A LIFE UPDATE | DCP SPRING 2019

First of all, sorry I’ve been a little MIA on the updates. I know a lot of people back home have enjoyed staying connected through reading my posts (at least I hope so). I’ve been a little busy! Between work, school, and hanging out with friends, I haven’t had much time to myself. But, here I am, back on the blog with a life update. Buckle up, because my brain is ready for a dump.

Time is a weird concept. I think I say that a lot, but especially recently. As I continue to settle into life in Orlando, I’m constantly surprised by time. The days run together and the thoughts of what my life used to be are becoming fainter. Every day that I drive into work underneath the Walt Disney World sign I have to pinch myself as a reminder that this isn’t always what my life has been like. My program is going by so fast, and yet it feels like I’ve been here forever. That’s something I’m not too mad about either. I’m glad this place feels like home.

I was looking at my Snapchat memories and “on this day” last year was the last time I was in Orlando. I was here with a group of amazing people from First Christian Church for a conference called Exponential. On that day I was having so much fun with people I love and didn’t have a clue where my life would take me. One year later and I’m back in Orlando, have been living here for over a month and a half, and am working for Walt Disney World. Crazy, right? I can’t believe that was a whole year ago and how much has changed since then.

I do miss home and the people there. I miss my family and friends. I miss my cat and all the fur babies I pet sit for. I’m extra thankful for things like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and FaceTime that keep me plugged into people’s lives back home so I don’t have such a big case of FOMO.

I’m also thinking a lot about the future. Do I want to apply for a DCP extension and stay in Orlando through the Summer? Is Orlando where I want to move to post graduation in 2020? Do I want to do a professional internship with Disney at some point? All very important questions that I need to try and figure out. I know whatever happens, it is God’s plan, but it’s easy to start to worry and contemplate.

For now, I’m just taking things day by day and trying to soak up every moment that I can. I’m still in love with where I work and the people I work with. Of course, there are hard days when dealing with thousands of people, but the magical moments like having a kid exclaim, “this has been the BEST DAY EVER,” make them seem so much smaller. My coworkers also make coming to work every day a joy. I honestly miss them when I’m off (but enjoy having time to rest, shop, & explore). They’re quickly becoming some of my favorite people and close friends. I can’t say enough good things about how this program is going.

I hope everyone is doing well! I miss all y’all in Tennessee, and am sending you my love.

❤ / Bail

ONE MONTH IN | DCP SPRING 2019

It’s been one month until since my DCP journey began and I moved into my apartment in Orlando. What is time? I can’t believe so much time has already passed when it feels like just yesterday I was leaving the snowy mountains of Tennessee. It’s been a month full of learning, growing, immense joy, and some stress all mixed together.

Overall, my DCP has been an amazing experience already. I’ve been learning constantly, about my job, guest interaction, doing things on my own, and myself in general. I love my job and what I’m doing, mostly in part thanks to the people I work with. My coworkers are amazing and I have great leaders and coordinators who have answered my many questions and are just awesome to work with.

I get to talk to so many new people every day and I’ve enjoyed seeing the joy on people’s faces as they describe the fun they’ve had at Animal Kingdom. It’s especially rewarding when coming from a little kid. Seeing them spring up from their strollers telling me it’s been the “best day ever” or receiving a surprise hug from a little girl that got to see so many “cool animals.” Seeing people smiling and excited about what they’ve experienced is why I wanted to do this program. I wanted to work for a company that excels at making people happy!

Of course, I have had my rough days. Not so much when dealing with guests, but more so when dealing with myself. It’s been hard to be so far away from my family friends and back at home. A lot of the people I hold dear to my heart are struggling through something right now and a big part of me wishes I could be there to help out. I pray for them constantly and send any support I can from where I’m at, but I do wish I could do more.

