SEEING THE FINISH LINE | THE FINAL YEAR

I registered for my last semester of college today…and I have no clue how to feel! I know I say this a lot, bu this year is just flying by. It seems like just yesterday I was moving to Orlando to do the Disney College program, but at this point I’ve been home for a longer amount of time than I was there. With all the senior year busy-ness and things to do, I haven’t gotten much time to sit down and write for myself (most of my writing energy is spent on my Writing for Radio, TV, & Film class), but in this moment I feel like I need to mentally process.

I’m almost done with college. I only have two classes required to graduate, but I have to maintain 15 credit hours for my scholarship so I registered for five classes next semester. I am stoked to have been asked to be a part of the National Student Advertising Competition team for next semester (plus the added bonus of it filling up some of those 15 credit hours) and working with what I’m sure will be an amazing group of students! Along with that, I’ll be taking Communication Law (probably the class that scares me the most, especially at 8 am), Practical Reasoning, Solving the Puzzle of Life, and Editing. Those classes and two exit exams are the only thing in the way of me and that fancy piece of paper that says I know things!

At this point, I’m having mixed feeling about graduating. I am SO excited to be going into a career field that I love and am so passionate about, but I also feel the ever-growing presence of adulthood looming over my shoulder. Not to mention, all of this comes with a whole lot of decisions to make within the next few months. Do I move somewhere bigger like Knoxville, Nashville, or Charlotte? Do I go back to Orlando and return to work for Disney? How many Disney Professional Internships do I want to apply for? Do I really want to go so far away from my family?

It’s a lot for a gal to think about!

I’m having to constantly remind myself that there is time to figure it all out. I need to make intentional space to relax and enjoy the fun things that come with being in college while I can. I won’t be able to get this time in my life back, so I need to really cherish it while I can! Go to club meetings, go on trips, say yes to hanging out with friends more often, and stop getting inside my own head!

The thing that brings me peace is knowing that God will put me right where I need to be. I’m leaning in and trying to listen hard as to just where God is telling me to be. If Disney is the move, doors will open, and if somewhere else is the path then I’ll follow. I’ve been so fortunate to already have so many amazing experiences and teachers in my life that have given me the tools to be successful. They will also always be there for me and I am so thankful for their influence in my life. I know the department of Media and Communication was exactly where I was supposed to be and I’ll always be tied to them no matter where I end up. Seriously, the best people are in that department! I couldn’t be dreaming this big and knowing I’m ready to take on the world without them.

Between school, working two jobs, and planning for the future, it’s been a busy season of life! I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon but I’m along for the ride and will keep pushing forward. I have been able to squeeze in some fun into senior year! My DCP twin, Emily, came to visit me and I gave her the grand tour of small town southern living. We carved pumpkins, watched Hocus Pocus, visited downtown Johnson City, went to the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, and finished the weekend off with a stop at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Asheville before heading to the airport. Plus, many good food stops in between. What good East Tennessean would I be if I didn’t have her experience Pal’s? I went to Dollywood with my mom and sister to see the pumpkin lights and get in my missing fix of ride adrenaline, visited my grandparents for some much needed Mam-Maw home cooking, and spent to re-connecting with some friends I haven’t seen in a while.

It’s a complex season of life I’m in, but one that is reminding me to be present and thankful. I’m thankful for every opportunity I get to spend time with friends and family, thankful for my professors that believe in me and the great things I can do, and overall just thankful for each new day. While I’m trying to strike that balance between planning for the future and enjoying the now, I’m milking what I can out of this phase of life. It’s a busy one, but one I’m thankful for nonetheless.

I hope whatever season of life you may be in you’re able to find the joy and space to create some happiness!

