Thankful For…

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Thanksgiving has become such a strange time of the year for me. As one of my favorite holidays, I have always looked forward to the cozy day that truly marks the start of the Christmas season. Everyone is always in such an amazing mood, and not to mention it’s the best meal of the year. (Seriously, why can’t we normalize eating green bean casserole and stuffing all year round?) Something about Thanksgiving and our traditions at home just always felt right to me, and I just can’t seem to explain it.

Since starting college, I have spent the past three Thanksgivings at school, just because the timing with our breaks is super strange, and flights this time of year can be pretty expensive. Yet I never let that stop me from enjoying my favorite traditions. Growing up, my family would start the day off in our PJs watching the parade, while eating our gourmet breakfast of McDonald’s. Nothing special, but it was something my sister and I looked forward too all year. I’m here to tell you that the tradition still stands, and no matter where I spend my Thanksgiving, I vow to myself to start it off the same way.

I’ve also been able to start my own traditions too. Every year, my Her Campus ladies and I have been able to host a “friendsgiving” potluck filled with smiles and amazing memories. The past three years, Josh and I have been able to spend the holiday weekend together, and although he hasn’t quite picked up on how amazing the parade is to watch, he happily drives me to McDonald’s to make sure I can enjoy my annual bacon, egg, & cheese McGriddle. Last year we even cooked our own Thanksgiving meal, and it was so much fun (and extremely hard) to figure out how to downsize a feast for just two people.

I’m so thankful for my life in Florida, and how everything has been falling into place for me the past few years. I’ve had amazing job opportunities, I fell in love with my school, and the most amazing people have entered my life since moving here. I miss celebrating Thanksgiving at home, but I am so grateful to have found a second place to call home and create these new memories. in.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter how you’re celebrating this year!

xoxo,

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

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I know, I know, Thanksgiving is still a day away, but who are we really kidding? The Christmas spirit has been out in full force here in Orlando since before the Halloween season was even over. Overkill? For sure, but that’s just how it’s done here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year is an incredibly exciting year for me to be in the holiday spirit early, because I finally get to go home for Christmas after a brutal year alone. So for about 24 hours I’ll be enjoying the crisp weather and the fresh snow, and for the other 15 days I’m there, you’ll most likely find me complaining about how my body isn’t used to the wind chill.

Nonetheless, I’m trying my hardest to celebrate the holiday season in both of my homes, and take in as many sights as possible to get in the spirit! This past week, I had the opportunity to check out a few of Orlando’s most festive sights that had me decked out in red & green earlier than planned.

Festival of Trees

Orlando Museum of Art

A first for both me and Josh, we headed downtown for the Festival of Trees. Unsure what to expect, I was amazed by the countless number of pines decked out for the holiday season. Festival of Trees is an event put on by Orlando Museum of Art’s Council of 101 to transform the museum into a winter wonderland. Each room was full of trees, wreaths, and table-settings up for purchase to benefit the museum.

Different businesses from all over the community each donated products for the auction or decorated trees to showcase. There was even a room filled with gingerbread houses that really reminded me of home.

It was such a special day that was perfect for kicking of the holiday season here in Orlando!

Christmas Tree Trail

Disney Springs

Of course every year I have to make it out to the other side of town to see how Mickey Mouse decorated for the holidays. One of my favorite things to do (because it’s free) is to go to Disney Springs for lunch. Tis the season for the Holiday Turkey sandwich from Earl of Sandwich, so I made that a priority of my small little day trip. Listen, this sandwich actually scared the heck out of me a year ago. Who would put turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce all on one sandwich? (Well other than Ross Geller.) Well, last year I ordered it expecting it to be the worst thing I ever ate, but my knockoff “moist-maker” turned out to be my new favorite sandwich. The best part about it is ordering it in June, when you’re really craving Thanksgiving food.

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The Christmas Tree Trail is conveniently located right next to Earl of Sandwich, so now you have no excuse not to try the Holiday Turkey. We headed to the entrance and were greeted with the familiar tunes of Micheal Bublé and snoap (Floridian snow made of soap suds) falling from the sky.

I swear the events team at Disney sets a goal to outdo themselves every year, and you can really see it in the trail. As always, each tree is designed to match a certain Disney movie or attraction, and this year there were more than ever. They also included cute little posters with easter eggs from some of their animations. This year they even got smart and added a shop and concessions right in the middle of the trail.

