Before JennSimpsonPens

Before JennSimpsonPens

Reflecting on my year as an Odyssey contributor...
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On June 27, 2016, I took a bold step forward and published my first article online for the world to see. As an Odyssey contributor, I made a promise to myself that I would try this whole "weekly article" business for a year, no matter what. Some weeks were easier than others. On more than one occasion, I felt like giving up, or that the stress of another weekly deadline wasn't worth it, but I pushed on. Now, here I am, one year later, looking back at a portfolio of 47 (counting this one) posts. I'm somewhat dumbstruck.

I've covered a broad range of topics over the last year, and while some received more attention than others, I'm pleased with my collection of work. Having permission to write about whatever I wanted was amazing (and sometimes, overwhelming). This is an experience I reflect back on fondly. It's been invaluable to have such freedom along with a safety net of editors and a support system of other writers (both for accountability and encouragement). Honestly, I would highly recommend this experience to any aspiring writers who are thinking about branching out.

As for me, this experience has given me the tools and experience I didn't even know I was lacking a year ago to start my own blog (JennSimpsonPens)! At the time of this post, it's still in its infancy, but with the discipline of writing a weekly article for Odyssey, I now know I can handle following a blog schedule.

It's been a great journey (dare I say an odyssey) of learning for me over the last year. Thank you, Odyssey. I couldn't have found my courage without you!

My Odyssey Articles

Disney College Program: DCP Lessons

Just Buy The Toaster

Cry Over The Ranch Dressing

Give Thanks Together

It's A Snake, Sweetheart (Part 1)

It's A Snake, Sweetheart (Part 2)



Movies and Entertainment

Dear Internet, You're Wrong About "Ghostbusters"

Here's The Scoop About "Ghostbusters"

"Book Of The Atlantic" Sets Sail This June

7 Reasons Why You Should See "The Ring" Before You Die

11 Reasons We LOVE Eleven

Blind Date With A Thriller


Food and Drink

Psycho Cupcakes: 13 To-Die-For Treats

Cider And Spice And Everything Nice

Nailed It: Stormtrooper Cupcakes

11 Ways To Dress Up Those Leftovers

What's On Your Cookie Table?

What Blue Apron Doesn't Tell You

Blue Apron Review: How's The Catfish?

Blue Apron Review: Bolognese With Bae

I Don't Want To Give Your Kid A Cheese Sandwich

Free Lunch Might Be Off The Table


Cats

12 Ways My Cat Helps Me Procrastinate

The Cat Who Plays Favorites


Virtues

Why I'm Never Rude To The Cashier

When I Found Dory

Teach Them To Be Kind

Count Your Blessings

Whatever Happened To Our CHILL?



WWE

3 Types Of WWE Fans We All Know

Tag Team Ministry


Work

Today's Goal: Stay Employed

Beware The Boss


Writing

Writing Lessons I Learned From "Hamilton"

Hilarious Homonyms

Ideas Are Like Rocks

Before JennSimpsonPens


Relationships

Long Distance Relationships Suck

Best Big Sister: The Haircut

When You Marry A Writer


Other

Buy A Home, They Said. It'll Be Fun, They Said.

Dragged To The Doctor's Office

15 Inspiring Quotes From #GLS16

How Do You Costume?

Nailed It: DIY Tree Skirt

Goldilumps And The 3 Bras

Easy Pittsburghese

Well, That's A First

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Simpson

Popular Right Now

To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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I Can't Stop Freaking Out About My Future–I Just Want To Be Successful, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

I know that I'm not alone in this feeling

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Lately, I have been in a slump. Maybe it's the time of year, or it's just the fact that we are kind of in that 'quiet time' before the spring semester starts. But still, I'm in a slump.

With only having three semesters of college left, let alone being almost 75% done with my college career is really scaring the crap out of me. It honestly feels like ten minutes ago I was eagerly packing away my things and heading off to college. Well, now that those days are going to soon come to an end, I (and basically everyone too) can't stop freaking out about their future.

I see tweets all the time that say "you will find love, you will find that job" and other emo garbage like that. Obviously, it is a lot easier said and done when these things actually come into play. But I also to feel like posts like that give the individual the illusion that things will just...you know...happen...which isn't true at all. If you want them, you have to make them happen.

So back to I guess relating this to my title is that I want my future that I envision. I want success and to achieve all my dreams so badly that it hurts. Sometimes I feel like I am throwing myself into almost panic-mode because I am so worried that I won't ever get what I want, but then it actually pushes me harder.

Yeah, I can't stop freaking out about my future and that I think its kind of a good thing. If you didn't worry about it, then you don't care. And when you are focused on what you want, with the drive and passion that you have engraved in you, you WILL achieve greatness. So don't ever feel bad about freaking out about your future. You aren't alone at all, trust me.

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