I also had my first mini-crisis yesterday. I lost my keys. Yeah, I made an oops! Not only was it my car key, but my apartment key was also attached. You can imagine how that would be an issue. I knew there were only a few places they could be, but no matter how hard I searched I couldn’t find them! I may have gone into full-on panic mode. I went the whole day without them and had to spend the day worrying about who could possibly have them or if I was going to have to get a new apartment key and somehow manage to get someone to make me a new car key! I had to miss out on galentine’s day brunch because of it which just added onto my already bummed feeling. This was the first unfortunate thing to happen while I’ve been here so that probably amplified my anxiety about it all. Luckily, they were found by last night underneath the passenger seat of one of my roommate’s cars. I’m so thankful to have them back and will now be stapling them to my body (okay, maybe not that extreme but you get what I mean).

Other than the little hiccups and stresses that come with adjusting to being on my own, I have had the best time here in Orlando. I’m loving going to the parks with my days off, am enjoying getting to know my amazing coworkers, and making really great friends! Just from this one month, I have been reminded over and over again that this is the place I am meant to be at right now. God is continuing to reveal that this is a part of the plan for my life, and I couldn’t be happier with the phase of life I’m in.

Here’s to the next month of my program and everything that it will hold!

</3, Bailey

 

WHAT I’M HOPING 2019 WILL HOLD

I am so stoked for 2019. I try to stay pretty optimistic from day-to-day, but I am immensely optimistic about everything that 2019 is about to hold. So many exciting things are about to happen! In two weeks from today, I will be checking in to my apartment in Orlando and starting what I’m sure will be the biggest adventure of my life thus far.

As I’m doing a lot of preparing for my big move, I also am thinking through everything I want to accomplish this year. There’s a lot to look forward to and a lot of things to strive towards completing! I have a separate bucket list for my Disney College Program (blog post about that to come soon), but of course, there will be some overlap with my overarching goals for the new year. So, here are my goals for 2019:

Spend more time reading the Bible. | It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of reading. I have a very small attention span and am an audible learner, so reading has never really been my thing. Despite that, I know I need to be spending more time investing in the word of God in order to grow spiritually. I’ve remained pretty consistent the last month with following the reading plan for certain chapters that is in my Bible, and want that to carry on throughout 2019. My home church is doing a “New Testament in a Year” challenge and I hope to maintain the reading schedule even while I’m away in Orlando.

Make the most out of every experience. | I can often fall to fear when it comes to stepping outside my comfort zone. FOMO is something I deal with a lot and I want to rid myself of it. I’m going to have to overcome a lot of fears as I make the move to Orlando, and I want to make sure I don’t let anything stop me from making the most of my College Program. Aside from the DCP, I just want to make sure I fully soak in everything 2019 has to offer.

Continue making the Dean’s List & getting involved on campus. | I’ll still be enrolled full-time for the Spring semester through online classes at ETSU. I hope to maintain the grades I’ve been accomplishing the last two semesters even in the midst of working at Disney World and being in Orlando. In the Fall, I will start my SENIOR YEAR of college. That is so crazy!! I cannot wait to see what all my last year of college has in store. I’m excited to get involved with more clubs and soak in everything I’ll learn from my AH-MAZING professors in my department.

Work on intentionally maintaining friendships. | With cell phones and social media, it would seem like it’s super easy to maintain friendships at a distance. But, with the busy-ness of life, it can be really hard to truly stay connected in one another’s lives. I want to spend more time with people this year intentionally building relationships and supporting my friends all the time. I’m excited about the friendships I’ll gain in Florida and hope to stay in touch, to the best of my ability, with my friends back in Tennessee while I’m gone.

Learn to be confident when I’m by myself. | One of the reasons I’m doing the DCP is in order to gain a sense of independence. I want to gain confidence in knowing that I can be striving and happy by myself. It’s easy for me to attach who I am to other people and feel really uncomfortable doing things on my own. I want to feel confident going to the parks by myself on some off days, eating by myself, and making new friends in places where I find myself not knowing anyone.

What are some of your goals and/or things you’re looking forward to in 2019?

❤ / Bail

 

2018 IN REVIEW

At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post entitled “2017 in Review (A short story on why I’m really glad it’s over.” In the spirit of consistency and because I’d like to think I’ll enjoy looking back on posts like this when I’m old with children, many rescue dogs, and even worse knees, I’ve decided to write a similar post about 2018. I’m also glad 2018 is over but in a completely different way than the year prior. So, what happened in 2018?

