To My Odyssey EIC Group, Thank You For Being There

To My Odyssey EIC Group, Thank You For Being There

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

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.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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13 Things You Learn As A College Girl Rooming With 3 College Guys

"If you would have told me a year ago she would be living with three boys and I would be okay with it i would have said 'No way!' But they're good boys." - My dad Mike

The most amazing and horrible thing about being in college is the prospect of roommates. There will be the nightmares that treat your room like a brothel, blow dry their hair while you're sleeping, or use the entire floor as a dumpster. Then there will be the roommates that teach you things and support you in ways you didn't know you needed.

This past year, I have lived with three boys, Joe, Jamel and Michael. At times it was a struggle, like when it came to who's turn it was to DD or buy toilet paper. Don't even get me started on dishes. Through it all though, I have honestly never been so happy with where I live and who I'm with.

Without further ado, here are 13 things I've learned from living with my three boys.

1. Don't buy paper towels when you can just grab a bunch of extra napkins anytime you get fast food.

It's a waste of money to get Bounty when Wendy's has napkins for free! Just stand in front of your friend while they reach their arm as far into the napkin holders as they can and fill the paper bag. These will serve as your paper towels, tissues, cleaning rags, and, in a bind, your toilet paper. Don't worry about running out because someone is always in the mood for Burger King. This "stocking up" mentality also works for Taco Bell sauces.

2. When you say you're going to do something, they will hold you to it.

If you say you're going to work out every Monday, Wednesday, Friday to lose weight for the summer they will help you, in the most annoying ways possible. They will ask you why you didn't go to the gym if they ever see you home doing nothing. If you have anything in your mug that isn't water, one of them may dump it out while saying "We drink water in this house." When you buy a scale and they lose weight they'll tell you how "it's easy." However, when you do start to lose the weight they will tell you that you look good and to keep up the good work.

3. It's a dumb question if you already know the answer.

If you see someone going downstairs with a full laundry hamper, don't ask if they are about to do laundry. If you see that there is a burger on the stove top, don't ask what they are making. What I thought to be harmless conversation starters made me look dumb for the first couple months in the apartment.

4. Boys will not tell you where they are going, but you better tell them where you're headed.

I was out on a date for the day and near the end of it, Jamel calls. Thinking it's an emergency I apologized and answered. I was then yelled at by all three of them for not saying when I left, where I had gone, and what time I was getting home. When they found out I was with a boy the shouts only got louder. "You could have been killed and we wouldn't have known!" When I got home they were all on the couch with their arms crossed. However, if they are walking out the door and you ask where they're going they will tell you it's none of your business.

5. The stroganoff Hamburger Helper is the best of all the Helpers.

As someone who's not a fan of marinara sauce, it's the perfect quick and easy pasta dish for a busy college student. They will not understand why you lock the door all the time.

6. They will not understand why you always lock the door.

I am a 5'4'' girl who is not as strong as any man that can walk through my door. My instinct when I get home and find myself alone is to lock the door. I also lock the door when everyone is home. This has resulted in my being blamed for our front door being broken. I think that, instead of just slamming against the door, the boys should just always assume it is locked.

7. Everyone needs a good girl's day.

The boys have participated in face masks that cleanse and clear your pores, let me paint their fingernails with nail strengthener while putting color on their toes, and have shared more than enough chips and dip to last a lifetime. Everyone needs a little self-care and relaxation.

8. If someone wrongs you, they will not forget it.

A previous boyfriend that I was having trouble pushing out of my life was deemed to never enter the apartment. Another boy that assaulted me, causing me to cry on the kitchen floor caused Michael to want to look him up and talk to him personally. If you have trouble deciding who you shouldn't keep in your life or what actions are unforgivable, the boys will let you know.

9. It ever hurts to have a plunger in every bathroom.

I don't think this needs to be explained and, honestly, I'd rather not go into detail.

10. Your feelings are not wrong, they are valid.

Michael got the brunt of my boy problems. When he would find me upset I would say that I can't feel this way or that I felt stupid and sad. He would always respond, "That's just how you feel. There's no cant. That's how you feel and that's not wrong or dumb."

