Joining Odyssey Changed My Life For Good

Joining Odyssey Changed My Life For Good

"Wicked" jokes aside, Odyssey has truly shaped who I am, one year after beginning.

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When I first heard last October that Towson University was re-starting their chapter of Odyssey, I immediately knew I had to apply.

I had been following the page for a while by that point and enjoyed what I read. I found some of the articles incredibly relatable, especially those on mental health. To read what others had written, to see those shared experiences, made me feel less alone. It made me wish I could do the same.

Last October, I officially applied. By November, I had interviewed for and made the team. And lord knows I had no idea just how much writing for this team would change me.

Odyssey helped me grow as a person.

Those weekly chances to write about topics and issues that were important to me shifted something within. I had returned to therapy only a couple months prior to joining the team, and writing became my outlet to process all the anxious and depressed thoughts and feelings whirling around in my head.

I wrote on past experiences. I wrote about being without a friend group, returning to therapy, and how music saved my life. With each piece that I wrote that reflected on my past, I could feel myself changing inside. Writing about times that had been hard for me forced me to realize how different things were now, how far I'd come and how much I'd grown as a person. Those articles allowed me to look back and realize, "Hey, I'm actually okay about that now." I could feel the inner wounds beginning to heal.

Writing for Odyssey helped me find my voice.

I had always liked writing, but writing for Odyssey took that further. I realized that I loved writing: the act of putting into words everything that I wasn't quite as confident to speak aloud. I was never a good speaker, but I could always say exactly what I wanted and how I wanted to say it when I wrote.

My writing got better as time went on. I developed a writing voice that both stated my own experiences while generalizing them to others. Inserting a space where others could find themselves within my words, if not my exact story. I wrote pieces that empathized to others who might be in similar situations, such as my piece on suicide, and do my best to address any "what if's" people might raise when reading the article.

I used Odyssey to vocalize my fear and anger after an anti-Semitic attack occurred to two of my fellow Jews and students, just off-campus. The Odyssey gave me a way to speak up in an affluent manner, rather than spew off in a Facebook post.

Writing for Odyssey helped me figure out what I want to do with my life.

The semester I began writing Odyssey, I switched majors. It was a complete 180 from what I had initially planned to do, and I felt like the ground had been ripped out from beneath my feet. Writing every week and learning the best ways to share my articles reminded me of why I had switched majors: to do things I was actually skilled at, to take those skills and turn them into a future career for myself. Writing for the team helped me become more comfortable with my new mass communications major.

I became president of my team in July. Carrying out the responsibilities of this position has only confirmed that marketing is where I want to head in life, and has given me experience in areas I just know I'll be using down the line.

But most importantly, Odyssey gave me a community.

I've spent hours chatting with my teammates, gabbing with my team co-leader over life and team things, and helping writers out when problems arise. Two of my writers share classes with me.

I was incredibly alone when I first started at Odyssey. I had just walked away from a toxic friend group and was struggling to adjust to being on my own most of the time. Now, I have a whole community of caring people with shared interests, amazing personalities, and a common passion "near" me at all times. I've made friends (and the fact that I'm applying that word is big for me if you know me) who I know I can text about things and make plans (someday soon!!) to just hang out. And it's been incredibly healing for me.

Being a part of Odyssey changed me more than I would have ever thought.

And I'm so grateful for it every day. (Even when I give up homework time to do Odyssey work. Like right now, as I write this.)

All jokes aside, writing for Odyssey changed my life, and I will forever be grateful for it.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Yes, I Love Science And Yes, I Love To Write

It is possible to like both!

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I feel like there's this unspoken rule in society that says that if you love science, you're not good at or you don't like writing and vice versa. A lot of the people I have met seem to be like that.

With this being said, I feel like I am the exception to the rule. I love science, I am sort of good at science, and I love writing. People who love science tend to be more analytical and people who love writing tend to be more creative. Well, I'm both analytical and creative.

It's possible to be that way. If life has taught me anything over these past few years, it's that anything is possible. I've gotten A's in both science and English courses. That's not me bragging about my grades because trust me they are nothing to brag about, but it's me showing how 2 separate parts of my brain can be strong.

For me, I fell in love with writing through journaling. It's more of a nonfiction writing style, and it's because I had thoughts that needed to leave my brain at 2 am one morning. I didn't want to send any of my friends a long text message expressing my feelings, so I found a notebook and started writing to my future self. Sure enough, it was therapeutic for me and I fell in love with writing as I journaled more.

Part of the reason why I love writing is because it gives me a place to channel my millions of thoughts onto paper. I'm constantly analyzing and sometimes overthinking things. Basically, since I am over-analytical about a lot of things, writing is my outlet to get these thoughts out of my brain.

Over the course of time, I have found this unspoken and secret beauty to the skill of writing. By far it is one of the most important skills anyone could have, and it's a skill that will always be needed because you need writing to communicate through text messaging, emails, proposals, and the list goes on. I love writing for this very reason.

More so, I love science too. Science is my first passion and with wanting to be a high school teacher, I hope to get young students to love science too. It is one of the coolest things on this planet.

To understand how the world works through science is absolutely mind-blowing. If you take or have taken physics, you know that there is an equation for everything like bouncing a ball while walking. It is the coolest thing in the world.

In middle school, we see a volcano diorama and we see how volcanoes sort of work. That's science, most of us are amazed by it. In college, science is really difficult and tedious, but it's fun. It's fun being challenged and being forced to analyze things in new ways.

Over the winter session, I took physics and thank goodness for my professor because he is a true gem of a person, but he made physics apply to the real world. It's the study of the real world and how things work and interact. It's all math and that's the hard part, but it was fun to see how math actually applies to the real world.

Analyzing and understanding the world through a scientific lens is so cool to me. It's not to everyone, and I respect that, but it's cool to know why clouds form and why certain rocks are lighter than others. It's cool to know why when I dribble a basketball even when I am running, it still comes back to my hands.

Point is, there is science behind everything, and I love learning that. I love analyzing it, just as much as I love writing.

Thus, it is possible to love writing and science. It's not common, but both are so cool and imperative to society in their own ways.

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