TAKING A BREAK (EVEN WHEN IT’S SCARY)

I’ve never been one for taking breaks, it’s the Enneagram Type 2 in me. If I’m not doing things then it’s easy for me to fall into a slump of feeling useless and alone. I definitely have guilt when it comes to doing nothing or taking time for myself to rest. At times, I recognize this isn’t the healthiest of mindsets. I’ve actually gotten to the point where it’s really hard for me to fall asleep. I’m either thinking about all the things I could/should be doing or my mind is running with random thoughts from the day. However, we all deserve a good break every now and then, and if we don’t take it, we’ll likely smack into a wall and be forced into it.

I don’t know about you, but this has felt like an exhausting year! It’s just been mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. In whatever ways a person can feel exhausted, I’m feeling it. Which is weird to think about in a season where a lot of us have been trapped at home. Just because we’ve been at home though, doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Since we’re all working and living mostly out of our homes, it’s also increasingly harder to find spaces for good rest. I don’t know about you, but my room doesn’t feel as restful when I spend all day in there working, doing Zoom meetings, writing scripts, and all the other things that come with my job and school.

Plus, it feels like my mind is trying to comprehend something new every day. With things constantly changing and a new crisis seemingly popping up, it’s been a lot for my brain to process. Not to mention adjusting to a whole new way of life. We have to wear masks, can’t touch each other, have to stay socially distant with those we normally have no problem hugging, and are figuring out new work/school patterns. It’s a lot to figure out and we all had to do it with a quick turnaround in order to stay afloat. It’s been a lot to handle, and the need for a good break is real.

For the first time in a while, I’m allowing myself to take a good break (hopefully). I left my current main job on August 7th and will have a one-to-two week period before my next gig as a GA and grad school begins. For the last four years, I’ve consistently had two or more jobs at a time (most of that was also always on top of being a full-time college student). I felt happiest being a busy-bee chasing away at my career goals. I think after this season we’ve all been in though, I’m realizing it’s good to give myself a true break. No worrying about what I should/could be doing like I normally would if I were on vacation. I’ll just have my one job doing social media for Trinity Arts Center, and I’m really excited about after five months of the center being closed and is a job that never feels stressful to do. I’m actually really excited to have more time to come up with some killer ideas for their social media this year!

Of course, I won’t just be doing nothing during this time off. Like I said, if I do nothing at all, then I’ll start getting into a poor state of mental health. I want to be intentional about doing things that truly bring me rest and hopefully refresh me as I get ready to start graduate school and my graduate assistantship. I want to take some time to be still and sit in God’s presence. Enjoy some time being intentional with friends that fuel me. Pick up some hobbies so when someone says “what do you like to do?” I can answer with something other than “I work, I don’t have hobbies.” Hopefully, I’ll even be inspired with some new content to write. With all that change that’s happened in the world this year and all that’s about to change in my life personally, I’m ready to just be truly restful.

I hope this serves as a good reminder for you to rest too. I know in this season of everything changing daily, it can be hard to find time to relax. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, set aside some time in your day to find rest. Take some deep breaths, read a few pages of a book, or call that old friend that you haven’t seen in ages. Whatever it is that truly re-fills you, find that and take some intentional time to do it. I know we’re all going to come out of this season extremely strong, but if we don’t rest then we’ll also come out of it extremely deprived.

Stay safe and remember to rest!

❤ / Bailey

RE-ARRANGING GOALS

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been quite the crap shoot of a year (I’d have some stronger words to use, but let’s keep this PG for now). It seems like each new day brings a new challenge locally, nationally, or globally. By now it would seem strange if something life altering didn’t come up with each month of the year. It’s been a lot to deal with. Even for us glass-half-full positive types, it’s starting to get really fuzzy on seeing the good anymore.

