Thank You, Odyssey, For Being My Defining Moment

Thank You, Odyssey, For Being My Defining Moment

Being an EIC wasn’t my defining moment, clicking that submit button two years ago, though, was my defining moment.

In our lives, we have defining moments. These moments look different from person to person but, nonetheless, they exist. Sometimes, we don’t realize what these moments are until hours, days, weeks, months or even years after they happen.

For me, my defining moment happened two years ago.

Two years ago, I found Odyssey and shortly thereafter, I randomly decided to submit an application as an overzealous freshman who wanted to be published as much as possible. I remember being overjoyed when I was going to be screened by a Managing Editor at Odyssey’s headquarters. I was thrilled when I was offered a spot on the team.

I advanced from being a creator to a Contributing Editor and then an Editor-in-Chief, launching my own community, Aspiring Journalism Professionals. I thought I would be an EIC until I graduated, but, sometimes, our plans don’t work out the way we thought they would.

A few months ago, I was offered an internship position with the company, and it has been the best part of my Odyssey experience to date. Constantly being surrounded and supported by so many full-time employees even when I work remotely is such a rarity, and I’m so grateful it’s a rarity I get to experience.

I have been given an amazing opportunity that I want to take full advantage of, and, in order to do that, it meant walking away from being an EIC and passing that opportunity onto the next person in line who deserves to have her defining moment.

See, what I got wrong about being an EIC is that I thought I was defined by my role, when, in fact, I wasn’t. I thought that being an EIC was my defining moment, and if I stepped out of that role — I questioned who I would be.

Being an EIC wasn’t my defining moment, clicking that submit button two years ago, though, was.

Being an EIC wasn’t the end for me — even though I thought it was. It was part of a larger defining moment in my life that shaped me to be who I am.

It was one role that taught me I wanted to not only be an EIC, but I wanted to coach EICs. I wanted to help people find their voice and amplify it on a national scale. I guess you could say I wanted to help others find their defining moment through the company that gave me mine.

So often we judge ourselves not on where we have come from, but how far we have yet to go. As I step out of one role and fully immerse myself in another, I’m learning how truly wrong that is.

If you would have told me two years ago that I would be in this position I probably would have laughed at you because let’s be honest, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

There’s so much more out there that I cannot wait to accomplish, but I also recognize how much I have accomplished. That’s something to be proud of, and I didn’t realize it until now.

I can’t move on to the next phase of my defining moment if I keep holding on to the last one inhibiting someone else from getting her defining moment.

So, maybe our defining moments aren’t moments at all.

Maybe they’re a string of events. Either way, I know Odyssey is my defining moment, and while tears have been shed making this decision — I’m beyond excited for my future with this company and all that my future and defining moment has to hold.

Cover Image Credit: Stephanie Ginzburg

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22 Things Girls Who Grew Up In the Mid-90s Know To Be True

19. You were so tired of losing your Bratz dolls' feet.

For 90s babies, our childhood was such a magical time. Our biggest problems revolved around if and when we'd get to meet Aaron Carter, whether or not our mom had washed our favorite Hollister t-shirt, or the growing debate over which Jonas brother was the cutest. In case you forgot, here are some facts of life for any girls who grew up in the 90s.

1. Jesse McCartney and Aaron Carter were the real heartthrobs before JB or Harry Styles ever hit the scene.

2. Disney Channel aired shows that were actually enjoyable.

3. Birkenstocks are making their second round right now. We wore them out back in the day.

4. Speaking of shoes, you've probably owned at least three different styles of New Balances because they were all the rave and so comfortable, and you wonder why they ever became unpopular.

5. THESE bracelets

6. You saw Amanda Bynes in her prime.

7. In middle school, you watched a lot of reality dating shows.

8. Abercrombie and Hollister were so "in," but your mom always pushed for Gap or Old Navy.

9. Had to have one... or five.

10. You probably have a lot of memories from the skating rink.

11. SO MANY CDs.

12. When Teen Beach Movie came out, the hype reminded you of when High School Musical made its big debut.

13. You were probably obsessed with Laguna Beach or The Hills or both. Team LC, Team Heidi, or Team Kristin?

14. Your crush on Taylor Lautner stemmed not from "Twilight" but from "Shark Boy and Lava Girl."

15. Karaoke, anyone?

16. Cell phone charms and rhinestones! The more bling the better.

17. Talking on the house phone ALL NIGHT LONG.

18. Picking your husband from either Backstreet Boys or NSYNC.

19. You were so tired of losing your Bratz dolls' feet.

20. When the Jonas Brothers came out, everyone liked Nick and Joe, and you secretly felt bad for Kevin.

21. Planning your whole life out ...

22. Lisa Frank over everything.

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An Open Letter To My Youngest Self

From, the young adult finding comfort in the past while lost in the present.


