My Year With Odyssey: A Thank You

My Year With Odyssey: A Thank You

Our very own editor-in-chief, intern and friend shares her story.
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This post was created by Lily Moe on October 31, 2016. It originally appeared on Odyssey's Grand Canyon University community page.

A year ago, on November 2, 2015, my first article was published on Odyssey. I distinctly remember being nervously excited, wanting to write a piece that would change the world. After the notification that my article was needed in 3 hours, I whipped out "You Know You're A Camp Counselor When..." and called it a day. That groundbreaking article may have been put on hold, but nonetheless, I was thrilled to be writing for something other than a dinky Google blog. As the Grand Canyon University Odyssey community "went live" that day, I felt like I was doing something real, something important -- little did I know how big of an impact Odyssey would have on the following year of my life.

Soon -- as in, the second day of my Odyssey career -- writing my weekly article become the highest priority on my to-do list. I couldn't wait to receive the email that read: "Congratulations! Your article is live on Odyssey's platform." I had full creative liberties. I could write whatever I wanted to. I was on cloud nine.

In January, I was offered an interview for an editor-in-chief position for the Grand Canyon Odyssey team. I knew I loved to write, and I knew I loved what I was doing, but editor? That was a large step up in responsibilities. As I went through the screening process, the idea excited me. I had the ability to take an opportunity and run with it -- not just for myself, but for the entire GCU community. As a school that does not have a student publication, Odyssey could become the media for Canyon...and how rad would that be?! After being offered the role, I gladly accepted, thrilled with the road ahead.

With this opportunity came a lot of hard work -- after the holiday season, our team had dwindled to 3 people, myself included. The next 4 weeks were soon filled with writing samples and interviews.

By the end of January, we had a team of 19 strong, driven individuals, all having joined Odyssey because they cared about community, their futures, and the ability to stir the pot -- isn't that what media is for anyway? I was jazzed, and could not have been more proud of the people on my staff.

Come February, our numbers were better than ever, with a continuous list of applicants ready to interview for their chance to join our team. This month held another interesting component: the chance to apply to be an intern in Odyssey's headquarters in New York City. I went back and forth with this application, knowing that I "probably wouldn't stand a chance." But with a little encouragement from my manager, I submitted my application, and soon found myself dreaming of 5th Avenue.

March brought even higher numbers for our community, in both members and pageviews. We were rocking and rolling. I was loving life -- even more so when, after the third round of the interview process, I was notified that I was one of 15 interns for Odyssey's summer program.

The months leading up to that summer in New York all blend together; our team was getting bigger, stronger, and more excited to change the world. Sure, we were a bunch of 20-somethings looking for our big break -- and yes, we still are -- but we were loving every second. Our team was becoming a family, and departing from school for the summer was bittersweet.

My summer as an Odyssey intern cannot be explained in a paragraph. Call me, and we'll chat all day. I'll let you in on Justin's love for Nick Jonas, Emi's fabulous style, and Emily's dreamy semester abroad in France. Brittany will forever be the wildcard, but don't underestimate her ability to have a deep conversation. I'll share how Christian is really a big teddy bear, and EA is someone you want in your corner. Hollan and Katie will soon become some of your favorite people, and Meredith will inspire you to be better, stronger, and more confident. Sam will keep you laughing, while Serg remains calm in all situations. Brittan is the coolest chick you've ever met. Whit has a heart of gold. Oh, and you'll want to be roomies with Julia, because she clearly belongs in the city. And a little shout out to ZShal, because who can forget the little brother of the group?

These incredible people, as well as our amazing managers, mentors, and friends that call that office in Midtown home, made life as an Odyssey intern better than I could've ever imagined. They pushed me, encouraged me, and our GroupMe is still exploding on any given night. There will always be space in my heart reserved just for them.

Coming back to school, off the internship of a lifetime, I was beyond pumped to bring what I had learned in New York to the desert of Phoenix. Our GCU team was continuing to grow, kick butt, and inspire the community around us. I'm so glad to say that we're stronger than we've ever been. We are currently at 41 content creators, creating both video and written pieces, having game nights, auditioning for a lip sync battle together, and always being up for what comes next. I am proud of the kindness, toughness, and passion I see from these people through every piece they write.

