There are certain experiences that you walk away from feeling sad that they're over, excited that they happened, or scared for what could result from them. As I walk away from Odyssey as both a content creator and Editor-in-Chief, I feel more empowered than ever. I have written for the Odyssey for a little less than a year and been the EIC for about four months. In that time, I published 42 articles and edited hundreds. My grammar skills have improved and my opinions on certain topics have changed, thanks to the phenomenal articles my creators have written. I gained a friend in the former EIC and my CE, and a mentor in my former ME. I've interviewed and gotten to know multiple creators, learned how to better lead a team by taking what works and what doesn't and implementing solutions that fit best all around. While my leadership may not be cut out for everyone, I try my best, and that's what matters.
I leave the Odyssey feeling accomplished. Though there have been rough patches and difficulties along the way, they have only made me want to continue working hard and fighting for what's right and what I believe is best for not only myself, but for those who I am leading. I've learned to write a bit outside of my comfort zone and publish to the world thoughts that I never expected to even escape the tight hold my brain has on them. I've become, slowly but surely, more open to voicing my thoughts in a journalistic way.
Many people have told me that they look forward to reading my articles each week and that I am a great writer. Each time, I simply smile and say thank you because I am not writing as a way to fish for compliment or praise- though they are much appreciated- I am writing because it makes me stronger as a person. It gives me a way to share my voice in one of the only ways I know how. Thanks to Odyssey, I am no longer afraid to take my thoughts to paper and share them.
While this chapter of my writing efforts is coming to a close, it's more certainly not the end of my creative career. If there is one thing I have learned over the 10 months I spent writing weekly, it's that if you have something to say, say it. Even though I still struggle to take my own advice most times, I'll always have that voice in my head telling me to do so. To just say what I'm thinking, and to not let anyone stop me.
As Sara Bareilles sings,
"Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave"
It's time to brave the next chapter of my life.