One of the things that’s causing a lot of fuzziness for me is how much my plans are changing. If you know me, you know I can be quite the planner. I utilize my phone, laptop, and a paper planner to make sure everything is in line and I’m not forgetting anything. But, this year, I think I’ve used white out in my planner more than I’ve used highlighter. I was supposed to have a fun last semester bonding with friends, graduate in a big ceremony celebrating with family and friends, and move back to Florida to continue my career with Disney Parks and Resorts. Instead, I did my last couple of months completely online in quarentine, had to watch my graduation ceremony on my laptop in my kitchen, and am still in Tennessee.

Wrapped up in all of my plans this year were goals that I had set out to complete. Thanks to COVID-19 coming into play, it feels like all of these goals just vanished. It has me feeling like I’m failing. For a perfectonist and over-achiever, it can be hard to realize that some goals just can’t be met in certain scenarios. This year is a prime example! I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for what I’m not completing, and instead focus on re-arranging my goals. There’s still things to be excited about and ways I can keep growing, if I allow myself to keep pushing!

So, what’s next for me? Well, my goal of building a career with Disney Parks & Resorts is definitely growing. Seeing the parks in Orlando, and across the world, re-opening is reminding me how much I want to be a part of the magic that they bring into the world. Instead of moving back to Orlando right now when things are still uncertain, I’ll keep working hard and learning in order to better situate myself to make the best magic I can. I’ll be starting graduate school in the fall and am honored to have receieved a graduate assistantship position that will provide tuition coverage and a stipend. This will allow med to continue harnessing my strengths in media and communication, while growing my knowledge and skills in brand and media strategy that will better set me up to meet my career goals. I can make some magic of my own the next two years while I’m still in Tennessee as well!

While it’s a little discouraging to have to re-arrange some goals, it’s important to remember how much stronger we’ll be once all of this is over. We are quite literally living through what will be in future generation’s history books. Nobody expected this and nobody has been through this before. One day we’ll look back and realized how all of this was shaping us. Hopefully, most of us will be changed for the better.

Keep staying strong and don’t give up on your goals! A little re-arranging is better than abandoning them completely. Who knows, something even better might be in store for the meantime.

❤ / Bailey

https://blacklivesmatter.com/resources/

https://www.hrsa.gov/opa/COVID-19-resources

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent

I Graduated College…What’s Next?

On Saturday, May 9, 2020, I graduated Cum Laude from East Tennessee State University with my Bachelor of Science in Media and Communication with a concentration in Advertising/Public Relations and minor in Marketing. Virtual commencement may not have been what I’d imagined, but it was still a nice way to honor the Spring 2020 graduates. It included some musical performances, inspiring messages from our dean and president, a special message from Dolly Parton, and the conferring of degrees. My family decorated the house with balloons, streamers, and banners, and a dear family friend came to *socially distance* watch the stream with us and cheer as my name was called.

I’m done with undergrad, now what? It’s the first day of summer break and I already checked three times to make sure I didn’t have homework due. I’d say it’s going to take some time before this graduate thing really sets in. When it comes to what’s next, I’m really leaning on listening to God. Due to the unstableness of the job market in the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided maybe searching for a full-time position wasn’t the next journey on my path. I applied to a lot of positions and am keeping my eyes open, but I’m not betting on that due to the unknown nature of the world. My dream is to work for Disney after all, and the parks are still closed with no open date in sight.

After much consideration and persuasion from professors, I decided to apply to graduate school. If you would have told me I’d be really considering this at the beginning of my senior year, I probably would’ve called you crazy. The pandemic has really shaken things up though and my perspective has changed. On April 24, I was offered acceptance into the Brand and Media Strategy, M.A. program at East Tennessee State University! It seems like this is the next step that God is leading me towards. Although it’s not quite what I imagined I would be doing next, I am excited to be back on campus in the Fall! I already love the department, know a good amount of the incredible professors, and am excited to dig into more of what exactly I want to pursue in the field of media and communication.

