Monday, June 14, 2010

Eight Weeks Left!

In just eight weeks the August CPs will start checking in, which means that I'll be moving in to the apartments!  Today the last group of Fall Advantage people checked in, so I hope that they all enjoy their first few days of training.  Good luck everyone!  So many D-Fam folks are already there, and I can't wait to meet them.

It looks like I have some new roommates!  A couple of months ago, I found someone on the Facebook groups and we chatted about sharing a room but it doesn't look like it will work out.  So for the moment, there are 3 of us and we are looking for a fourth!

Now that I am less than two months away from arriving in Orlando, I suddenly feel a rush of nerves.  I'm excited of course!  But when we were three or more months away from checking in, it felt far enough not to get nervous or stressed.  When I realized that now it is less than two months until my program starts, suddenly I thought, "Where did all that time go?  And there's so little time left!"  It got me thinking about how much I still have left to do and all of the people/things/places that I'm going to miss while in Orlando.  I suppose that what I'm experiencing could be considered "pre-homesickness."  I'm a pretty emotional person so I expect to have a hard time with these last few weeks.

What about you, fellow Fall CPs?  Are you feeling at all nervous or anxious, or is it just excitement?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Defending Your CP Decision

If you are a past/present/future College Program participant, it's pretty likely that you've run into at least one negative friend, family member, school advisor, or complete stranger.  You know the type.  "You're doing the College Program?  You know you'll just be cheap labor, right?"  Or "I can't imagine anything worse than working for Disney.  All those annoying kids and angry tourists!"  Although it doesn't apply to me as a graduate, I've also heard "You're postponing graduation to operate roller coasters for a semester?"  There are numerous possibilities for the negative questions or statements undoubtedly coming your way at least once.  And it can be enough to get you defensively riled up sometimes.

Since I went public with my decision to do the CP, I've had many of these conversations already and I expect to have many more.  It's simply unavoidable.  But this post was inspired by a conversation online that I had the other day.  I was in a favorite online community and the subject of Disneyland/Disney World came up.  What followed was a division of members on whether Disney was a favorite aspect of childhood memories and experiences or an evil corporation determined to weasel money away from innocents.  It's pretty common whenever Disney becomes a topic there, so I wasn't surprised.  A fellow community member stated that she (or he, I don't know) was just hired at Disneyland to work in Attractions and was really excited.  I jumped in and responded with "Good luck! I start working at WDW in a few weeks!"  Then someone else responded to me, and here was the turn the conversation took.

Her: "Awesome!  I'm a Cast Member, do you know where you'll be working?"
Me: "Nope, not yet.  I'm in Attractions, though!"
Her: "If you want, I can check the Hub for you to find out your assignment.  I'd be happy to!"
Me: "Well thanks!  But I don't start until August so I am not in the system yet."
Her: "Oh Lord...  You aren't an unfortunate CP, are you?"
Me: "Yes, I am!"

And there was never a reply.  This amused me because it jumps to a whole new level of harsh outside perspectives.  Now other Cast Members are expressing their CP negativity to me.  At least I'm taking her at her word that she is indeed a CM.

There are so many ways to defend your decision to do the CP, depending on the specifics of the conversation.  If they tell you that you'll be wasting a semester or that Disney is just using you, you can point out the education and networking opportunities which are always a valuable aspect and ideal of any internship (although often people my age end up running for coffee and making copies in the name of "interning").  And regardless of your experience, you will be able to put a big name like Disney on your resume when you finish the program.  This is a point that the program uses for advertisement and I think it's a valid one.  In my own experience I've worked for both an international well-known retail company and a local small business that no one has ever heard of.  Which do you think stands out more on my resume?  Even during my CP interview, the interviewer expressed greater interest in my experience with that company because she was familiar with the corporation and the skills I would possess in order to be considered for a job there as well as the skills I would gain during my employment.  I think the same applies for the Disney company in terms of familiarity.  In my opinion any experience is good experience but the big name doesn't hurt.  As college or post-college jobs go, you could be doing much worse and not getting the same education/networking opportunities.  (For the record, I'm not saying that the CP is a fast-track to anything else because experiences vary.  A lot of it depends on how the participant chooses to utilize these opportunities!)

But this is just one example of how we will undoubtedly need to back up our choice to do the CP.  What about you, readers?  Any interesting stories about people expressing these sentiments to you about the CP?  How do you respond?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And by the way, I've jumped on the TUMBLR bandwagon.  If you have one, feel free to follow and/or let me know!

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