I just want to say: thank you. Thank you for my late night questions and random thoughts. Thank you for your hilarious snaps and the constant support we have for each other.

I never thought I could bond with people I never met but here I am, with you guys. I'm usually shy and I'm a "sit back and watch" type of girl. I used to read all your messages but didn't answer because I was unsure what to say or if I should participate. I've always felt like an outsider and I struggle with social anxiety but as the months progressed, I began to open up, bit by bit. I responded more, snapped more, and developed an attachment to my EIC sisters (and brother). You guys gave me material to make my own team strong, but you also gave me advice to help make me strong as an EIC.

You all were so confident in who you were and I loved it. I began to take more active roles within our Odyssey society. Soon enough, I was commenting on your posts and sharing your articles. I was excited for your success, instead of being envious. I was happy when one of us got promoted to lead EIC because she DESERVED it. I respected how HARD we all work to make our teams successful. We bonded over the love we share for our teams, for each other, and the other EIC's that aren't in our group.

This week meant more to me than y'all will ever know because I opened up, big time. I shared a deep, dark secret of mine, one I felt would make me lose my friends that I made within our group, only to see you guys shared your own personal stories with me. You opened up and comforted me, even though I didn't deserve it. Your shared experiences, they meant the world to me, so thank you for having my back and not hating/shaming me. Thank you for accepting my flaws and showing me the mistakes you made that mirrored mine. Thank you for showing me those mistakes don't define me, but rather empower me to accept the past and move on. To learn from those mistakes and use my knowledge to help others, like you guys helped me.

I felt alone before, but I don't anymore.

I found friends within this community and I am so grateful for you guys. Every day, I open up more and your continued patience with me inspires me to let go of all my insecurities and just be myself.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are helping fix a broken piece inside of this lonely girl.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get some tissues and jump back into our Slack group because y'all made me feel safe here.

And that means the world.