While it’s not exactly the next step I thought I’d take in my journey, it doesn’t change my overall goals. I want to work for Disney. Graduate school will only help me achieve that dream. I’ll gain experiences and knowledge that will help set me apart from the competitions and get a better sense of exactly what position/field I want to be making magic in one day. It’s a good reminder that the plan is never mine. It’s God’s plan for me and God’s plan is perfect. I just have to listen hard to match my plan to God’s.

As far as this summer goes, I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a break. I’ve been taking 15 credit hours a semester on top of almost always working two or more jobs, so I think I deserve some time to rest. I’ll still be working for FCC-JC and hope to continue working on social media for TAC. Hopefully, COVID-19 calms down and I can get some travel in. I’d love to visit some friends across the country and hopefully get the Walt Disney World celebratory trip I’d had planned with my DCP roommate, Sam.

For now, I’ll keep taking things day by day. That’s all we really can do! It’ll take some adjusting to get used to not being in school, so hopefully, I can find things to fill the time. I see some Disney+ binge sessions in my future! I’m also hoping to work on some digital art and hand lettering with my iPad like I’ve been wanting to do since last summer. I’ll also be taking care of the four stray cats that are calling our yard home…who knew putting out one bowl of food would attract so many cats? I’ll also be video chatting friends as much as possible, and hoping it’s safe enough to see them in person soon.

I’m hoping, for everyone’s sake, that summer is a good season. One of healing, connection, and togetherness. It’s been a lonely, scary few months. As the sun comes rolling in, I’m hoping so does healing. Whatever comes next, I know there’s a plan for it.

❤ / Bailey, B.S. 🙂

APPROACHING THE FINISH LINE…EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE IT

Well, folks, next week is “dead week,” the week before finals. One of the most dreaded times of the year for any college student. It’s weird to think that it’s almost here! Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t left my house in a month, but it just doesn’t seem like this semester should be coming to an end. It especially doesn’t feel like my undergraduate career is almost over. What a strange sentence to type!

The thing is, I don’t think it’ll feel real for a while. Since commencement was canceled, we don’t have that moment that signifies the finishing of our degree. We don’t get to walk across the stage, shake hands, and receive our diploma while surrounded by friends, family, and the professors that helped us get to this point. It’ll be hard to realize that I’m done with my bachelor’s degree.

What an odd semester it’s been. As we approach dead week, I know I’m not the only one struggling with a lack of motivation. Working from home and not being around the energy of my fellow classmates has me dragging to do any schoolwork at all. I know I’m fighting the senior-itis of “well I’m not getting a graduation commencement, why should I care at this point?” Which is a hard state of mind to battle! There are only one or two classes I feel like putting energy into, and one of those has a competition aspect that’s keeping me grinding. We’ve pulled a couple of late-night work sessions for that one and I’m genuinely excited for what we’re doing! Every other class…not so much. Maybe I just don’t have as much energy to give right now, but considering the circumstances, I think that’s okay.

I find that I keep having to remind myself that I am actually done in two weeks. I will have finished all of my classes (don’t worry, I’m not letting my grades slip at the end – I’ve worked too hard to give up now) and be done with my degree. It definitely doesn’t feel like it. Maybe our virtual graduation ceremony will shake some more sense into me, but who knows. This time that is supposed to be spent celebrating with friends has turned into a lonely, depressing season of life.

I’m trying to stay positive. Zoom calls with friends and some Animal Crossing time is helping, but it doesn’ weigh out all the negatives. I’ve pretty much come to with being upset though. It’s something worth being upset over. For college seniors, it’s a grieving process right now for losing the end of our college careers. We didn’t get to have our last all-nighters with classmates, the hugs and hoorays from professors who have gotten us to this point, or the goodbyes to friends going opposite directions. It makes this season of dealing with a pandemic just that much worse.

If you’re like me and feeling bummed about not having a commencement, don’t forget to be proud of yourself. Keep pushing through to finish college strong. Plan something fun to look forward to on the day you were supposed to graduate. Even if it’s just sitting in your cap and gown at home while drinking champagne or hosting your own graduation in your backyard, so something that will lift your spirits. The day is still yours and you deserve to be celebrated! I know I’m proud of you.