I have to address the biggest thing first even though it didn’t happen until September (so later in the year), I GOT INTO THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM. I’d say that this is definitely the highlight of 2018. I know I’ve already talked about Disney a lot so I won’t go on too much, but it’s definitely one of the reasons I’m glad 2018 is almost over. I am so ready for it to be 2019 so I can be in Disney World chasing down a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m so optimistic about this experience and can’t wait to dive right into it. As of right now, I’m 19 days away from checking in to my apartment and getting it all started.

School this year went really well. My Spring semester I completed one of my goals of the year which was to ake the Dean’s List! I’m happy to say, I have likely made it again for the Fall 2018 semester! The actual list won’t be out until January but I made all A’s so I think it’s safe to say I made it on the list. The Fall semester was a really great semester. I got to work with an AMAZING group of people for my Audience Research class on a project. I honestly don’t think I could’ve created a better group of people. We all worked really hard, had fun, and did a great job. Every semester I fall more and more in love with the department I’m in, my fellow students, and the faculty and professors who have taught me everything I know. I absolutely love my school and have no doubts that I made the right decision choosing to go to ETSU.

In the realm of travel this year, we went to Pennsylvania this summer to spend time with family. We ate lots of Amish pretzels and doughnuts, went to many farmer’s markets, shared lots of laughs, and ate plenty of Hershey’s sweets. It was also just so great to spend time with my cousin, her husband, and their two sweet little boys. The two of them had grown up so much since we’d seen them last year and it was so fun to see their personalities developing and shine through. Plus, while we were in Pennsylvania we got to see Harry Styles at Hersheypark. He put on an incredible performance and was so engaged with the audience. Honestly, one of the best concerts I’ve been to. That was the only major trip we took this year, but I’m thankfully for the time spent in my hometown. I’ll likely be missing this place in a few months time.

I continued to fall in love with work this year and the area that I’m studying to go into. I’m so lucky to be able to already be working a job in the field I hope to be in post-graduation (media & communications/ advertising & PR), and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful. I have an amazing group of coworkers who make every day an enjoyable one and I never dread a day of work. The entire staff is amazing, the team I work on is some of the most talented and brightest people I know, and my supervisor is the absolute best. I love where I work and I’m gonna miss them so much next semester.

2018 was quite a year. For me, it was overall good, but for those around me, I know it was a challenge. Several family members faced severe health issues, friends were faced with losing loved ones, and the whole world as a whole seems to be struggling with something. It did make me worry a lot about taking care of those around me and being the best support system I can be. Despite all of the bad, I continuously strove to remind myself (and hopefully convince others) that through it all, God has a plan. This was a big thing I learned in 2018. I always knew it was true but don’t know that I actually put full trust in it until this year. Being able to fully trust in a plan that is greater than my own is something that can free your heart of anxiety and worry, and for that, I’m grateful.

I’m thankful for the memories made, lessons learned, and strength grown throughout 2018, and am excited to see what all 2019 has in store. For obvious reasons, I am so ready for 2019 to be here and cannot wait to get the year started in Disney World! So, here’s to 2018! Thank you for everything you held and have prepared us for in 2019.

What are you excited about for 2019?

❤ / Bailey

WHEN YOU’RE ONE MONTH AWAY

What even is time? It goes by so fast that I’m not even sure it exists. I say this because as of today I am ONE MONTH AWAY FROM MOVING TO ORLANDO. I cannot believe that it is coming up so fast. It has also made me realize that I really need to get on top of my preparation game! I have a good reason for not doing much preparing so far, which is because I wanted to let myself focus on finishing this semester of school. I knew the minute I started focusing most of my energy on Disney, my will to do any school work would go out the window. It was hard enough to focus on school as it was, so I didn’t need to give myself any excuses to dive into the hole of non-focus.

