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

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

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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

Did I make the right decision in coming home?

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been back in Johnson City. I’m settled back into my parent’s house, started back at work at First Christian diving straight into a project, watched several pets, and have been spending time catching up with friends. It’s overall been good. One question keeps coming up from most of the people I meet.

Are you happy to be home?

This is not the easiest question to answer. Most of the time, I just say “yeah, definitely,” and move on. Truthfully, it hasn’t all been a happy transition. I had to say goodbye to so many people and a job I loved in Florida. It was way harder than anything I could have ever imagined. From the first second of being back in Johnson City, things felt weird being back. I actually had an anxiety attack and couldn’t be alone for the first night. It was a struggle.

What’s known as “post-DCP depression” is very true, and something that I’ve struggled with since being back. I couldn’t even watch videos of Animal Kingdom without tearing up for a couple of weeks. Seeing all my friends who stayed posting things made me miss them and long to be back, working in the jungle. As the post-DCP depression has gone down a lot, it does still hit me at random moments. Without the readily available amount of friends that I had in Florida near me anymore, I can often feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Certain Disney songs or pictures set me off and some days I just can’t shake a sad feeling and end up crying it out.

All this struggle within the transition has me wondering: Did I make the right decision in coming home?

For now, I am sticking by my decision that coming home to Johnson City was the right thing to do. I am excited to finish my last year of school at ETSU with the amazing friends that I have made along the way. I do love the program I’m in and am excited to see the what school has in store for my last two semesters. I am thankful to be closer to my friends here and family and be able to see them whenever I want. Tennessee is a beautiful place, and I’m glad to not be in the killer summer heat in Florida.

There are a lot of things I miss though. From the moment I’ve been back, I have felt an overwhelming sense that going back to Disney is in my future. I’m not done working at one of the most magical places on earth. I’m excited to see what will come after graduation and am hopeful Orlando and Disney will be where that path takes me!

It also makes me happy to know I have people supporting me in this decision. While talking to someone recently, my mom mentioned that felt like Orlando was where I was meant to be. It was a place where I flourished and was filled with joy. It made me smile hearing her say that and also knowing she will always be in my corner, even if I end up moving away.

Johnson City, TN will always be home. Now, so is Disney. I plan on going back to visit at least once this year and then *hopefully,* make it home again when I graduate in May. Wherever I go, I know the people I love will remain in my life and be with me. God has a plan for my life and will lead me just where I need to be.

❤ / Bail

TRAINING & SETTLING IN | DCP SPRING 2019

The last few weeks have been an AH-MAZING whirlwind. Where to even begin! The magic of Disney has infected every corner of my life, and the joy I’ve felt is truly indescribable. Yes, there have been times that have been hard. I’ve felt homesickness hit missing my friends and family back home, feeling like I’m missing out. I’ve also been sick for about a week now with a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion. I was starting to feel better, but then had to work a whole day in the cold rain so I’m kind of back to square one. Thankfully, I’m off today and tomorrow and taking time to rest and re-charge to get back to normal.

On the exciting side, I have finished my training! I officially earned my ears. I had five tiers of training, which was A LOT of learning. So much information was thrown our way over the course of several days. It was a lot to do, but so much fun! My trainers made the experience so much more enjoyable. I learned registers, stock, mobility, and everything that comes with my new job. I worked my first solo shift (without a trainer) yesterday, and it seemed to go well. I’m excited to get to know my co-workers more and make magic for our guests.

When I’m not working, I’ve had the chance to visit each of the four parks. I spent my first trip to a park in Hollywood Studios, went to Magic Kingdom to ride the people mover and take all the casting door pictures, ate around the world at Epcot for one of my roommates’ birthday, and spent a day working towards earning my wilderness explore status with my roommate in DAK followed by a trip to Magic Kingdom to watch the firework show, Happily Ever After. It’s been so much fun to get to explore the parks whenever I want. Now that I officially have my main entrance pass, I can’t wait to start making fast passes to ride some of the bigger attractions that I have yet to experience (I’m talking about YOU rides in Pandora).

I’m also starting to learn my way around Orlando a little bit. I can find the nearest Target (which I’ve now visited three times in two weeks), Chick-Fil-A, and Starbucks, so I’m pretty much set. I’m still heavily relying on Waze to get me where I need to be, but I’m starting to recognize the roads it’s taking me on. Orlando is starting to feel like home and like I’ve been here forever. I’m definitely starting to get settled in here.

I’m excited to continue to learn and grow throghout my time here in Orlando. I know I’ll have some trying days (hello, 11 hour shift coming next week) but I’m ready to see the ways I power through it that will make me stronger. I’m also thrilled for all of the adventures to come up as I have more time to explore the parks.

I hope you all have had a fun January and are expetant and ready to grow in February.

❤ / 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