11. Everybody should give anime a chance.

The first week of living together Joe and Michael explained Naruto for 2 hours to me. The next day we started watching it. I was surprised how great the plot was a how fast I connected with some of the characters (Gara). Michael even watched a show with me that left us in tears (Angel Beats). I have now found shows that I enjoy, such as Erased and Death Parade. My next adventure is Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. Also, if you haven't seen Death Parade, do it. It's awesome.

12. They are not afraid to be brutally honest.

I once bought on sale soap that smelled like pomegranates. I didn't even make it a third of the way through the bottle before Jamel and Michael staged an intervention. Apparently, my soap smelled bad. Their only description was bad. I bought new soap two days after that so I wouldn't have to hear them complain anymore.

13. When they pick on you they want the best for you.

The way the boys motivated me is through being annoying. They would give play-by-play commentary on all my choices, make fun of people I starting hanging out with, and made sure I knew when they saw me being lazy. The comments will get under your skin and make you think more often than not about what you are doing. They want to push you to be better. They just push you through pushing your buttons

Now all of the things I've learned might not apply to everyone who lives with a group of boys. Honestly, to live with boys you need some tough skin and it's best if you don't easily bruise. If you meet those qualifications, I do promise that you will have some good memories and find that they are some of the best friends you could ever ask for.

Michael also wanted me to add that a twin size mattress can be used as a weapon. That's a story for another time though.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Pollock

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5 Ways You Can Be A Better Friend Today

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are relationships.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither are relationships. We all have amazing people in our lives that we cherish to no end. But, there are things that we all need to do better to make those relationships stronger and to make those people truly feel validated in their times of need. I myself have a hard time with each of these things, and in writing this, will hopefully be able to put my own words into action.

1. Text them first

This is a struggle that we all have with our good friends, we think thoughts like, “Am I being annoying?” “Is double texting okay?” or you’re being the stubborn friend who doesn’t want to have to be the first one to send a text. Either way, if you are truly going to make a person feel that you cherish their presence in your life, you MUST let them know. And how better to do that than a sweet little text from you? It doesn’t have to be anything more than a simple “Hey this thing reminded me of you” or “Hey I'm thinking of you,” to immediately make someone's day brighter.

2. Talk about yourself less

Friends always go to their favorite people for advice, or to vent, and if you are the chosen person in their life you need to shut up and listen! I say this because within other people’s problems we are sure to see things we have experienced in the past, and want to discuss them, but it is not always the time to do so. You have to be willing to truly hear what the other person is speaking about and make them feel validated in their problem, this is something I struggle with pretty hard. ALSO just make sure that your friend is asking for an opinion before you give one, because they may not have asked for one, and could take it in a way you didn’t intend for them to. Communication is key!

3. Actually, show up

Something that ALL friends do, is making plans and then bail on them. This can make or break a friendship if done too many times though. Sure there are legitimate excuses, don’t get me wrong, but just not feeling like it, will never be one of them. Get up, get dressed, and go see that movie, or have dinner, or just hang out. You make plans because you miss that other person, or because you need them, or because you don’t want to be alone, and when plans fall through it can be a huge letdown.

Bonus tip: Never bail on a friend for other friends, and if you do then don’t share it for the world to see because that can be the quickest route to hurt feelings and sad times.

4. Give them space when they need it

If someone you love is going through difficult times then always make sure to ask them what their needs are, and if they say they need some time apart then you have to respect that, especially if your friendship is the cause of their heartache. It is amazing what a little bit of time and space can do for a person because it gives them the time to reflect on their actions, what they are frustrated with and what they need to do to be a better friend as well. And when you reunite and talk things through, both friends will ultimately feel better about the relationship.

5. Remember small gestures matter

Little things can matter a lot to a friend, do something small for them once in a while. Recently, I woke up quite hungover from a night out on the town and my friend had coffee and a donut waiting for me, that small little move was something that legitimately melted my heard and made me remember how much a small gesture can mean to someone. Grab them their favorite candy when you hit the gas station, or cover them with a blanket if they fall asleep, do a cute photo shoot, any one of those things will remind your friend of the love you have for them.

Friendship is honestly one of the most amazing things about this life we live. You will undoubtedly come across more than just one soulmate in the short time you're given, and when keeping these things in the back of your mind, you can strengthen those bonds, making a friendship last a lifetime. Every relationship hits a bump or two, but it is what you do to make that other person know you care that will keep them around forever.

Cover Image Credit: @theswirlblog

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