As I have often written about, I decided that I wanted to become a writer when I was eight years old. It has been eleven years since then. Eleven years of stories I have seen, told, or created, word by word. Now, in my final article for Odyssey, I am telling my final story. The story of why I write.
I started writing because I was curious. Curious about the lives that we lead, the lives of strangers I have never met, and how we all connect to the world around us. I have only become more committed to being inquisitive over the years, determined to look beyond the ordinary. When I first began journalistic writing, I had the opportunity to join the Odyssey team. Three years ago, I started writing opinion articles and music reviews, and eventually branched out into photojournalism and feature interviews.
I want to thank Odyssey for providing me with an outlet to discover my identity as a journalist. For the platform to share my work with a public audience for the first time, and helping me find a new and different purpose in writing from where I began. For allowing me to find my creativity through nonfiction writing. And, most importantly, for building confidence in my work that I hadn't yet found elsewhere.
It was here that for the first time, I was challenged with finding stories around me instead of creating them. I began to explore genres that I had never touched upon before. I learned about when and when not to express my opinions. To tell the stories of others who may not have otherwise been heard.
About a year into my time at Odyssey, I was promoted to the Head Photographer of the franchise. This taught me about the valuable skill of relaying a message through imagery, and about leadership. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to fill this role, as it was another component in Odyssey's important part in beginning my education as a journalist.
Not to mention, the incredible team I had the pleasure of working with over the last three years was also imperative starting my journalism career. To work alongside other passionate writers works wonders on creativity, and I am honored to have had the chance to learn of other perspectives on many current issues. Many of my former teammates have gone on to incredible schools and internships. I will forever be grateful to them for advising me, especially on my earliest work.
There is something beautiful about finding stories in others. To strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger, to unite over our shared humanity in spite of different backgrounds. Humanity is too often forgotten in the digital age, and I hope that I continue to share stories of the human condition on other platforms besides this one. I will always love seeking out new narratives.
Odyssey helped prepare me to enter the top journalism program in the country. It laid the foundation that I needed to continue my experience in the journalism field. It gave me my first opportunity to seek and tell stories, for which I will always be grateful.
While my journey at Odyssey is coming to a close, my journey as a journalist is ongoing. I look forward to continuing to share the tales I come across, no matter how big or small. We live in a massively complex world, and it has been an honor to even begin to untangle its stories.