It always seems impossible, until it’s not.
For five and a half months, I had the greatest experience of my life. It was something I never thought I would do, nor did I ever think it would be possible, but it changed me. When I was in college, I always entertained the idea of studying abroad but never followed through with it. The timing was never right and it always felt like an impossible, far off dream. When I look back on my desire to travel, I let my own anxiety of the unknown talk me out of doing it.
The possibility was there, but I never acted on it.
Until Fall 2016, when I finally made the possibility into a reality by participating in the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida. I accepted a role in Merchandising where I worked at Blizzard Beach and Magic Kingdom. I had it made, I got to watch the fireworks every night. I was surrounded by the magic that Walt Disney envisioned and had the chance to pass that magic along as a cast member.
It was the first time in my life I moved away from home. I quickly fell in love with the magic and nostalgia of Disney and that serenaded me for months. I loved every moment of my college program, even the trying times when I was missing home, felt defeated and exhausted. Watching happy families frolicking the parks when I felt homesick was really tough. But you make friends, and they become like family and it makes it all a little easier. I made friends with people who lived all over the country and throughout the world.
When I applied to the program, I never thought I’d actually get in. I tend to be a humble person, so I never wanted to inflate my ego because I knew if it got popped it would hurt. There was a 10% acceptance rate for the program. I was a blade of grass on a football field. But when I look back on my time with the Walt Disney Company, I am thankful for my past opportunities that made it possible for me to send in an application. I tend to look back and realize that I was the right version of myself ready to take on this adventure. My little freshman, sophomore or junior self wouldn’t have been able to handle the challenges that came the college program.
Before I applied, I was working a job that exhausted me. I had seniority on my side, I was comfortable and it was incredibly flexible with my school schedule. It was ideal for what I needed it to be. Deep down, I knew I was itching for a change. I needed to have an experience that was beyond my comfort zone. The Disney College Program gave me a sense of clarity. It allowed me to figure out what I wanted to be, who I wanted to become and the goals I wanted to set for myself. I finally was able to go for something I really wanted. That feeling, felt endless.
It gave me the confidence and perspective I needed.
Working for a theme park isn’t for everyone, it takes a lot of stamina. But it also shapes you the type of person who can handle anything. Being told you’re ruining someone’s vacation is an awful thing to be told. It gives you a perspective that allows you to go into any future endeavor with a skill set that won’t break you down. When I look back on my college program, I am eternally grateful for all that it’s given me.
The possibilities are always endless, if you let them be.