I joined the Odyssey at the tail end of my senior year of high school when a friend, who was going to the same college that I was committed to, recommended that I join. I am a writer, as much as I hate to say it. Writing is my major and since I was a freshman in high school I have been keeping periodic journals about my life as I wrote poems, songs, journal entries, essays, political statements, and on some occasions even tried my hand at some fiction. This, at the time, seemed like what I needed to get experience writing in the real world as dozens of content possibilities swirled around my head. The Odyssey, for me, was the first stop to social integration at my college and was a way to get my name out there.
I started writing and never looked back. Weekly, I was putting out article after article, expanding over a wider area of study, stretching my writing muscles further and further. I loved the community of writers that I had joined and was always connected in group chats as well. Eventually, about midway through my first semester of college, I was approached with an intriguing proposal, to serve as Editor in Chief. Still being the eager freshman, I accepted and entered a new world of responsibility.
The learning curve was tough to get over as I was forced to run conversations, plan events, and attempt to ensure the wellbeing of the team, the writers, and their relationship with the rest of the school. In other words, it was up to me to make sure people were posting, articles were edited, and individuals were satisfied producing satisfactory content. However, just as I started to get the hang of it, everything changed.
To make a long story short, over the span of two months, I went from being connected to a managing editor at the Odyssey’s HQ, where we would talk weekly, discuss goals, and work on content and strategies to increase readership, to having complete autonomy of my community.
This was both a blessing and a curse. Although I no longer had to make it to weekly Skype chats and meet goals that seemed unlikely and difficult, I had no direction or guidance and had to figure out what was next for our community. Luckily, my editorial staff is incredible and they helped me a lot along the way. They do so much to help with any anxiety and even do more than I on weekly basis sometimes.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I joined the Odyssey for the wrong reasons and was utilizing it for the wrong reasons. I am in an interesting stage in my life. While trying to jumpstart my career and maintain friendships and relationships at school and back home, I have been finding out things about myself that I didn’t know before. I am struggling with things that I didn’t think I struggled with, and I am working to be a better person. At this point in my life, I need the Odyssey to be the outlet where I tell stories, get my voice out even if no one hears it, and produce content as I work on bettering mine and the team's output. I am developing a community and getting writing, editing, and leadership experience at the same time. It is Carpe Diem time for me as I have no milestones to hit and my main goals are to produce better content and to do the same with the team.
The Odyssey, for this point in my life, has been that outlet for change in myself—I think about issues, hobbies, and stories I have to tell and produce content that is both cohesive and thoughtful as I navigate the inconsistencies, barriers, and difficulties of college and young adulthood.