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

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