Good luck to everyone in school as we wrap up this semester! It’s been a rough one, for sure, but bright things are coming. Just keep pushing towards that light. We’ll all get to better things soon. If you know a senior, make sure to give them a hug or a little message of encouragement. They could use it!

❤ / Bailey

LOSING CONTROL OF THE PLAN

There’s so much I feel like I want to talk about right now, it’s kind of crazy. So, here I am! It’s currently been 17 days since I last left my house due to the COVID-19 quarantine. So much has changed in the last 17 days that I’m not even sure where to begin.

I’m starting to get used to being at home and working remotely. I’m an extrovert, so finding energy is pretty hard. I’ve had two days thus far where I woke up with zero energy or drive. You don’t realize just how much getting out of the house and around other people affects your energy until you’re forced to stay inside. I’ve learned that on those days, it’s just better to work in bed. I try to keep up a “getting ready” routine, but on the days when I feel low, I need to just grab my laptop in bed. We found out the other day that graduation commencement is canceled, and that really didn’t help.

Most people who know me know I’m constantly planning things. I carry my Passion Planner everywhere I got, put my plans into every device calendar I have and am constantly populating Pinterest boards with ideas. It’s easy, during this season, to think “nothing is turning out the way I planned!” I had such high expectations for this year. I wanted to spend time with friends, go on trips that would bond us, celebrate graduating college with my friends and family, and move back to Orlando. I had outfits envisioned, suitcases purchased, poses chosen for photos, and announcements designed. Not a single one of those is happening. It’s a hard reality to face for a planner. I’ve had to white-out so much in my planner for the next few weeks, and it’s honestly depressing to dwell on. We’re in a state in the world where planning literally anything is practically impossible. Things are continuously changing and we don’t know what we’re going to face tomorrow. Losing control in this way has been a hard pill for me to swallow.

However, I know this season is teaching me. Through continuous change, disappointment, and grieving, I will learn. I will learn to be happy with living in the moment. I will learn to cherish what I have even more. I will learn to keep rising. I will learn to let go of control. The truth is, the plan has never been mine. God has had a plan for my life since day one. A plan I try my best to follow, but a plan that will inevitably be greater than I could even start to imagine. If I just keep listening and dreaming, I’ll find my way to the ultimate plan.

There will be more bumps in the road. What the world is experiencing right now has changed everything. Society as we know it will likely never be the same. So, apparently, the world was in need of a big change. Even if we can’t see it right now behind all the statistics, sorrow, and disappointments, the future is bright. Think of how much stronger we’ll all be once we make it through. We are quite literally living through what will be chapters worth of future generations History books. It’ll be quite the story to tell one day!

In the meantime, I will continue going day-by-day. I’ll stay at home, social distance, and wash my hands to help keep from spreading this nasty virus and try to ignore my hypochondriac voice in my head. I’ll try my best to find the bright spots in the midst of this crazy time. It can be hard to be thankful right now, but it’s important to take note of even the small things. Here are some of mine:

  • Catching up with my DCP friends that will always be family, no matter the distance.
  • Having a yard to wander around in for some sunshine.
  • The time to pick up some new hobbies and get things done.
  • Stray cats trusting me to be their friend.
  • The Comfy my mom bought me. AKA – my quarantine universe.
  • Access to healthcare & all those who are working it.
  • My family doing their best to keep us all sane while in a house together.
  • Vlogs that make life seem more normal.
  • Nintendo Switch & Animal Crossing (my new obsession – add me as a friend on Switch).
  • My friends who I’m able to stay in touch with via phones, Zoom, & Snapchat.
  • Having a space to stay healthy & safe.

Don’t forget to take a moment to be thankful during this season. It may feel like we’re all living through a nightmare, but we’ll wake up from it into a new tomorrow.

