By: Kallie Hunchman
Kallie Hunchman is a senior studying anthropology, Spanish, and studio art. Last year, she worked on Digital Literature Review, designing the journal and its promotional assets. This year, she is co-editor of Odyssey and channels project manager for Compass Creative. With her background in anthropology, design, and digital marketing, she is excited to pursue her master’s in emerging media design and development at Ball State next year.
Since starting at Ball State back in 2017, the Honors College has amazed me. The way it intertwines people of all majors and backgrounds is astounding, and every class taken is an eye-opening experience. Above all else, my favorite part—and perhaps the most integral part for me—of the Honors College is Odyssey.
I’ve been involved with Odyssey for three years now, as a contributor, as a reviewer, and now as an editor. The first time it crossed my path was sophomore year. I was a baby college student, hadn’t really made my way up and into the experience yet, and the idea of being published was such an exciting and new experience. Seeing my art printed, displayed next to so many other writers’, poets’, and artists’ work was exhilarating. Up until then, I had written papers, taken tests, and made the Dean’s List, but this felt like my first real college achievement.
I loved that feeling. I still love the feeling of getting my work into a publication, and I love getting to continue Odyssey’s legacy as one of the two co-editors. Like so many pursuing an education and a career, I worry extensively if I am on the right path or if I will love what I do. When I work on a project, I want it to be something that drives me. Odyssey encompasses that passion. Every day I work on Odyssey, I am reminded how much I love working on Odyssey, and journals in general. Creating a journal from scratch—promoting, receiving submissions, deciding on submissions, running the social media accounts, putting it all together into a final, tangible thing—brings me such immense joy. The final product will be coming out in April, and I cannot wait to see all of our hard work come to fruition, to hold it in my hands, and to see the same joy and pride I felt as other students see their work published among so many others.
Odyssey is special. When I first submitted, I was just an anthropology and Spanish major. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was going to do, how I was going to do it. Submitting my work gave me the motivation I needed to continue pursuing art, and working on the editorial board and as an editor has given me the realization that this is what I want to do: designing, working with creative works, running social media campaigns, working with creators, and knowing that what I do has brought joy and pride.
Of course, not everything is rainbows and butterflies and easy sailing. Odyssey has been created entirely from home this year. Meetings between editors and advisors and editorial board members happen over Zoom, documents are emailed back and forth and back again, every interaction occurs with a very annoying little screen in between. Our team is also fairly small. When I worked on Digital Literature Review last year creating an undergraduate research journal about ghosts and cultural hauntings, the project was put together by an entire class. Everyone had a specific role. You designed, you ran social media, you reviewed and edited submissions. Odyssey is an entirely different creature. The submissions are generally much shorter, but there are more of them. My co-editor Julia Tharp and I split up the work of a journal, mostly between just the two of us. Design, emails, reviews, edits, social media, writing copy all fall on us. I don’t know what we would do without the help of our editorial board, who help us review submissions and make acceptance decisions, and our advisor Professor Dalton, who is a constant rock and has the best advice. Seriously, they’re the best.
While creating the journal has been a hectic experience, it has also been a wonderful, irreplaceable experience. Working on Odyssey has helped me grow in so many ways, professionally and personally. By nature, I tend to be a quiet and reserved person, but being a co-editor constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone. Running meetings, constant emails, group discussions, and making editorial decisions with Julia have all been vital to building my confidence, experience, and character.
In a few weeks, I will finally be able to hold Odyssey 2021 in my hands and feel the same pride and joy when I held it for the first time three years ago. Now though, I feel I can fully appreciate it—all the hard work and time that goes into its creation, all the love and care that every creator puts into their work, and all the unforgettable relationships and experiences it brings with it.