first

If you know me, then you know that I ALWAYS put others needs, wants, and desires before those of my own. If I get a call with someone needing help, if I get asked to assist in a project, if I get asked just to go get lunch with a friend so they can rant, they know that I will drop nearly everything to be there. But, with 17 credits, an undergraduate research position, and two executive board positions in clubs that are large in size, I often had to prioritize my schoolwork and studies over running to help others.

And that meant putting Odyssey to the side.

Being away taught me that I really am passionate about writing

No, I may not write every week, and every article that I publish may not be the most interesting, but it truly is my outlet from the usual historical research papers with 100 citations and 5 books to include. If my articles can put a smile on one person’s face, then I know I did my job as a writer, and that means more to me than anything else. That, in and of itself, reminded me that I had to come back after these four months away.

Being away taught me how to love harder than I have before

New friendships, both rekindled and newly found, a new relationship, and heightened familial relationships were all a result of my time away from Odyssey. I was able to give myself to those whom I love the most and prioritize time with them when I had it instead of feeling the pressures and burdens of a deadline to write. But, they all knew, and I knew, that I missed my outlet far too deeply to let it go forever, making me realize that I can love all of these people, mending and creating new relationships, but I can use Odyssey to show my appreciation for all of them. And yes, there is no doubt in my mind that you will hear about most of these people.

Being away taught me to appreciate the opportunities that I am given

Being able to write for Odyssey every other week is an unprecedented opportunity that should never be taken for granted by the writers. I am so thankful that my freshman year, I scrolled upon some of the most well-written, thought-provoking articles that motivated me to apply to the community myself. I, too, hope that some of my articles hit home in the manner that some of those did to me just a few short months ago.

Although those four months away from Odyssey taught me so much about myself and those I love, this is an opportunity that I cannot let get away from me. The pride I feel in seeing my articles published and the commentary from those whom I love the most reminds me of why I escape from the realities of college once every other week and write about something that I never could produce in the classroom. When you’re passionate about someone or something, you learn how to incorporate it into your everyday life and somehow make it work, despite any and all circumstances, and that is something I seek to do with my writing for Odyssey.

It feels so, so good to be back…