❤ / Bail

A NOTE TO THE CLASS OF 2020

Hey class of 2020,

It felt important to write this, although I’m not quite sure where to begin. I know, things are really crazy right now. Most of us are probably feeling a bit down in the dumps. Our classes are being pushed online, events we’ve been looking forward to are being canceled,  and who even knows if we’ll have a commencement ceremony any time soon. It’s a tough time to be in the class of 2020.

I know, I’m right there with you! I got the email yesterday that the rest of my semester will be spent online. It broke my heart. I think I cried more in the last day than I have in the last month. My commencement is still up in the air as they have yet to make that decision. There’s a lot of emotions going around, and it’s okay to feel this way. I know the whole world is dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t lessen the hurt that we’re feeling.

It’s okay to be mad, upset, or sad. This was supposed to be a joyous season. One full of celebrations and that feeling of success as we walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. We were supposed to be able to see our friends in class every day, pass by old friends as we’re running across campus to our next class, laugh with the classmates that have become like family while we’re down to our last brain cell staying up late working on those final projects. Now, we’re all self-quarantined and trying our best to pull off the rest of our classes from home. It’s probably now the way any of us were expecting our last semester would go, I know it’s never what I had in mind.

I think what hurts the most is not getting those last memories in with friends. I was looking forward to trips spent with my department and a team that I’ve grown so close with after we’ve worked so hard all semester. I wanted those late nights spent in the library or Warf-Pickel as we get those last group projects wrapped up. I’ll miss just walking into class and being able to laugh with my classmates who have become close friends and the professors who have played an integral part in shaping me into who I am today. A lot of whom, we’ve stuck together since Freshman or Sophomore year. I was excited to scream and cheer for each of my friends as their name gets called to walk across that stage. Now, I don’t even know if I’ll see some of them in-person until our commencement day comes, and that makes me sad.

Regardless of all the pain, don’t let this diminish the incredible work you’ve done. We’ve all worked really hard the past four years, and fought our entire lives, and we deserve the recognition and feeling of success for pulling it all off. Heck, I’m proud of us for going through what we are right now. I bet not many classes can say they had their whole semester uprooted during spring break. That in itself is something to be proud of. It shows how much stronger we are and that we are truly able to get through anything. Keep pushing, keep working hard, and keep your head up. Celebrate those honors you received, be excited about passing those really hard classes, and enjoy the fact that you made it through those rough presentations. The class of 2020 is worth celebrating big.

I know things will be hard for a while. Who knows how much longer things will be like this. If we all listen and practice social distancing and stay at home, hopefully, things will clear up soon. Either way, moving on is going to be hard. I know I’m already scared of what the job world is going to look like after this hit the economy is taking. Joining the “real world” is scary enough, now we’re delving into what seems like a “post-apocalyptic” world. It’s scary and it’s unknown. It’s also going to make us one of the strongest generations out there.

To the class of 2020, know I’m so proud of you. I’m proud to be one of you and I can’t wait for the day when we can all celebrate together. Keep going strong in your online classes. Don’t give up. It’s okay to be upset, but don’t forget to proud. You’re doing amazing, unthinkable things.

Especially to my fellow Bucs – I’m sending all my love. Y’all mean the world to me.

❤ / Bailey

PS – Don’t forget to stay in touch! Snapchat and FaceTime your friends relentlessly. We all need a little extra friend time these days.

Bumps in the Road

Well, well. Long time no type. Actually, I’ve been typing a lot recently but it’s been for school and not blogging! Seeing as it’s now technically Spring Break, I figured it’s as good as a time as ever to do some typing for myself.

As most of you probably know, the world is kind of in the midst of chaos right now. Most colleges and schools are shutting down, travel is being banned, and toilet paper is flying off the shelves thanks to Coronavirus. They even shut down Disney World! If you’ve even been on the internet once then I’m sure you’ve heard about it. It’s hard not too! It’s on everyone’s mind and finds its way into every conversation.