I am happy to say that I am officially done with my fifth semester of college! I’ve only got three more semesters and then I get to graduate (again I say, WHAT EVEN?). I’m really proud of how I performed this semester and honestly has a really great one. I got the opportunity to work on a project with some INCREDIBLE fellow advertising/PR students, got into the Disney College Program, managed to maintain perfect attendance in a class, hopefully, made the Dean’s List (still waiting on the final grades, but pretty sure I did it), got plugged in more on campus, worked 29 hours a week outside of school, took 15 credit hours, and also realized I can officially now apply to graduate. It’s been a TIME.

Now, I’m leaving campus for a semester! I will be maintaining full-time status through ETSU by taking 15 credit hours of online classes while I’m at Orlando. I’m a little nervous about balancing classes and the DCP, but my advisor assured me that I can do it and Disney offers a great way to let you maintain your school. I’ll be applying for distance learning which will mean, if accepted, I’ll get a specific time/day that will be the same every week that is dedicated time-off to work on schoolwork. Hopefully, once I let my professors know of my situation they’ll be able to work with me as well.

So, what’s up next in the DCP process? I need to start packing! Housing registration opened a few days ago and I got linked up with my three roomies and we chose our preferences. It feels good that we got that done, and can now move on to prepping. I need to start getting things packed, buy things I know I’ll need to bring with me, get my car checked out to make sure everything’s gonna be good to drive to Orlando (yay for a 10-hour drive), have an amazing Christmas with loved ones, make a bomb playlist to listen to on the drive, and make sure to spend as much time as possible with my Tennessee friends before I go.

There is a lot to do in the next month, but I am so excited! I cannot tell you how much the excitement is building up in me to get to Disney World. This is something I’ve been dreaming of for four years, and to have it so close is so incredible. I’m having a hard time even believing this is going to be my life, and I don’t think it will hit me until I start the drive there. I don’t know fully what’s in store for me, but I know God’s got me on the path to a great adventure.

❤ / Bailey

WHY I’M DOING THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM

HIYA, PALS! I’m currently wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket with my cat under the blanket with me, laying next to a space heater, and watching DCP vlogs while snowmageddon 2018 is hitting East Tennessee. It’s a pretty great way to spend a Sunday if you ask me. I am thinking lots today about the Disney College Program as the semester of school has come to a near end and I now have time to think about it more! I’m super excited as I’m a little over a month away from moving, and realizing I should probably start getting myself more prepared.

One thing that I’ve felt lingering anytime I mention to Disney College Program is, why am I doing it? It’s something that I ask myself (because self-doubt looms within me so I have to talk myself down from thinking I’m making a bad decision) frequently. This is a complex question and one that I can probably talk about for hours, so to save myself and you reading this some time, I’ll make the answer into a list!

  1. I LOVE DISNEY. I’ve always been a fan of Disney! From the movies to the music to the parks I love it all. For my 16th birthday trip I chose to go to Disney World, I begged to go there for a day for my 18th birthday, and it truly is just one of my happiest places on earth. To be able to spend every day there for four months, learn more about it, and get to be a part of the magic is just a dream come true! Plus, who wouldn’t love getting to go to the parks every day? I haven’t been since Pandora opened at DAK or Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, so I am thrilled to get to finally explore those.
  2. Let’s talk about a resume boost. This experience is a huge resume booster for anyone who participates. Disney is such a major and strict company that upholds you to such high standards, so to work there prepares you for work pretty much anywhere.
  3. Networking and career enhancement opportunities! To be completely honest, I would absolutely love to work in advertising and public relations for Disney one day. As I am getting closer to graduating, I’m starting to get a lot more career focused and thinking more about what exactly I want to do post-graduation. My focus right now is more on the PR event planning side of my major, and to be able to plan events/launches for Disney would be incredible. Hopefully, while I’m on the program I can meet a lot of people in the industry and learn from Disney professionals in my career field.
  4. I need to be on my own. That may be a little dramatic, but it’s true. The rest of the maturing I need to do before graduating from college and entering the “real world” needs to be done outside of my comfort zone. I feel like I’m very mature for my age, but need to take that final step out of my parent’s house, and why not move 10 hours away from them! I need to face my fear of being alone and out of my norm in order to have a life changing experience.
  5. This life is short, I want to make some memories! That sounds like a movie quote but I’m not sure from where and I’m too lazy to google it (if you know where it’s from, let me know). This experience is bound to be chock full of amazing memories and friends made. I’m not often the type of person to go on an adventure alone like this, but I was to push myself in order to make the most of this amazing life I’ve been given!

