I know it’s no shocker to each and every one of you that I love Disney. I did the Disney College Program a little over 2 years ago now! As I reflect on my time at Disney, I realize that I could have done a lot of things differently. Knowing that I can’t relive the past and I can only learn from my mistakes & experiences, I have come up with a list of things that my experience during the Disney College Program taught me!
- Relationships make all the difference
I left for Orlando and I knew NO ONE. Not a single person. I knew who I’d be rooming with via face book, but i took the plunge into the Disney Abyss with not a soul to help me along the way. Disney was not an easy experience for me. I can assure you that I considered leaving the program more times than I can count. Relationships make all the difference though. If it were not for some of my roommates and if it were not for mainly this guy right here, David, plus his roommate Austin, I would have left. I would have said good-bye and been gone from Disney forever! I stuck around though because these people made it worth it. When I was depressed or upset, David and I would go out to the parks. He was always up to do something – no matter how exhausted he might have been from work or how annoying I might have been at any given time – he was my buddy and he helped me get through. I hated my job. HATED IT! If David didn’t work along side me, I would have been out of there faster than I can say “Humbug”. Those relationships matter to this day though. They would not be as strong if it were not for the length of time I spent at Disney. I continuously keep up with David and my roommates. When I went through Gainesville on my way to Disney last November, we stopped and had dinner with David and some of his friends. When I head out to Texas, I try to get together with my roommates there. David and another roommate of mine are heading back to Disney this summer to work and I will be there to visit them, no doubt! For me….. and my difficult experience…. relationships made all the difference in the world. I’m so grateful for that!
- It’s good to get out of your comfort zone
Like I said…. I didn’t know any one when I left for Orlando. I was scared out of my mind!! I always had big dreams for myself that I would do something like this, but when it became a reality, I was devastated. I realized though that this experience – WAY out of my comfort zone – was one of the best decisions of my life. It challenged me to figure out who I am, not based on my family, not based on Nick, but based on ME. It encouraged me to take a leap of faith. It forced me to make friends and put myself out there for others. It taught me things that I like and don’t like about myself. Disney made me jump outside of my comfort zone and although it was scary, it was one of the best things for me. Now, when I’m timid or freaking out, I remember that being outside of comfort can be good and instead of resisting, I should embrace it.
- You can use mistakes as a learning opportunity
I made mistakes throughout my Disney College Program Experience. One of those being how I handled some situations with my roommates. Others being not taking advantage of where I was and the opportunity I had. I definitely learned from my roommate situations. I realized there were better ways to handle certain controversy. I saw some qualities in myself and in others that I didn’t like and knew I didn’t want to continue or mold in to. One of the biggest mistakes I made though was not allowing my experience to be all it could be. There were days when I sat in my apartment, alone, depressed, and frustrated. I wish I had gone to the parks more, put forth more effort to visit friends at work and experience Disney for myself when no one else could join me. Now, I strive to take advantage of those moments. I let some of the greatest days of my life pass by without realizing that they were that. I learned to appreciate my surroundings and the people I’m with at any given time. I learned to find the positive in each situation. I used the mistakes I made at Disney as a learning opportunity to live my life differently.
- You’re never “too old”
Do you ever feel like you’re too old to do something? Walt’s desire was to teach everyone, of any age, that they’re never too old. As a 24 year old, I love Disney! I love Disney movies, I love Disney parks, I love Disney. Period. I will never be too old to love Disney! You have dreams & ambitions? GREAT! You are not too old to achieve those (or too young!). We’re too often told that our time has passed, that we’re too old for something, but I don’t believe that anymore. I didn’t expect as a 22 year old, to fall in love with Disney like I did. To allow myself to live care free like a child. It was an exhilarating experience. I’m not too old for anything! I will be 80 years old and still love Disney – maybe I shouldn’t ride some of the rides for fear I’ll have a heart attack lol, but I will never be too old to experience Disney and the child-like feeling it brings! Like I mentioned above, it goes the same way for when you feel “too young” to accomplish something. Just remember that age is not a factor when it comes to achieving your dreams and living the life you want to live!
“ADULTS ARE ONLY KIDS GROWN UP, ANYWAY!” – Walt Disney
“THE WAY TO GET STARTED IS TO QUIT TALKING, AND BEGIN DOING” – Walt Disney
“WHY DO WE HAVE TO GROWN UP? I KNOW MORE ADULTS WHO HAVE THE CHILDREN’S APPROACH TO LIFE….. YOU SEE THEM AT DISNEYLAND EVERY TIME YOU GO THERE. THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO BE DELIGHTED WITH SIMPLE PLEASURES, AND THEY HAVE A DEGREE OF CONTENTMENT WITH WHAT LIFE HAS BROUGHT, SOMETIMES IT ISN’T MUCH, EITHER!” – Walt Disney
What is an experience that you learned a lot from? Any lessons I should know about that will help guide me in my future?