When it comes to bumps in the road, the Coronavirus epidemic seems more like a mountain. Two trips that I was really looking forward to this semester got canceled, we’re switching to online classes until April, and everyone’s worried about whether or not we’ll actually get to have a graduation ceremony. It’s a lot to be sad about! In the grand scheme of things, I know how I’ve been affected thus far is nothing in comparison to others, but it doesn’t make it any less hard on my emotions. This was supposed to be my year where I did more and dreamed big!

Now, it seems like all those things I had the last chance of doing are being ripped away from me. This is definitely a hard time to be a college student as the future is so uncertain. Some of the classes I’m taking this semester are ones I need to graduate and I’m not sure how they’re going to be completed using an online platform because they’re oral communication heavy. I’ll be very interested to see how I’m supposed to give formal debates over Zoom. We’re having to say our goodbyes much sooner than expected, our teachers are scrambling to figure out how to convey all the amazing things they have to teach over the internet, and we don’t get those last moments of wisdom and guidance from them. At this point, who even knows if seniors will get the commencement ceremony we’ve dreamed of and fought so hard to make it to. It’s a tough time. I’m still hopeful that we’ll be able to return to campus in April and praying for that every day.

Not to mention, as a budding Public Relations professional, the way Coronavirus news and information is being communicated is weighing heavy on my heart. It seems like every business and organization is making some sort of statement about Coronavirus and the ways in which they are responding to it. Some things I see and think we’re only making things worse by sharing them on social media, but at the same time we DO need to share what we know in order to keep people safe and informed. It’s a hard line to tread and one I’m constantly balancing on. They say working in Public Relations is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and now I can definitely see why! Let’s just hope there will still be post-grad job opportunities once all of this is over.

Overall, I’m trying really hard not to let this virus get to me. My anxiety isn’t making it super easy, but I’m trusting that this is all happening for a reason. I’ve always been a little germaphobic and this virus isn’t helping that either. I’m trying not to be over-concerned! This year didn’t start off great for me, and all the things that brought me joy are now seemingly being ripped away. I just picked up my cap and gown next week and who knows if I’ll get to wear it? I’m really hoping and praying that classes can resume as normal in April and that we get to have commencement. I’m using hand sanitizer and washing my hands as much as possible and drinking daily doses of Emergen-c. I’m trying not to dwell on it too much and let it overtake my life while still remaining cautious.

Although there have been many bumps in the road this year, I will keep dreaming that things will turn out. I’m not giving up on this year. It was supposed to be a year of dreaming big and it will continue to be just that. The path to my dreams may look different, but I won’t stop the journey.

I hope you are all staying healthy! Wash your hands, social distance, drink plenty of water, and whatever else you need to boost your immune system. If you’re feeling bored or lonely while stuck at home, I’m happy to chat!

❤ / Bailey

SHOWING LOVE AFTER HEARTBREAK

It’s that time of year again. The stores are filling with chocolates, flowers, stuffed animals, and cards. Single people are reminded of their loneliness and couples are being obscenely and annoyingly cute. Yep, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day.

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It seems like the older I get, the less excited I really am about the whole ordeal. I miss the elementary school days of decorating a shoebox and picking out the best Hannah Montana themed cards with candy or temporary tattoos attached to hand out to my classmates. You’d eat so much sugar and snacks while partying in the class and went home in a crazy candy induced state followed by a serious crash. Those truly were the good ole days. Can we bring that into adulthood? I think it would make this commercialized holiday a little better!

Despite the tradition of purchasing candy and gifts for your significant other, Valentine’s Day is about showing love. But what about those people who have experienced recent heartbreak? I’m not just talking about breaking up with your partner either. Heartbreak comes in many forms. It could be losing a pet or family member, not getting the job you were so confident you were meant for, failing an exam, losing your favorite necklace, having a friend betray you and having to let them go, and so much more. All of these things can make Valentine’s Day less like a holiday and more of a burden. The red and pink plastered packaging on candy and giant stuffed animals can make you wanna puke.

