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

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