A year ago today, I was sitting at my desk in my old office, obsessively checking my email as the work day wound down. I had applied early decision to the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and according to the website, on Feb. 28 I'd find out whether my application had been accepted early or held over for the regular decision period in April. How would I find out, I wondered? A phone call? An email? A letter waiting for me in my mailbox when I returned to my apartment that night? AN OWL?!
At last, at nearly 5 p.m., my stomach roiling, I clicked over to my Gmail tab and saw I had three emails. From Odyssey leader Jeanne Cavelos. I had gotten in. I had gotten in! I raced out to the office parking lot to call my dad and tell him the good news, and for the first time in my post-college young professional life, I found myself crying tears of joy in my office parking lot.
Now, a year later, I can say with confidence that leaving my job, my apartment, and my life in Boston for the summer to attend Odyssey was one of the best decisions--if not the best decision--I've ever made. Here's how Odyssey works: you spend six weeks living at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., taking classes, writing, and critiquing your classmates' work. At Odyssey, I learned more about writing than I ever thought possible. I met wonderful guest authors. I made friends who I still critique with, rant about rejection letters to, go to for writing advice. At Odyssey, I barely slept or worked out or ate anything but bacon and kettle corn for six weeks, but it was all worth it.
Thanks to Odyssey, I have the tools I need to become the writer I want to become. Yes, there's still a long road ahead, but if it weren't for Odyssey, I wouldn't even be on that road.
So if you're at all serious about writing, you should apply to Odyssey. You can find all the information here. The early application deadline has already passed, but regular applications aren't due until April 8. I realize that not everyone is 24 years old and has the flexibility to pick up and leave for the summer, but if you are in a place in your life where you can, do it. I promise you will not be disappointed.