I know the feeling. It seems like recently, I’ve been going through quite a bit of heartbreak. When I think of Valentine’s Day right now, my first instinct is to roll my eyes and be disgusted. I even found an anti-Valentine’s Day playlist that I’ve been listening to at work or as I’m walking around campus. I was definitely letting my various forms of heartbreak get to me. I’m not saying I shouldn’t have, because I am focusing more on accepting my negative emotions and not suppressing them, but I’m realizing I can’t let myself get too far into this heartbreak. I don’t want to let it consume me and stop me from showing the people I do love how much I care! I’ve been working through it all and trying to find the best way to keep positive, and praying a lot for God to show me what to do. Let me tell you, when you ask God to show up, God SHOWS UP in ways you can’t even imagine.

In particular, I felt like I was being pointed to answers in my daily devotionals. I recently impulse-bought Bob Goff’s new book “Live in Grace, Walk in Love.” It’s a 365-day journey that I was a little late to the game on starting at the beginning of the year, but I’m working through starting in February. One of my goals for this year was to read the Bible more and I was hoping this would help. I was reading the other day and the topic was John 15:9, which reads “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Goff follows up with this statement that smacked me like a ton of bricks:

We can’t avoid it, because we’re all a little broken and we’re bound to get things wrong. Someone will eventually nestle their way into your heart and then let you down. And when they do, you’ll either explode in anger or show a steady stream of love. Be love, so love will flow out when people fail you, just like it flowed from Jesus we He took the fall for us.

Whoa. I read this and felt like God was directly talking to me. It hit on so much of what I’ve been going through and looking for answers on. Isn’t it crazy how God works sometimes? I’d been wondering how to react and keep going and here was God telling me “show love.” Although I haven’t been actively letting my anger take charge of my actions, it definitely has been festering in my mind. This was a good reminder that I should replace that love. A steady stream of love to be exact, which makes me feel better. I often think “how can I show love right now? Does that mean I’m supposed to forgive right away and act like everything is normal?” I don’t think that’s what Goff is saying here. Yes, we should show love, but it doesn’t have to come rushing in like a wave. It can be a steady stream. That was reassuring to me.

All this to say, love can be shown after heartbreak because Jesus took the ultimate fall for us. He showed us the way to live in love and pour that out in all situations. It may take time and be small acts at first, but a steady stream of love can solve anything. I’m excited to continue to see how this book pushes me towards living in grace and walking in love. For now, I know these devotionals are exactly what I needed right now.

So, show some love this Valentine’s Day! Even if you’re single and a little bitter (like me), show some love to your friends, family, pets, or even strangers. You never know how a little act of love can really change someone’s day, and it may make you feel a whole lot better too!

❤ / Bailey

ONE YEAR LATER | DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM

One year. This time last year, I was embarking on a magical journey that would change my life. That’s right folks, it’s been one year since I started my Disney College Program (and I still talk about it every day). It’s crazy to think it’s been that long! I can still remember my Traditions day with that first look at the castle and my first day in DAK with that park arrival music like they were yesterday. Yet so much has changed in just one year.

What surprises me the most is that I still talk about it…all the time. You know those dreaded ice-breakers and introductions you have to do the first week of school? I’ve had a lot of those recently and I mention my program every single time. I didn’t know the DCP could become a personality trait, but it really has. In my Editing class, the professor has us come up with headlines for our life. Mine was “I did the Disney College Program.” When my Argumentation and Debate professor has us introduce ourselves and tell the class what our hobbies were, the only thing that came to my mind was going to Disney World. Yeah, it’s that bad.

So, how does it feel one year later? It’s strange to think it’s been that long. I still use the Disney point and knock twice on every door I go through. There are several habits I picked up from being a Cast Member that I carry with me today. At this point, I don’t think they’re ever going away! That’s just the thing, I think being a Cast Member will always be a part of me. It’s amazing how working at the happiest place on earth for four months can really change a person. I’m thankful for my self-confidence growth, the level of professionalism I acquired, and the drive I now have to go after my dreams and make the world a better place. I owe that and so much more to my DCP. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about it.

