Archive | August 2011

Hey, so where are you from?

Orlando couldn’t be more different from Columbus – couldn’t be more different from Ohio for that matter. Moving from the mid-west to Florida, especially Orlando, is a huge culture shock. The diversity in this city is incredible, and recently I feel that I cannot find a “true” local. Talk about a fun city.

And the question, “Hey, so where are you from?” is the perfect way to strike up a conversation. This morning while I waited to get coffee after mass, the person behind me asked me where I “was from”.

Identity crisis.

“Well, I grew up near Cincinnati and went to school in Columbus. I graduated from Ohio State this past June.”

So as I frantically tried to explain my background to my new acquaintance, he grinned sheepishly and said he wasn’t sure where Cincinnati was untill I mentioned Ohio State. That information allowed him to piece together the rest of the puzzle.

Oh, that’s right. I have to tell people OHIO first before going more into depth about which cities. Unlike Columbus, I can’t start spitting out certain roads and streets and expect other to know what I’m talking about. And for some strange reason, that makes me slightly homesick.

However, the diversity allows for great conversation starters at Walt Disney World. During my training this past week I focused on increasing my comfort level with guest interaction. I love talking to guests and hearing their vacation stories, but initiating those first few words can be slightly intimidating.

My roomies! We hail from Ohio, Alabama, New York, Indiana and Florida

The best advice when needing a conversation starter in Orlando? Go back to the basics – “Hey! How is your vacation? Where are you folks from?”

You’ll hear the most interesting stories and meet the most interesting people. Only be warned, when they ask you where your from…have an answer ready.

my new friends

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Faith, trust & pixie dust…and some networking

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.

Exactly one week ago I was unpacking boxes and moving into my new apartment (resort) at Patterson Court in Orlando, Florida. Within one week I have learned what Disney stands for and their foundation, toured Hollywood Studios and started my on-the-job training at Lights, Motor, Action!

Walt, I certainly agree, dreams can come true.

But now that I am down in Orlando and driving onto Disney property every day – I feel that I have no time to lose.

THIS is the time to network, THIS is the time to shine, THIS is the time to make my mark and start my career.

Just when the stress of graduating college subsided, the stress of making my mark at work begins.

I want to stress the importance of networking at introducing yourself to managers/coordinators at your work site. However, in my opinion, there is a correct way to start a professional career at the company of your dreams.

Managers should know who you are and your future plans…but they also need to know your work ethic and personal magic. Simply introducing yourself to your superiors and expecting them to lay out your future doesn’t.work.

You need to ask for guidance, but also show that you are ready to forge your own path.

So here I am Disney! In a few days I will complete my training and hopefully “earn my ears”.

My next post will focus on living with my suite-mates from across the country and working at Lights, Motor, Action! as a true Disney Cast Member.

The magic begins…

It starts.

I’M OFFICIALLY a cast member of Walt Disney World! I am one of the newest workers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios working in Lights, Motor, Action! I will know my exact duties soon.

In a whirl-wind of eight hours I check-in, signed-in, moved-in and meet my fantastic five suite-mates. I am living in a three bedroom suite at Patterson Court. The other two options were Catham Square and Vista Way – each ranging from one to three bedrooms (each bedroom has two people).

The scariest thing about this entire adventure is the newness (Is that a word? For this post, we can all pretend it’s a word).

I haven’t experienced so much newness since, well, ever. When I moved from Cincinnati to Columbus there was still some similarities. Same state, same weather, same security knowing my family is two hours away.

Now there are lizards, tons of sun, random rain showers, new bus routes to learn, new people to meet and NETWORK with and… me. I have never felt more free, or more nervous. However, I feel this is what I need to feel at my ripe old age of twenty-two.

EVERY SINGLE COLLEGE STUDENT should apply for this internship. I am learning how to live truly on my own, and I am experiencing the internal workings of an incredible company. I want to spread my magic in a place that is full of magic – how could life get any better?

Stay tuned for more information about how I will Earn my ears and slowly become a full-fledged cast-member at WDW. And who knows? You may even gather your own pixie dust about Hollywood Studios and WDW as a whole.

No matter the age – people gossip

Lifeguards can hear you.

