Thank You, Odyssey

Thank You, Odyssey

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin
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Over this past year, I have not only grown as a person, but a writer as well. I have expressed my highs, lows, opinions and so much more. I have been given a platform to have my voice heard. I have found a group of people who are trying to do one thing: write to the world and be who they are. What started out as a hobby has sparked a change in my future career. My entire life I wanted to become a chef. As of last year, I’ve decided to become a writer.

These people understand my need to write unlike anyone else. The support from my Odyssey team never quits. I know that, no matter what, I'll have those weekly Odyssey emails to cheer me up.

I have made great friends and listened to unbelievably moving stories. I am fortunate to be able to write for such a top-grossing Odyssey team here in Charleston.

Our writing is taken seriously and everyone puts in the time and effort in their writing. From my experience, no one is left feeling unsatisfied with their work. My team is always willing to read articles, give critiques and flatter you when you need that extra shove to click submit.

I have been given the opportunity to write about experiences and the way I’ve learned to grow as a result. I can write about my favorite type of candy and why. I can make a list of the 10 reasons why Cleveland, Ohio is the best place on earth. I am given endless opportunities that continue to push me to think, observe and become a better version of me, all around, than I was before. Writing down my thoughts helps me to grow. It always helps me to understand my feelings. The amount of support I have gotten back as a result of my inability to have a filter has been life-changing. My need to never stop talking and being heard has finally paid off.

I can’t even imagine how different things would be if I never started writing for The Odyssey. I refer to myself as a writer, I look for editorial jobs. I am more open, expressive and understanding than I use to be. I have more patience (which is essential as a writer). I am mentally sane (at least at this very moment). And I am happier than I have ever been.

I have gotten through horrible events and unbearable losses with the help of my ability to form words and cope with how I am feeling. How can I move forward if I’m unable to pinpoint my emotions? Writing helps me do that. It helps me to make sense of the craziness that happens in life.

If I never applied to write for The Odyssey, I would not be at the point of my life where I am right now. I am grateful for the opportunity to write and publish my work. Getting things off of my chest has sparked a year of tremendous growth which stems from all of the support I have gotten in the process. So, thank you, Odyssey, for pushing me to become a better, more responsible and more independent version of myself every single week.

Cover Image Credit: Gratisography

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27 Things To Do With Your Friends When You're Bored

A little bit of fun for any season.
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I am sure many could relate: you are texting or sitting around with your friends and no one knows what they want to do, everyone is bored, and everyone is flat out of ideas that are actually realistic and achievable. Boredom makes an appearance at it's finest moments... always.

Here are 27 things you can do with your friend in just about any season (some are exclusive to a particular season) when boredom takes over!

1. Find a local coffee shop to try out.

2. Or better yet, find a local restaurant that you’ve all been wanting to try.

3. Go shopping at each others' favorite stores.

4. Tie balloons with positive messages inside of them to random places in your town to uplift a few souls.

5. Cook a homemade meal for a homeless person and deliver it.

6. Get crafty and create a time capsule that you and your friends can open after (x) amount of years.

7. Make your own sushi.

8. Plant flowers in little pots for your homes.

9. Road trip to random local cities and do some exploring.

10. Have a photo shoot.

11. Buy or create a blank page’s journal filled art, writing, sketches, and pictures of your friends that can be used as a memory book.

12. Visit a pumpkin patch.

13. Go stargazing in the middle of the night with a blanket and a few midnight snacks.

14. Go to a haunted house.

15. Go to a movie with the group.

16. Have a giant sleepover with board games, snacks, movies, and crazy pajamas.

17. Have a game night with the peeps.

18. Have a gingerbread making contest.

19. Have a bonfire when it gets cool outside.

20. Make homemade ice cream.

21. Search on maps for the nearest natural spring or river and go swimming or canoeing.

22. Take a camera, your group of friends, and stroll around town taking pictures of your adventure.

23. Use the pictures you take on your adventures and create a photo wall in your home.

24. Have a "Madea" movie night.

25. Throw a themed party.

26. Write letters of encouragement to children (or adults) in hospitals.

27. Look up random keywords on YouTube for possibly some of the best videos ever.

Cover Image Credit: aurimas_m / Flickr

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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