Jessica Pineda is a former Cougar News correspondent. Currently, she is in Florida taking part in a Walt Disney World internship program. From time to time, she will write about her experiences in Florida and at the “Magic Kingdom.”
I am striving to do my best work, create magic, and make the most of my time here. Hopefully, what I am doing here is just the sprout of what I dream will blossom into a career within Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
For college students who aspire to work for The Mouse, the Disney College Program has been suggested as a good springboard to a career with The Walt Disney Company and its affiliates.
But like all other dreamers, going the distance does not come without its hurdles.
Upon my first day of training, nerves and worries had incessantly buzzed in my head like a bee you just can’t shoo away.
It all boiled down to, “This is the company I hope to work with for a long time. The rest of my life depends on this. I have to be perfect.”
This is a toxic way of thinking: a set up for disaster.
My mind was so consumed from worrying about making a wrong step that I wasn’t watching where I was walking. I made more mistakes than I should have, and those mistakes caused excess emotional grief.
A few days ago, I decided to visit Epcot as a Guest a few hours before my shift started in order to gain a better idea of what Epcot is like from the other perspective. I noted wait times, crowded points, firework viewing spots, and sought the answer to any guest inquiries that I did not know the answer to before.
That exploration session helped me become a more knowledgeable Cast Member.
Before work, I stepped into the locker room to change into my costume. As I shuffled through my Mickey State University backpack to trade my Mickey Mouse sneakers for my work shoes, I came to the horrid realization that I had left the button-up shirt for my costume (my uniform) at my apartment.
Additionally, it turned out I clocked in incorrectly and accidentally pressed a button that would cause an error on not only my schedule, but two other photographers’ as well.
I was focusing so much on trying to improve myself as a Cast Member earlier in the day, yet I made two mistakes within the first few minutes of my shift.
At that point, a manager had noticed that I was not in costume, and said I had to run down to the costuming department as quickly as possible to get another shirt.
On my way downstairs, my eyes started welling up and the tears began rolling down my cheeks.
The worrisome bee inside my head was buzzing up a storm, and I was so disappointed and angry with myself for making such careless mistakes.
The reality was that both of those mistakes were easily fixable and not remotely worth shedding tears for. My coordinators were so patient and kind, assuring me everything was taken care of and I was ready for work. I just had to relax and be careful next time.
“Always look at the bright side of things—learn from it when things go bad,” a custodial Cast Member said to me as I briefly passed him as I walked to my post.
That I did.
This Cast Member did not have an inkling of why I was crying, but little did he know that his words went a long way.
I learned that I needed to relax and have faith in myself. A little pressure to challenge myself is good, but it should not be overwhelming.
It’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, it is the best way to learn.
I owned up to what I did wrong, assessed what I needed to do in order to prevent them, and fully remembered the consequences for not being careful.
There was no need for tears and no need to dwell on something that has already happened.
The buzzing bee of constant worry dwindled down. One could say Jiminy Cricket took its place and faintly reminded me to relax and let my conscience be my guide.
I walked onstage feeling truly refreshed and ready to capture some magic.