By: Anita Chitwood
I still remember my very first visit to Walt Disney World; spending time with my favorite princesses and joining in the parade with the Seven Dwarves (though I’m positive I wasn’t supposed to be in these parades, but who says no to a 5 year old?) I didn’t know then that I would one day work for this “magical” corporation. During the fall semester of 2012 I left Michigan State to join the Disney College Program. It seemed like this would be a waste of my time: it didn’t directly relate to my communications or public relations major, I couldn’t receive college credit, and it would inevitably put me behind in my attempt to graduate in 4 years. However, I learned irreplaceable lessons that are both applicable to every job and “magical”.
1. Ask Bold Questions.
If you want something in life you have to ask for it. My first day at Disney, I asked myself, “How can I work for ESPN?” knowing ESPN is owned by the Disney Corporation. I knew someone could help me out, so I walked into the employment office and said, “I want to work for ESPN. Can I have a contact?” A woman told me she didn’t have a number for ESPN, but could connect me with individuals in the communications and public relations here in Orlando, FL. This is where I began to network throughout my program and I still keep in touch with many of these professionals. Just because your question misses the moon, doesn’t mean you won’t catch a few stars on the way down. Always ask bold questions.
2. Do Your Job Different.
When you sit down at an interview, a commonly asked question asked, “What did you do at your previous job?” It would be easy to give a simple summary of life in a restaurant, considering at the Disney College Program I worked at a hostess at Kouizzina by Cat Cora, but it won’t get me the job. But no matter how insignificant your job may seem, there is always a way to do it better. In interviews I talk about the opportunities I took through networking and my participation in a Disney Marketing class. I also mentioned the times I went above to provide a “magical moment” for a guest. You have to prove that you can bring more to the job you’re applying for than what the employer expects.
3. Take Opportunities.
As I mentioned, the Disney College Program had nothing to do with my degree. However, it has given me many more opportunities, including my current communication internship at the State Senate. Just because an internship doesn’t directly apply to what you want to do, it can open up the door to so many other chances. Working at a reputable company such as Disney has piloted my future in a positive direction. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!