A year ago, I only wrote fiction. A year ago, I hated being in charge and in the spotlight. A year go, I would have laughed at anyone who told me that I would be an Editor in Chief, managing a team of 12-plus writers and producing fresh, nonfiction content every week, but here I am.
In October, I got an email from the English Department at my school. Just another email with writing or editing opportunities and internships. I always take a look and see if anything peaks my interest. There didn't seem to be anything for me with Odyssey, so I just left it in my inbox with everything else. A few days later, a friend asked me if I had seen the email and if I was going to apply. I started to think about it some more, but didn't really consider it until I received a phone call from the same friend about a week later.
He had applied and had been made Editor in Chief for Odyssey at William Paterson. It was his responsibility to put together a team of writers at our school and he wanted me to be one of them. I told him I would think about it, still unsure, and ended up applying that night. I wasn't so sure I could write a good article every week. I'm not a news reporter and I hate being involved in politics, so what was I going to write about? Soon enough, though, I had found my voice and was actually excited to submit my articles each week.
The beauty of Odyssey is that the content is completely up to the writers. I ranted about Christmas coming too early one week and wrote a personal piece about my faith the next. Each article is easier to write than the last because I am constantly inspired by the comments, likes and shares. It turns out I can write nonfiction, I just needed the right push and the perfect platform.
In only three short months I went from a weekly writer to managing a whole team of them. My friend needed to step down as Editor in Chief and had suggested me as a replacement. Again, I found myself unsure and conflicted. I wanted the editing experience but could I really be a leader? I thought I was just a shy pushover who couldn't be taken seriously, but I decided to let someone else decide. I applied and went through with the interview. If someone else thought I was good enough, then who am I to tell them otherwise?
So here I am now, five months later and so happy I took a chance on myself. I am by far a natural born leader and still hate having to be strict, but I've learned a lot of valuable things in this position. It wasn't always easy, and I was sometimes a bit of a pushover, but leadership is just like anything else. Practice makes perfect.
There were plenty of nights, usually Sundays as I fought the clock to get everything in on time, that I regretted my decision and just wanted to quit. I fought it, though, and am really glad I did. The writers I got to work with are amazing people with a lot to say. I felt like I was making a difference in their lives by helping them get their voices out there like I did.
My time at Odyssey has taught me a lot, but mostly it showed me that I am capable of more than I think. I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. Odyssey is way more than just a job or writing opportunity to me.