Writing For Odyssey Isn't Journalism

Writing For Odyssey Isn't Journalism

All we want is the chance for our voices to be heard.
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Before I started writing for Odyssey, I held a lot of judgments against it. I would always see those "Open Letter To My Ex/Best Friend/Mom/Sister/Etc." articles on my Facebook news feed and roll my eyes at the cliche topics and unoriginal clickbait headlines. I also had a personal vendetta against all the Odyssey posts I saw that seemed to be trying to report on actual news. I thought, a college student from Middleofnowhere University in Nebraska thinks they have the capacity to write a fully-fleshed article about our country's political climate? I'm sure.

So, right now you're probably thinking, "bro, if you hated it so much, why did you join?"

Well, Internet stranger, I'm glad you asked.

I've always enjoyed writing, but I could never seem to stick to it. I would start dozens of short stories, but never finish them. I would try to make myself write every day, even if it was just a daily reflection, but all I was left with was a collection of half-used journals.

I had a few friends who had written for Odyssey, and they had nothing but good things to say about it. You could write about whatever you wanted, you only have to submit one article a week, and if you were lucky enough, you could even get paid for articles that went "viral." Eventually, I started to understand the appeal of writing for the wannabe-news platform.

After considering for awhile, I joined Odyssey. I figured it would be an easy extracurricular to throw on my resume, and that maybe having a weekly deadline would be the push I needed to start taking my writing more seriously.

I can tell you now that I was right about half of that statement. Having a weekly deadline keeps me on top of my writing and has helped my creativity to flourish. It hasn't, however, been anywhere near easy. It's difficult to think creatively all the time and to force yourself to organize all your jumbled thoughts into coherent pieces of writing. These past seven-or-so months have pushed me to open my mind, expand my comfort zone, and explore all the facets writing and literature have to offer.

In my time here, I have come to love Odyssey and everything it stands for. My premonitions about the site weren't incorrect -- Odyssey is not a news source, and writing for it isn't "real" journalism. But it doesn't need to be, and it's never claimed to be. Odyssey is simply a place where everyone has a voice.

Whether that voice is used to make funny listicles about The Office, or to call for the protection of transgender students (both of which I have done in my time here), the objective is the same: to be heard.

Our editors don't reject articles they disagree with or try to police what we can and can't write about. Each week, every Odyssey creator has the opportunity to write about their own thoughts, opinions, and interests. They have the chance to use their voice and open up conversations. And that is what Odyssey is to me: a safe place for expression and discussion.

I never regret my choice to write for Odyssey. I know there are people who hold the same judgments that I had before joining, but I think the important distinction to make is that Odyssey creators are well-aware that writing for a college blogging site doesn't make us journalists. We are nothing more than a group of creative thinkers and passionate writers who want the chance to hear others and to be heard.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Used To Think Height Didn't Matter, But Maybe It Really Does

I've come to a conclusion

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I've had my fair share of boyfriends in the past. A common theme in my past choices of boys is that they were all an inch or two taller than me or the same height. Now, I am a little on the taller side considering that the average height for a woman in the US is 5 feet 4 inches tall. I'm not saying all the tall boys belong to all the tall girls and the shorter guys should stick with shorter girls, but I do think there might be something behind all this madness.

My reasoning for this is simple: I've been in an amazing relationship with someone who is fairly taller than me. Is this reason totally irrational and have no sort of concrete evidence for this argument? Yes, totally, but hear me out. All my other relationships haven't been this good or even had the potential to be this good. Is it a coincidence that they were all shorter? I think not!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys who are under 5'9''. There are some nice ones who probably don't talk to 5 other girls while you're dating, I just never happened to come across one back when I was in the game. I just find it interesting that I've been in a really healthy relationship for awhile now with someone who is over 6 feet tall.

Many amazing relationships have happened between all different types of people, no matter the height. It's just if you are having problems with boys who are under 6 feet, you may have some thinking to do.


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