Hitting the year mark with Odyssey is an incredible opportunity to look back and reflect. I tear up thinking about how far the GCU team has come, and how much I have changed as a person. Every conversation I have "would make a great article," and I find myself correcting the TV subtitles at the gym. I didn't know how much of an 'editor attitude' I had until I started doing this -- doing what I love. From the content creators who want to grab coffee just because, to the interns that I know I can always call up for advice, to my manager who is to this day the coolest person I've ever met, I love my Odyssey family. It's such a blessing to be connected to a group of people who don't only dream of change, but work for it. I am so proud to be an Odyssey editor-in-chief, an Odyssey intern, and, most importantly, an Odyssey friend.

Cover Image Credit: Lily M.

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Personal Space Is More Important Than Socializing

Stop pretending you don't need a break from your friends (and life).

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Firstly, I would like to say that FOMO is a very real thing.

For those born in the prehistoric era, that means 'fear of missing out'. It's something that definitely came with the age of technology, and the tendency for everyone to post the best aspects of their social lives in an attempt to prove they have one (don't stress, I'm the biggest culprit). It's also something that's potentially destroying our ability to prioritize our need for time alone.

I feel like we're all in a competition to be the most social person in our social media bubbles. I'm sure you can agree there's that pressure lurking every time you do something fun to whip out your phone and make sure you take a snap of it, to prove you actually did something with your day other than binge watch David Dobrik vlogs.

Even when the aspect of social media is removed, FOMO still hangs around. Sometimes I just don't want to go out. I don't want to get out of bed, to get dressed, brush my hair. Sometimes I simply don't want to socialize — small talk is exhausting! But yet, I get that feeling like I really should go out and see people, like I'm not spending my time wisely unless I'm soaking up every chance I get to hang out with friends. It's almost as if everyone thinks your life isn't of value if it isn't spent being around others, and I do agree with this — to an extent.

Before leaving for Alabama, the number one piece of advice I heard over and over was, "say yes to everything!" I was then usually told to make friends with as many people as I could, maybe even say hi to strangers once in a while! Anyone who had been on exchange previously recommended that I immerse myself in every experience that presented itself to me. After all, their favorite memories involved making new, unexpected friends.

I still strongly stand by this idea — I wouldn't have had half the experiences I've had so far if it weren't for this Yes Man mentality. However, I am now past halfway, and all I can say is I'm absolutely knackered. I'm all socialized-out! After being in the company of at least one other person every… single… minute… (I have a roommate) for the last 11 weeks, I can confidently say I've had enough. If I carry on this way, forcing myself to attend any and all outings, I quite possibly could implode… or at least want to crawl under a rock and never talk to anyone again (nearly at this stage already).

One thing I didn't realize until recently is just how much downtime I have to myself at home. Sure, I work or go to Uni most days, and I see my friends as much as possible. I also have my scheduled 6 p.m. family dinner followed by one-hour gossip session with mum each night. But at the end of each day, I would snuggle up in my big queen bed that I had all to myself (I'm single, thanks for reminding me) and finally feel relaxed. That was my designated time to myself that I could look forward to each day. Some nights I just put music on and lay down for hours doing absolutely nothing. That was the point though, I didn't have to do anything, and I didn't have anyone else to worry about.

Now, I might be lucky to get 10 minutes alone each day while I take a shower. Even then, my roommate occasionally drops in to go to the bathroom, and the thin shower curtain is the only thing standing between myself and a mental breakdown. Sometimes I want to hide behind that curtain all day. My happy place is now the small square corner of my bathroom, how sad is that?

I think the notion of spending time alone is severely underrated. Why have we created an idea that it's not OK to want to be alone every now and then? Why do we have to constantly be pushing ourselves to reach out to others and put ourselves out there? I absolutely love meeting new people and making new friends! But you know what else I love? Sitting on the couch with a hot Milo, binge-watching David Dobrik vlogs. So sue me! I think finding time to think about yourself only is just as essential for mental stability as surrounding yourself with friends and family.

After this experience, I know I will never feel ashamed to admit that I am going to miss out on doing something with my friends in order to be alone. It's literally the only thing that keeps me sane! (Can you tell I'm already going a little insane?)

I can now finally understand why mum used to be so happy when the school holidays were over. It's not that she didn't love us, she just valued her personal space! What a smart little lady!

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