When I was seven years old I remember writing a birthday card to my grandmother. It wasn't anything special, just a folded piece of construction paper drawn over with stick figures, covered in glitter, and written with small words of encouragement. If you told me to recall the exact phrases I wrote down in that card I wouldn't be able to tell you. All I can remember is my grandmother crying happy tears and telling me I had a gift. A gift that would change my life forever.

Growing up, I always saw myself becoming a teacher. I have always loved spending time with children and being able to run my own classroom was a dream I chased after. Throughout my childhood, I even made my siblings play pretend 'school' on the weekends grading their made-up homework and putting them in time-out for discipline. My brother would tell you he hated playing school with me. I believe he just went along with the game to make me happy.

Taking classes in junior high my interests started to change. I enjoyed being around kids but also couldn't see myself working in a school 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. Sure, having the weekends and summers off would be nice, but would I really want to be stuck in a career I didn't love? Searching for other options I took electives in yearbook, media, and business to enhance my writing and technology skills. My instructors gave me projects to work on the annual publication and gave me the freedom to cover school stories regarding academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities.

Taking pictures for my fellow classmates and recording highlight videos for the football team are memories I will always cherish from high school. Weighing my college options and trying to figure out what I wanted to become, Alabama gave me the best of both worlds. I have decided to major in public relations and have loved every minute being a student in C&IS. I never thought I could see myself working in journalism or media, but now I know this is the field I want to spend the rest of my life in.

Something about sitting down with a blank journal and writing down thoughts is so relaxing. Having the freedom to express any idea I have, whether it be an account of my day or a list of goals for the future, relieves my stress and anxiety. When people ask me why I love to write my answers change every time. With the ability to tell a story with everyone I meet, I am able to connect to history and human experiences to make sense of the universe. The beauty of writing is to give an outlet for people to encourage, inform, explain, entertain, and heal.

Writing on Odyssey I have not only been able to express my inner thoughts but also tell a personal story that can connect to readers around the world. Every time I finish an article I feel a sense of accomplishment when it is published and shared on social media. With the encouragement from my fellow community members, I have even been sparked with new ideas and perspectives on what I want to write about in the future. Hearing the feedback from those who read my work fills my heart with joy. Everyone has a story to share, so pick up your pen and start writing!