Seriously, if you are in the pool and chatting with friends underneath the lifeguard stand, chances are strong they’re listening. We listen as you talk about friends, family, work, in-laws, and your nights out.

And we laugh, but honestly, it’s sad.

As an observant lifeguard I noticed each age group of women have their own specific “type” of gossip (I know men talk/gossip also, but this post is going to focus from the female perspective). Here are some snippets of conversations I’ve heard from my chair:

10-year-olds: “She can’t come to the pool today, her mom grounded her for an entire week.”

15-year-olds: “You see Facebook this morning? They’re dating, they’re even getting lockers next to each other at school.”

21-year-olds: “Did you hear what she said at the bar? She walked in with one guy and totally ignored him, left with someone else.”

30-year-olds: “They’re getting a divorce – I heard about it yesterday, he’s already moved out. He doesn’t even pick-up the boys from soccer practice anymore”

40-year-olds: “There is obviously something going on, have you heard what college their oldest is attending?

It’s unnerving. It seems that no one can TALK to another person without discussing another person. Why do people (myself included, I am completely guilty of this flaw), constantly feel the need to talk about others? Unfortunately, it’s usually never positive.

It really isn’t in anyone’s business who is in trouble, who is dating who, what someone said at a bar, who is divorcing and what college someone’s child is attending.

It turns into vindictive actions.

In my opinion, girls think gossiping is acceptable because they learn it at such an early age. If you start a bad habit when you are 10-years-old, you are going to have an extremely hard time stopping when your 30.

And gossiping (and bullying) have moved to social media. Tweets, likes and Facebook comments can all be posted maliciously. It makes me sick to my stomach when I see people tagging others at the end of a cruel tweet. Why do you need to make a comment about another girl’s weight or looks? Calling someone a cow? REALLY? Seems a little immature and pathetic to me.

It may not seem like a big deal – people’s feelings are hurt. I recently had a friend deal with a horribly hurtful comment on Facebook, and I am honestly disgusted that at the age of 22 people still need to play Mean Girls. It’s hard to be the one to finally say enough, but when it becomes personal you realize how deeply words can sting.

It’s too easy with texting and tweeting to send a quick message about someone else. But it’s stop to stop the name calling and the cruel flow of information…

…besides, 10-years-olds are doing it. Seems like it’s time to grow up.

courage from the strangest places

This past Wednesday I worked my last shift as a lifeguard. An era of my life ended (I don’t know if society thinks 22-year-old should already be

referencing eras in life…but let’s just go with it). I worked at that private pool for about six years, and cannot tell you the amount of good, bad and scary times I experienced.

I have saved lives, introduced kids to water, cheered on my swimmers during swim meets and grown into a young adult – and this pool has seen it all. And, even better, I have found some fantastic co-workers and other families to call my own.When you babysit/guard/correct children’s behavior all day, you’re going to have your main ones.

last shift!

Amanda, now a beautiful 13-year-old, is without a doubt one of my favorites. She and I immediately bonded my first year at the pool. As my second little sister, we have regular trips to the mall (shopping at Justice and Limited T00) and the best ice-cream store, Flubbs. Amanda has two older brothers and needed an older sister – and I was lucky enough to pick-up another little one. Besides, who doesn’t love more siblings?

The day’s cooler temperatures virtually left the pool empty, so Amanda and I were able to focus on our crucial Freecell games. The more we played, the more I began talking to her like I would talk to a friend my age.

I told her about my nervousness of packing and moving to Florida.

I told her about my nervousness of meeting my roommates.

I told about my nervousness of working at Disney, seeing an opportunity that could lead to a professional career, but not achieving my goal.

After my deep ramblings about my life and future – I received the best advice. All from an amazing teenager.

“Just do your best. If you mess up smile and say sorry, then do better.” 

Perfect 🙂

I check into Disney in less that one week, and while I still may be figuring out how many clothes to bring, I’m finished worrying about the rest. I am going to smile through this adventure and take part of every opportunity. I know my short-term and long-term goals, only thing I can give now is my best.

Want to know the best part? When I asked Amanda how she got to be so smart and give such smart advice, she answered that’s what I told her right before swimming championships. What great sisterly advice.