I hope this may have answered some of the questions people have been asking me as to why I’m doing to Disney College Program. I don’t feel like I have to answer anyone’s questioning of me doing this program, but I also want to think it out for myself. I love my life, my friends, and my school now, but they’ll all be here when I get back! Hopefully, some of them can come to visit me too. I can’t wait to make Disney World my home.

</3 Bailey

BEING INTENTIONAL THIS CHRISTMAS

It’s finally here, the first day of December! The jolliest month of the year filled with candy canes, great movies, the best music, warm blankets, and twinkling lights. Something about this time every year just fills my heart with joy. People seem to be in good spirits (well, ignoring finals week because that’s a biased week) and want to spread cheer to those around them. It’s just a good time of year, and for as long as I can remember I’ve always loved it. I even wrote a whole essay about it when we had a state writing exam in middle school that required us to write about our favorite holiday!

However, this Christmas may mean a little more than most. I’m excited for Christmas but I also know that soon after I’ll be moving to Disney World! That’s also a very exciting thing, but it does mean that Christmas will likely be the last time I see a lot of my family and friends for a while and trust me when I say that I am not good at goodbyes. I’m actually really dreading it. I’ve always found goodbyes to be a really hard thing, despite having a lot of practice with them. I don’t think anyone finds them particularly easy. but for me, I find myself getting really attached to those around me and I don’t want to leave and potentially let the relationship weaken. I know this is probably the anxiety-ridden side of my brain telling me that I’ll lose friends by leaving and I try not to dwell on it, but when I think about actually saying goodbye it tends to rear its ugly head.

Despite the lurking goodbyes that will follow, I’m still really excited to make this an amazing Christmas. I want to see as many people as possible to get in time with the ones I love before I say goodbye for a while. I want to be really intentional about spending time with people in real life and not just over the phone. This is a great time of year to really spend time with people and make some amazing memories. So, here are some suggestions on fun things you can do with the ones you love this Christmas season:

  • Go ice skating (I’ve actually never done this due to the fact that my mother thought I’d break a leg if I did, but I REALLY want to).
  • Drive around a night looking at people’s houses. No, not in a creepy stalker way, look at their Christmas lights! One memory I have from when I was younger is riding around nearby neighborhoods with my dad and sister looking at everyone’s festive lights. One house even had their own radio station that if you turned to would match the dancing lights!
  • Have a movie night! Pick out your favorite Christmas movies (One of my favorites is Snowglobe if you need a recommendation), pull out the softest blankets you can find, pop some popcorn, brew some hot chocolate and have a cozy night in with some of your favorite people.
  • Go sledding! If you live somewhere that is getting snow, please go sledding. I don’t care how old you are. I will always love sledding. There’s just something so fun about sliding down a hill on a plastic saucer and eventually landing face first in the freezing snow. If you live in the country you could even consider hooking your sled up to the back of a four-wheeler with a rope for some extreme speed!
  • Watch a Christmas parade. I’m pretty sure every town has a Christmas parade, so gather your friends and go watch one! You may even get some free candy out of it.
  • Throw a Christmas party. What’s better than just getting your favorite people together all in one place, eating festive food, listening to music, and seeing where the night goes? Maybe even have a contest for the best Christmas outfit and go caroling. It’s bound to be a good time.
  • Bake some cookies together! This is quite possibly the best time of year to bake some cookies, pour a glass of milk (almond, soy, or regular. Whatever floats your boat!)

I hope this gives you some inspiration to be intentional about spending time and making memories with the ones you love this Christmas! If you’re reading this & are one of my friends, please let me know when we can hang out this season. I want to spend time with everyone before I leave.

❤ / Bailey