Dear future big person,

Speaking from experience, the world is a crazy place. It's sad, yet exciting to know what the future holds for you. The world has been taken over by devices and electronics most never thought were possible.

If you're wondering why I'm writing to you, it's because I care a lot more now than I did back when I was you. I'm your Marty McFly, here to tell you how to prepare for the future. (Don't ask me what that reference is –you figure it out!).

For starters, let's talk about this technology thing. Gameboys, Nintendo DS', Wiis, Xboxes –don't mess with them. Television is fine –if the people from the Cold War survived it, we can, too. I want you to spend time enjoying the real world, not the electronic, fake one.

I want you to go outside and sit in the grass, pick those dandelions and mash them up into "paint." Paint mom something nice and maybe go for a bike ride with dad. Catch lightning bugs at dusk and bottle them all up in a mason jar. Eventually, let them free, all together.

Your brother is gross and weird, but he actually turns out to be a pretty cool kid. You don't have to be all mushy with him, but be sure he knows you love him. After all, he is family.

Make friends in the neighborhood, even if they are boys. So what? Challenge them. Race them on your bike with awesome purple and white streamers drifting from the handlebars. Push hard, through the soles of your Sketchers covered feet.

Pick up a piece of chalk and create a world of your own world with 3,000 Toys R Us stores, one police station, and only a few stop signs. Create and color your own flowers, whether they actually exist or not. Let your imagination run wild!

Turn on the radio and dance like crazy! Scream the lyrics to Smashmouth's "All Star" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." Change the station every now and then to hear something new; it's always interesting to see your reactions to these interesting creations.

I want you to wear what you feel like and don't care what the others say about you. If you want to wear your purple dress-up shoes with your matching purse and hat, then do it. If you want to wear a Hula skirt in the dead of winter, do it (but please bring some leggings so mom doesn't flip out). If you want to wear those bedazzled jeans, then rock 'em.

If you're wondering why I'm telling you to do these silly things, it's only because we lost these traits along the way. I don't want you to miss the experiences that only come from the natural world because you had your head stuck in a tablet; it will all pass you in the blink of an eye.

I don't want you to ever feel trapped inside your house, no matter the weather. There is always a way out.

Don't let other people stop you from getting something you want. Don't let them intimidate you or talk you out of something you are passionate about.

Your friends will be the people you escape to when the house seems inescapable. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Your imagination is one of the greatest gifts you'll ever have. It drives you –your hopes and dreams, your wishes in the fountain and your kisses to the dandelions. Don't ever stop chasing them.

Always, always do what you want to do. You sing karaoke to that super catchy song because you know you'll kill it. Wear what you want however you want because you know that you look good in some strange way. (As long as you're not naked, that is). Stubbornness is good.

Your family will always be your family. What they do affects you, and vice versa. Bring them good, positive news. They don't need any more trouble.

Stand up for yourself, for your friends and family, for your beliefs and wishes. Be proud of the work you do and the life you live. Many people around you wish they could have lived like you did.

Most importantly, do not let your past define your future. A lot of things will happen, some of which may or may not go horribly wrong. There is nothing you can do to stop these things, except hope. You can always change for the better as long as you don't look back. Be proud of your past, but be known for your future –whatever you want that to be.

Please, promise me these things. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to never lose these traits –hold them tightly and never release them. I can't tell you how this life is going to go, because that simply isn't the way this world works. Just breathe through it and listen to your gut –that's the future guiding you.

I, and many others, love you –your character, your curls, your studded jeans,your pink Power Ranger costume, your Hello Kitty backpack, and your goofy smile.

Don't ever forget that.

With love,

The Girl Who Is Lost And Trying To Turn Back Time.

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