Three years ago, I embarked on a journey that would change my life forever. I made life-long friends, gained work experience and learned how to dream again. I fell in love with a place and the feeling that place gave me. I knew I would never be the same.
Three years ago, I discovered the power of the Disney College Program.
The summer of 2014 was a rough one for me. A lot of things happened in my personal life that made me wish I could be anywhere else. I had lost sight of what I wanted and who I was and I desperately craved adventure. I had recently purchased an annual pass to Walt Disney World and it quickly became my happy place. I thought, “what could be better than spending a semester in the place where dreams come true?”
I picked the roles I was interested in very carefully. I did my research and came prepared to my phone interview with plenty of knowledge about the program and questions to ask my recruiter. I thought that if I wished hard enough, maybe, just maybe, I would be spending the next semester in Orlando.
The wishing, and hard work, paid off. I was accepted into the spring 2015 program.
But this isn’t a story about my acceptance or even my experience on the program; this is a story about the impact this program has had on me since it ended.
First and foremost, this blog wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t done that college program. The first big post I ever had on here was about my experience on the program, which I wrote as it was coming to an end. I have reached hundreds of thousands of people with one post. People have shared their own stories and experiences with me and have thanked me for my writing. I never knew I could accomplish something on a level quite like that, but this program made it possible.
I made some incredible friends. I have a hard time opening up to people as I have this constant fear of getting hurt, but something about being on that program with a ton of people who shared a common interest made it a little less scary. I have friends all over the country, from South Dakota to Tennessee. I am going to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings this summer. The Disney College Program made that possible.
I finally had a happy place again. Some people say that working at Disney completely ruins it for them but for me, it made me appreciate it even more. I go to the parks now and I know the level of hard work and dedication it takes to make the magic happen day in and day out. There is nothing a trip to Magic Kingdom can’t cure for me.
I landed a professional internship with Disney. If you don’t know, these are coveted positions that are extremely difficult to get. However, my education, experience and participation in the Disney College Program made it possible for me to achieve what I thought was impossible.
Even after your program is long over, you are still connected to Disney and forever welcomed into the Disney family. You get to join the Disney Alumni Association and connect with people who did the program five, ten or even twenty years ago. You get to attend homecoming events and talk about all of the new things coming to the parks with people who share your same love and passion. I’m not sure I’ll ever be part of another community quite like this one.
If you’re considering applying for the Disney College Program, do it.
Will it be perfect? No. Will every day be magical? No.
But will it be worth it? Yes.
There’s a reason why this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and why so many of us sing its praises. And while you may not feel it in the moment, the power of this opportunity will continue to grow once you’ve left and you will feel its effects for the rest of your life.
Applications for the Fall 2018 program are live and you can apply by clicking here.
Tell me the power of YOUR college program in the comments below!