Mass media alumna finds her niche in ’26 and Not Counting’ blog

Grace Foiles

Washburn University alumna Jess Zimlich graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in mass media and has spent the last four years applying that degree to her career path.

Currently, Zimlich is looking for her next full-time position and working on freelance projects, as well as running a lifestyle blog titled “26 and Not Counting.” The blog will celebrate its two-year anniversary this July.

“I chose Washburn University because it was close to home and my friends,”  Zimlich said. “I wasn’t ready to move away quite yet and I wanted to stick to a smaller school and Washburn ended up working out great for me.”

Zimlich discussed the benefit of studying in a smaller department with more one-on-one time with professors. Zimlich said she got her start in mass media by chance.

“I actually started out going in the direction of business and honestly I’m trying to remember how I ended up [in mass media],” Zimlich said. “I think it was probably one of the intro classes that sort of drew me in and then I kind of came to the realization that that was an option.”

Upon graduating, Zimlich began working in a part-time position at Jostens, which was a deviation from her original plan to find a full-time position in marketing.

“Finding a job right out of college proved to be a lot harder than I expected,” Zimlich said. “From there I moved to Kansas City and ended up taking a little detour, working at J.P. Morgan for a little while, and after that I moved back into marketing.”

After her time at J.P. Morgan, Zimlich began work in a marketing position where she also began work on her blog.

“Back in July 2013, I accepted a new position in marketing and turned 26 all in the span of a few weeks,” Zimlich said. She said the name of her blog came about quite organically.

“I had just turned 26. But I started to notice a trend in the way I was approaching birthdays,” Zimlich wrote on her blog. “The thrill was replaced with dread, and I knew it wasn’t a healthy mindset to be in. I’m learning to appreciate each and every year as it comes and I can honestly say they keep getting better and better.”

Zimlich’s blog covers a variety of topics including fitness, wellness, fashion, food, the Book Club Blogger and current events in her home of Kansas City.

“Blogging was, and still is, my escape,” Zimlich wrote. “It has forced me to grow in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, and I’ve learned so much about myself through the process.”

In reference to her time as a blogger, Zimlich said the only regret she had was not starting sooner.

Zimlich encourages others to follow similar pursuits.

“Whether it’s a blog, an online business or other projects, it’s just important for students to have something to work on,” Zimlich said.

For more information, visit or email Zimlich at [email protected]