❤ / Bail

73047200_3573949795952210_4984901561005113344_n72987842_3551363511544172_205105102363557888_n73020289_3602686183078571_6131527382290399232_n

A Life Update | The Final Year

So, it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and write for myself. Senior year is no joke! I went into it with a rather large senioritis complex that was immediately shot down when I had to write a 15-page paper within the first week. Yeah, not what I expected. In order to help me chronicle my senior year (and force me to make more time to write for myself) I want to start somewhat of a series entitled “The Final Year.” It will be something I can look back on and also hopefully help others as they enter their final year of college & all the stress that comes with it.

Coming back to school was a lot weirder than I expected. I put a lot of pressure on going back to school, hoping it would make the transition home from Disney a little easier. What I didn’t think about was how weird it would feel to be back on campus. I low-key felt like a Freshman when I was walking around and re-associating myself with ETSU. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with friends and getting to know my classmates better that I actually began returning to a semi-normal human being.

Things have been overwhelming as I tried to balance classes, working two jobs, dog sitting, and trying to force myself out of the funk I’d been in all summer. Some of the classes I thought would be fun electives to take were turning out to be WAY more busywork than my senioritis expected. In the same sphere, I am loving my capstone class this semester. We’re getting hands-on experience working with clients and I have two of the best professors I could have hoped for co-teaching the class. When I found that out, I was SO excited!

I’m finally finding my rhythm again and am starting to feel more normal. The post-DCP depression also seems to be lowering its toll on my life. I still get feelings of sadness and missing my favorite place on earth and all my friends who are now scattered across the country, but Johnson City is starting to feel more like home again. I’m hanging out with friends more and forcing myself to get out and stop sitting in my room watching DCP vlogs all evening.

Other than post-DCP depression, my time at Disney has also given me a renewed sense of passion in what I’m doing. I actually joined my department’s club that I’d been meaning to join since Freshman year, am an account executive for my group’s capstone project, and overall am thinking more and more about where my niche and desire to be is in the world of Advertising, Public Relations, & Communications. I’m also considering grad school, which if you could tell freshman me that I would have laughed right in your face. By the end of the semester I may be singing a different tune, but it’s something I’m looking into as a possibility for after May.

Some other fun life updates:

  • I got new glasses & have actually worn them on a consistent basis. Apparently, what normal people could see at 100 ft away I have to be 20 ft or close to see. Whoops! So, sorry if I’ve squinted at you from a distance recently. It’s not that I was judging you, I just couldn’t see who was there!
  • I still miss Disney. I’m still hoping to return to work for Disney. I’ve been looking into Professional Internships for post-grad life, but I need to take a pause from overthinking it all and try to enjoy this semester and the time I have left before applications open in January.
  • Along with working at First Christian Church again, I have accepted a position with Trinity Arts Center helping create and manage social media content! I have a lot of love for TAC as it was my second home where I danced six days a week for eight years of my life. It’s really refreshing to be back and in a new way utilizing what I’m studying! Super grateful for the opportunity!!
  • One of my best friends, also known as my DCP twin, Emily is coming to visit me in my hometown next weekend!! I’m so excited to show her around small town, Southern USA and just be able to spend time with her before she moves back to Australia in January.
  • I’m back on that pet sitting grind so I’ve gotten to hang out with a bunch of adorable furry friends!
  • I may or may not have a return trip in the works to hit up a Disney Christmas Party…fingers crossed!!
  • Despite the animosity I have towards the impact it’s had on my tuition, I finally went to an ETSU football game! Figured so much of my money went into building that stadium I should at least sit in it once.
  • I’ve started learning how to cook like a real adult! If you know me, you’ll know this is quite the accomplishment as I usually burn scrambled eggs. Shout to Hello Fresh for making it super easy & fun!

Coming home from Disney was a way bigger challenge than I’d expected. While I’ve been struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, chronic illness, and general adjusting, I think I’m finally getting to a place of normality again. I’m discovering new passions, reviving friendships, and finding ways to help my mental health. I hope that whether you’re facing a similar season of challenges, you see a light at the end that is pushing you towards something better!

❤ / Bail

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