What Over 730 Days At Odyssey Has Given Me

What Over 730 Days At Odyssey Has Given Me

Having written with Odyssey for more than two years, I've seen, and learned, a thing or two.


As I sit here writing my 77th article for the Odyssey Online, I marvel at my two-year stint with the organization.

When I began writing for the Odyssey at the close of July 2016, everything was in a state of flux. I was preparing to leave my home and my state which had been my abode for near 18 years to move 800 miles south to live in a strange city amongst fellow strangers.

As a nation, the United States was in a bind between a boisterous billionaire demagogue and a corrupt bureaucrat looking to forge a win by means of a political dynasty. Not knowing who the next leader of the free world would be had everyone walking on eggshells, with the added knowledge that finding out who was next wouldn't necessarily alleviate any of that anxiety.

And again in my own personal life, I was in the midst of a contentious romantic relationship, which had its own inefficacies exacerbated by the two aforementioned instances of chaos. Not only did we have a degree of political disagreement, but we were also going to colleges separated by extreme distances: me to Atlanta and she to St. Louis.

This was the world that I occupied at the beginning of my Odyssey career. It was a time of great tumult in my life and, as we all know, such strife usually breeds great creative potential. Of course, this sort of broader picture wasn't in my mind at the time. I was much more concerned with what sort of meal plan I'd be getting and if I'd get along with my roommate than with any kind of lofty blogging ambitions.

Still, when Ryan Fan came knocking, I was eager to join. I was already an avid writer and with everything going on, I definitely had some things to say.

Odyssey gave me a voice.

Maybe that sounds corny, but really in the beginning and through to today that was my objective: to say something of significance. To be heard.

Now, I'll be upfront with you. In my two years, I've written my fair share of Buzzfeed-esque, top 10, clickbait-y articles. Yet, in the majority of cases I've used Odyssey as a platform to pontificate ideas worth sharing, from depression to love to sports culture to the biggest political issues of the day. And in the majority of cases I've gotten fantastic feedback from all points of view and wonderful support on virtually everything I've written.

And that sort of repetitive production, turning out an article per week for the better part of my career, has strengthened me as a writer in incredible ways.

I think it's also not very much a secret that motivation (or lack thereof) is one of the greatest opponents of writers everywhere. So, to have an entire community out in support of you (and more importantly an editor gently nudging you along) more than helps in that department. The one per week system has forced me to be more deliberate with my writing, not to mention that the only way to get better at something is, in fact, to do it.

As I look back appreciatively at what Odyssey has given to me these two years gone, I can't help but to remember that growth. That I've gone from merely hitting an issue head on to examining it from many different angles in a more nuanced stance is something that Odyssey is directly responsible for.

As I'm staring down the next two years of college I find myself even more appreciative. Appreciative of my time at an institution like Emory and appreciative of this opportunity to cry out into the void.

The future at points may be uncertain and it is more than sure to be tumultuous, but as long as I have something to say and somewhere to say it I can rest assured in my ability to be a part of the conversation and, more powerfully, to shape the future.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Don't Forget About Self-Love

It's been a long winter, don't forget to put yourself first.


For most people, spring break still isn't for another few weeks and let's be honest - it's very needed at this point. January felt like five months just by itself and it feels like winter has been going on for years. So amidst midterms, jobs, events, and everything else going on remember that sometimes you need to put yourself first.

It doesn't help anyone for you to be constantly busy and beating yourself up when one thing goes wrong. This especially doesn't help you. Everyone is feeling pressure from something, and no one is going to blame you for using some of your free time to get yourself back on track. You're much more useful when you're cup is full than when you're completely drained from trying to do everything at all times.

In college, we learn to be people-pleasers whether we want to or not. You want to impress your professor, your boss, and even your friends. You want everyone to think that you are having the most amazing time at all times. Sometimes a lot of negative feelings come up when you can't be doing something for everyone and then you feel liked you've failed.

This pressure is especially true for graduating seniors. We're all so focused on what's next and how we can maximize all our time left that we forget to take care of ourselves. We take on every project we can to prove we can do it. We try to hang out with everyone we know because we may never see them again after graduation. We constantly worry that we're just running out of time to do everything. Sometimes we forget that if we burn ourselves out now, we're not going to be able to do much later.

While the solution isn't to just give up and become a hermit, we need to realize that sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back. If you have thirty different projects going on ask for help on some of them. Collaborating is much easier than drowning in endless work. If you have free time and you've been busy all week take a night off instead of committing to seeing every friend you have. Self-breaks are sometimes the best breaks.

In the end, remember that you're not alone by any means when it comes to anything you're feeling and sometimes it just takes getting away to get better.

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