A couple of years ago, I looked into creating for Odyssey, but I felt so incredibly filled with feelings of nervousness and doubt. I worried so much about getting turned down...if I couldn't write for them, was my entire career going to be a flop, too, someday? I kept the page bookmarked and open in my browser for weeks but then decided against taking the leap.
A little over a year ago, I looked into joining the community of creators at Eastern Michigan University, and after asking a former creator what to expect in my interview, I went for it. I decided to apply, and shortly after that, I was contacted by the editor-in-chief about scheduling an interview. My interview was simple, but they also let me know what was expected of me if I agreed to create, and after thinking it over, I went for it.
Overall, my experience this past year has given me more than I realized it ever could. I came into this thinking I could write material that could reach people and make a difference. I also wanted to find an outlet for writing that wasn't for school since I had only been writing what my professors deemed I could for assignments.
I was finally able to write on subjects that were about whatever I wanted them to be about. I could use my voice to write on things that mattered in society, like the downfalls of normalizing violence or shaming those who allowed rape culture to fester. I was able to write about subjects that were touchy or that mattered to a larger audience than some of my other articles.
I was able to write articles about thoughts or feelings I was just ready to get out. I had words I wanted to share with girls who, too, have lost their dads at a young age. I wanted to finally say everything to the one that got away that I had always been too afraid to share. I was able to free thoughts from my mind that I had been holding in, so Odyssey became almost like a virtual journal to me.
I actually was able to develop skills that I have been able to sort of advertise to potential employers. I have a weekly deadline that I must make on top of all other responsibilities, so time management of my priorities has been a necessity to develop. Since I want to be able to continue my writing in the future, I have been able to really work on typing out articles in a time crunch, as I have also learned even more to look and listen for inspiration everywhere.
It gave me a voice I didn't know I had. I was able to talk about how I felt different when it came to love, whether it was how I would never give up on it or that I wouldn't settle for anything less than forever. I found the bravery to finally tell my story of my sexual assault.
Odyssey has prepared me for working with deadlines, separating tasks by priorities, and writing under pressure. It has given me the experience of editing others' work, taking constructive criticism, and assisting fellow creators with topic ideas. It has also helped me find a voice I thought I already had.
I have been thankful for my time spent with Odyssey with the many people I have connected with. I am lucky to have been able to write to all different audiences and have my friends and family share my articles with others. As all good things must come to an end at some point, I am ready to move onto my next chapter in life and thank Odyssey for this wonderful foundation.