Kindness towards soldiers

This past spring break my best friend Kelsey and I traveled down to Miami fora week of sand, tanning and blue ocean. After a long, and in my humble opinion AWFUL, winter of single digit days and trudging through ice to get to class, the only thing we wanted to do was relax. No need for blatantly drunk parties, hand us a couple of cold Coronas and we were living the high life.

After a blissful seven days of paradise, Kelsey and I headed to the airport at 5 a.m. to make our 6:30 a.m. flight. Bleary-eyed and slightly annoyed that I was forced to settle for regular coffee because Starbucks was closed, I waited for the barista to fill the order of the people in front of me.

Ready for the magic?

Two soldiers were at the front of the line, but before they could reach into their pockets for money, the woman behind them stepped to the cashier and told the two American heroes she was paying for their things. She ignored their protests and said, “If you can protect our country, I can buy your coffee.” They other people in line clapped and then everyone went their separate ways.

The end. No drama, no proclamation of red or blue, democrat or republic,  just a simple act of kindness.

This past week I saw the same kindness in my hometown at a local gas station. As I waited in line to pre-pay, the woman in front of me laid a bill down in front of the attendant. She told him it was for the treats of  the three soldiers who were ordering sundaes. She paid for her items, left the bill on the counter, and walked out the door.

So I would like to dedicate this post to that random woman at Miami International Airport and the woman at UDF.  I am so proud to witness these two small events. Thank you both for inspiring me and showing how kindness continues in all methods. I can’t wait for my turn to pass it on.

Also, thank you for all of those who protect our country and guard our freedom. Coffees and ice-cream cannot compare to your actions – but thank you for everything.

College grad lives at home

I celebrated my 22nd birthday on July 27 – a day full of friends, family and tons of love.

Tons.of.love.

Especially coming from my parents. The immense amount love they have shown me since I unpacked my boxes from Ohio State is almost too much to share. Almost.

The night before my birthday I planned to meet some of my friends at a local bar for drinks and appetizers. With everyone moving across the country for jobs, grad school and family, it had been a couple of weeks since the “big” group had been able to meet and catch-up. After I had finished getting ready I went to say goodbye to my parents.

(Be prepared to experience the love here…)

MOM:  “You off to meet the girls?”

ME: “Yup! See you guys tomorrow.”

MOM: “Jess, wait a minute. If you need a ride home or anything give me a call, ok? Seriously, anything you just call me.”

ME: “Thanks mom, but no need to worry about anything like that. Love you, see you tomorrow.”

MOM: “Ok, but really, just call me. Oh hey…who all is going? Are you only going to The Back Porch? When will you be home? Did you get enough dinner? And really Jess, you’re wearing that?”

So.much.love.

It’s hard to complain about my mom and dad caring about me and wanting to make sure I am safe – but it is so difficult to come home and live with my parents after living with roommates at Ohio State.

It’s sort of the same “love” I feel when I head out for the evening. When I tell my dad I am heading to meet Bridget after work and then we are going to hang out for a bit, but I don’t know where…I truly am not being a brat. I don’t know where we’re going. There is no secret, there is no hidden agenda, there is no desire to hide the truth.

I really don’t know where we are going.

Call it stupid or call it crazy, sometimes my friends and I make no plans besides to hang out. Isn’t that what my last summer as a “kid” is for? I graduated college and am preparing to head to Disney — so I want to see my friends, family and relax before moving down. So when my friends says let’s grab dinner it is implied we will decide on a restaurant when we meet. After my insane list-making, studying and planning in Columbus I feel so free making smaller list for the summer…no need to decide where to eat right away. Go with the flow. But my “free and flowing” summer lifestyle causes me to have no answers for my dad when he asks about my plans. And somehow fights erupt from me really not knowing.

See? The love is almost never-ending.

Living with your parents is HARD. Especially when you move all of your stuff from your own room in Columbus back to your parents’ house and try to juggle unpacking OSU things and packing for Disney.What makes the situation harder is my new-found title as an “college-graduate adult”. I feel that my parents and I are continuing to try to find a working relationship that allows me to live my life as a young adult, but continue to follow and respect their rules.

But, it’s a work in progress.