What One Year of Writing for Odyssey Has Taught Me

What Writing For Odyssey For One Year Has Taught Me

Writers aren't paid, but that doesn't make it come with fewer benefits.

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This article is the 53rd I've written, meaning I've been writing for Odyssey every week for the past year. Before I wrote for Odyssey, I had very little writing experience. I published a few bits online for my internships but hadn't had the freedom to write about anything I wanted. While I joined Odyssey, I also joined a few other common news sites and wrote articles for them. However, Odyssey is the one that has stuck through. I've never missed a deadline, and I get to write about whatever I want every single week, and it'll be published online.

Writers aren't paid, but that doesn't make it come with fewer benefits.

For one, writing for Odyssey taught me concrete PR and communications skills. We can see the statistics of which articles got which views, and we can see the numbers go up if we market the article successfully. Moreover, the weekly deadline keeps our minds awake for any topic that could be worth writing about. None of the other news sites I wrote for setting these deadlines, and that's partially the reason why only Odyssey stuck around. Odyssey was also the only news site that didn't restrict what topics we can write about - we write about whatever we want, without having to run the topic by anyone, every week.

I committed myself and saw results.

Though there are admittedly a lot of "filler" articles with content no one is too interested in, every once in a while, an interesting topic comes up that begs to be written about.

Odyssey is a huge news site, with a recognizable name and high viewer counts. That means that we can use the name to our advantage. For one, it looks great on my resume! Lots of big events also search for media representatives, so you can get discounted or free passes to events.

I got to go to Lollapalooza for free this summer!

- just by mentioning that I write for Odyssey and promising a couple of articles. Moreover, as an entrepreneur, Odyssey can be a great way to spread the news of different upcoming businesses. Companies are constantly looking for PR channels, and Odyssey is one of them.

Odyssey is easy to get into as a writer. Check if your college campus has a chapter, and apply as a writer. Lots of people I know had little to none writing experience when they first began with Odyssey. It's not important that you have incredible writing skills - what's important is that you have substantial content to contribute. Odyssey is built on a crowdsourced model, meaning it's powered by thousands of volunteer writers.

You just might find your new community here. If you'd like to apply, go here!

Happy writing!

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10 Great Books Every College Girl Should Read

For the small majority who still enjoy reading

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Growing up, I always adored reading books. It's almost peculiar how you can feel like you're in the setting with the characters, experiencing everything they go through. Being a college student, I've found myself with a lot of free time that I spend watching Netflix. It's been a while since I found a good book that can keep my interest long enough, on top of the many drink specials at the bars, on a nightly basis (which makes it hard for any of us broke college students wanting to read). However, I've accumulated a list of the best 10 books to read for a college student seeking an enlightened source of storytelling. They're all centered on young adults like us and the relatable experiences they go through - growing up, falling in love and discovering who you really are. Here they are, ranked from 10 to 1 (#1 is seriously the best book I've ever read, but they're all highly recommended):

10. 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why Jay Asher

13 Reasons Why, written by Jay Asher, is an absolutely brilliant book. It follows a teenage boy, Clay, who finds 13 cassette tapes recorded by a classmate who committed suicide. Clay listens into the secrets and the trials his classmate and friend, Hannah, faced. This book opens a new door into an intimate view of mental health and the adolescent society we live in today. Also, the Netflix series is awesome! Read the book before you watch the series, though!

9. The Twilight Series

The Twilight Series

I know what you're thinking. "Isn't this kind of outdated?" The reason I put these books on this list is that I read this series in less than 2 months (given school and what not). The movies don't come close to doing the books justice. If you haven't heard of Twilight before (small majority, I know), it's essentially about a vampire who falls in love with a human in a depressing town in Washington. The suspense in this series of books is spectacular and kept me up many nights, as well as kept me wishing for a boyfriend to appear in my window in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the only living thing that appeared in my room at night was my spoiled cat meowing at me for food.

8. The Chocolate Money

The Chocolate Money Ashley Prentice Norton

This raunchy coming-of-age novel follows a girl named Bettina, whose mother is the heiress to a huge Chocolate company. With all of that money come consequences and differences that Bettina and her mom face. This book follows Bettina as she grows into a young adult with humorous yet relatable confrontations to the society she has to face.

7. Dreamland

Dreamland Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is by far one of my favorite authors, as she writes so honestly about adolescence and the rollercoaster it is. Dreamland is my absolute favorite book of hers, and it follows a girl named Caitlin whose older sister/best friend runs away on her birthday, leaving her to start her senior year off alone. She meets a boy named Rogerson, who is very wealthy and charming. As they become more intimate, Caitlin discovers the monster behind the guy who she thought she was in love with. (I don't want to spoil this for you but seriously, this book rocks!)

6. Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey E L James

Yes. I'm putting this book on here. If you get past all of the kinky/fantasy/BDSM nonsense, there is actually a great story of an emotionally abused boy who never got to grow up. EL James fearlessly explores the divide between the super wealthy and the lower middle class with a romance that's full of twists and turns. This book trilogy is definitely one of the most interesting romance novels I've read in a while. Also, the movies don't do this trilogy justice, believe me.

5. The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

I actually had to read this novel when I was a freshman in high school. Out of all the books I was forced to read during those years, this one stuck with me for a long time. The Glass Castle unmasks the truth behind growing up in poverty in America, as told by author Jeannette Walls. The book recounts her rocky upbringing that will most likely leave you in tears. 10/10 recommend.

4. The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy

This trilogy is absolutely awesome. It follows a girl named "Belly", who shares a summer vacation home with her family, and her mom's best friend and her sons. Without revealing too much, Belly develops feelings for the brothers and a love triangle soon emerges. The trilogy follows the summers of her growing up in the beach house.

3. Why Not Me?

Why Not Me Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling, if you're somehow reading this, I am absolutely in love with you. This book had me hooting and hollering on a flight home from New York over the summer, in which I received many dirty looks. Besides being a comical genius, Mindy shares with us her personal and intimate moments of being a young adult. I actually found this book in an Urban Outfitters in Miami, sat down and promptly began to read it, but the store was closing and I got escorted out before I could even finish chapter 1.

2. Losing It

Losing it Cora Carmack

This book follows a college student named Bliss, whose friends been constantly nagging for being a virgin. She finally gets the chance to lose her virginity and then comes to find out that the same guy is her new theatre teacher. This humorous romance novel explores the "Hot Teacher fantasy" many college girls can relate to, and that horrifying moment you see someone from the night before on campus.

1. Reason To Breathe

Reason to Breathe Rebecca Donovan

I am writing this in all caps for a reason: THIS WILL BE THE BEST BOOK YOU WILL EVER READ. My life was changed after reading this trilogy of books: Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, and Out of Breath. It follows a girl named Emma ,who lives with her abusive aunt. She is an all around high school student, athlete and friend, but has to hide the scars of her home life underneath her clothes everyday. This trilogy follows her escape of her abusive home life and into the loving arms of a guy named Evan. I can't even begin to explain how awesome of a book series this is, and I can promise you it will keep you up late at night reading. This trilogy still has me shook to this day!

Cover Image Credit: SHA wellness clinic

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The 15-Day Disney Drawing Challenge For The Artistic ​Mouseketeer

Disney fans better be ready to sketch!

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Have you ever wanted to draw something, anything, but couldn't get any inspiration? Or you just didn't have any idea where to start? Here is a list for you. It is a list that provides 15 prompts of what to draw that are all Disney inspired. Without further ado, here is the 15 Day Disney Drawing Challenge.

1. Draw Your Favorite Original Disney Character 

We are starting out with a pretty simple one. You can draw any version of the character, they just have to be one of the originals (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, etc.).

2. Draw Your Favorite Sidekick

Whether it be Timon and Pumba or Chip, you have to draw your favorite Disney sidekick.

3. Draw Your Favorite Princess

We all have one. Here is your time to shine when you put your pencil to paper to draw your favorite Disney Princess.

4. Draw A Pixar Character

Here is where you can only draw those special characters that were created by Pixar.

5. Ship Two Characters From Different Movies

Here is where you can make the pairing that you want in your head. Whether it be Anna and Prince Charming or Ariel with Flynn Rider, let your imagination soar.

6. Draw Your Favorite Villain

Everybody has them. Here is where you can honor your favorite Disney baddie.

7. Genderbend Any Villain

Basically what you are doing here is making the men women and the women men. If you ever wanted to see Ursula as a guy, here is your chance.

8. Draw Your Favorite Disney Villain As A Child

They were all children at one point. Here is your chance to show us what they would look like as innocent younglings.

9. Draw Your Favorite Palace/Kingdom

Have you ever seen a kingdom and thought: "If only I could live there." Here is your chance to make that closer to being a reality.

10. Draw Any Disney Animal In Human Form

Ever wondered what Scar or Thumper would look like as human? Here is your chance to let your imagination run wild.

11. Draw A Scene From The Very First Disney Movie You Remember Seeing

Here is where the nostalgia can kick you into high gear.

12. Draw A Scene From Your Favorite Villain Song

Every villain has a song, pick your favorite moment from one of them and put it on paper.

13. Draw Your Favorite Underrated Disney Character

There are some characters that just don't get the respect that they deserve. Here is your chance to fix that.

14. Turn Any Character Into A Mermaid/Merman

I don't know about you, but I always wished that I was a mermaid. Here is an opportunity to make someone else's mermaid dream come true.

15. Create A Stained Glass Window Using Any Character 

Telling a story through stained glass has been used for centuries, like the ones from Beauty and the Beast. Why should only one Disney story be told this way?

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