Not to mention, all the great friends I still have from the program. I read a blog post recently called To My DCP Ohana that literally made me tear up thinking about all the dear people that were in MY DCP Ohana. My DCP definitely wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing people that touched my life through the process. I had the best group of co-workers and roommates that a gal could ask for. There are people who I still talk to every single day, those I keep up with on social media, and the people who will always hold a fond memory in my heart. I miss each of them dearly but I am grateful that I met them and will always consider them family. That’s what they are! They made Disney home. Wherever I am in the world, my door will always be open to them.

At this point, I no longer think back at my time at Disney with sadness. I won’t lie, the post-DCP depression was real. It feels less weird to be back in Johnson City and I think I’m getting pretty comfortable with change. Of course, I miss my program, but I think back at it and smile. How lucky I was to have had that experience. Not everyone can say they lived and worked at Disney World. I’m hoping my Disney journey isn’t over yet. As I lean into where God is leading me, I feel like Disney may be back in the journey. We’ll see, but I’m hopeful my days of making magic aren’t quite over yet!

To anyone considering doing the Disney College Program, PLEASE apply! It’s truly the best experience I’ve ever had. Even if you don’t get in on the first try, keep applying each semester. I cannot fully express how much I think everyone should have this experience. One year later, and I am overflowing with thankfulness. In the words of Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

❤ / Bailey

The First Week

It’s here! My final semester of undergrad has arrived! I knew from the getgo that this semester was gonna be big. I have some big classes, big opportunities, and big-time job hunting to do. I was mixed with excitement and nerves as I woke up at 6 am (yes, I have one of THOSE classes) and got ready for my last first day.

To be completely honest, this week has not gone at all how I thought it would. It started with something less than pleasant happening the day before school started that has put me in quite a funk. I honestly can’t remember a time feeling like this and it doesn’t seem to be going away. I can distract myself from it but the moment I have free time it comes crawling up and smacks me right in the feels. So, I’m trying to keep busy and not talk about it much. Despite that already weighing on my shoulders, it’s also been a crazy time working out my schedule! I had to shift around classes, figure out how to make it across the street and across campus in ten minutes to get to my next class and let’s not forget my new 6 am wake up call. Not the most pleasant! That on top of working two jobs has me exhausted. I know it’ll take a little while to find my new rhythm, and when I do I know it’ll feel less tiring. The first week is always that hardest!

Despite the less fortunate pieces of this week, I am excited to see what this semester holds! I’ve got some fun projects, travel opportunities, and classmates and teachers to enjoy the company of. I can see myself being stretched in some really healthy ways that are going to be a great push as I enter the career world. I get to put my editor’s cap back on this semester for an editing class, which I’m excited to tap into that side of myself again! I’m also pumped to be on a competition team and see what amazingness we’re able to create. It’s going to be a really great opportunity for growth over the next few months!

Alongside school, this is also the time where I start really thinking about post-grad life. As I listen and pray for discernment, I continuously try to pay attention to those signs God is placing for me to follow. I started applying to positions this week as applications began to open. It may seem a little early to already be applying, but these are some really exciting opportunities that I would be thrilled for the chance to accept. Prayers are gladly appreciated as we see where this leads me!

After the ups and downs, this week has brought, I am reminded of a few things.

1. Be thankful for the people who have your back.

2. It’s okay to point out when you’ve not been treated right. It’s not going to do anybody any good to remain silent and keep getting hurt. If they truly care about you, they’ll be open to hearing you out and do what it takes to make things right. They won’t give up. Forgiveness is a must, but building back trust can take time….if they even try.

3. The spring semester is cold in Tennessee. Being in Dinsey last spring, I forgot just how chilling those 8 am walks across campus can really be!

4. Network, network, network whenever you can!!!

5. Thank you, Starbuck’s for keeping this senior going after 8 am law classes.

6. A weekend spent in a small town with your family does wonders for healing hurt.

Even after a rocky start, I am still excited for what this semester will hold! Here’s to the next few months of learning.

❤ / B