And I fell victim to it as soon as I saw the most adorable souvenir cup they were offering this year. After finding out it came with a frozen eggnog milkshake, I was sold, and am now a proud owner of another piece of plastic that I have no clue what to do with.

We all got our amazing photos with our favorite trees and wow was the lighting ever in our favor. Bless. Then headed to a few of our favorite stores to start some early Christmas shopping before calling it a day.

Grinchmas

Universal Orlando

The final holiday adventure (for this week at least) brought me to Universal Orlando to see something brand new to me. I recently joined the dark side and became an annual passholder at Universal, which is super exciting because up until now, I have only been there in the summer. So when I found out they were offering a special first look at the holiday festivities just for passholders one day after the parks closed, I signed up so dang fast. At the time I didn’t have anyone to go with, but I wasn’t going to miss out on such an exciting event, so I planned on going solo.

I headed straight to the parks after I got off work on Friday, because they were closing at 7pm, so I had to get at least one roller coaster ride in, right? Universal Studios was dressed up in it’s holiday best, and I’m already counting down the days until I can see all the decorations in daylight.

After the park closed I headed to city walk to meet up with my friend Natalie, and we headed over to the passholder preview. This event was held at Islands of Adventure, so we got to see all new decorations. We started by waiting in a long line to buy passholder exclusive Christmas ornaments, but it was definitely worth it because they are so cute. Ornaments are one of my favorite souvenirs because you get to relive the memories from the adventure while decorating your tree each year.

We then joined the masses and headed to Suess Landing for the first stage show of “The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”. Long story short, it was my favorite show ever, and I will be attempting to go back as many times as possible to watch it before flying home.

That was all we were able to check out in one trip, but i’m planning on going back soon to see Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s (yes, including the balloons), and Mannheim Steamroller does performances free with admission every Saturday and Sunday night.

I’m so excited to continue celebrating the holiday season here in Orlando, at home in Pittsburgh, and even for a few days in Washington DC. It truly is the most wonderful time of year, and the happiness and good vibes are so infectious. This Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me.

Overwhelmed Beyond Belief

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“Hey how’s it going?”, “What have you been up to?”, “How have you been?” Hi, My name is Lena Daniels, I’m 20 years old, and my answer to all of those questions is “I’m overwhelmed. Always.”

As you may or may not have been able to tell by my lack of blog posts, I have been the busiest girl in the world, and I honestly love it. This semester has been kicking my booty in the best way possible, and I have no complaints— so far. The infamous “they” told me that junior year of high school was the year to fear. With SATs, college tours, and the most important GPA year, I thought I rode the struggle bus and was able to get off circa 2015. Yet junior year of college has proven to give my just as much of a challenge so far.

While this semester I am taking the least amount of credits thus far in my college career, I am focusing on my minor, mass communications, so all the coursework is completely new information. I am loving all of my classes so far, but I had to manually switch my brain off hospitality mode for a little bit in order to process all the new knowledge I’m filtering in.

Luckily for me, my new current internship came at the perfect time. I am working on the Public Relations team at a local agency, Six. I’m able to use everything I’ve learned in class so far and translate it into my job. I’ve been creating social media posts, pitching to the media, and planning events for our clients in the area. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before, but it combines all my interests, so it was definitely the perfect fit for me.

And of course, you know all about how Her Campus is taking over my life. Let me tell you, managing a team of 80+ girls is the most insane thing I’ve done, and it brings me so much joy. We’ve accomplished so much as a chapter in such a short period of time, and I’m so excited for the future of this organization.

Oh yeah, and a social life? She’s still going strong. I’m now a Universal Orlando annual passholder, which means my theme parks days are back in action. I never thought I’d cheat on Disney like this, but I’ve been having so much fun exploring these new parks with Josh, who finally gave in and committed to the AP life as well. I’ve also finally been able to attend the UCF football games again, which I am beyond excited about. Having to miss every game of last year’s undefeated was really disappointing, but with they way things are looking this year, we might have another amazing season (knock on wood!)

It’s been crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being bored is my least favorite thing ever, so I think I’m safe from boredom at least for a little while! Also, if you didn’t catch the exciting news, I am now the proud owner of my very own domain! Out with the old .wordpress domain, in with the fresh new website that’s 100% mine. I’m so excited to finally own my own little corner of the world wide web.

Time to got back into blog hibernation for a little while, while I continue to be the busiest person in the world. If I survive this semester without a gray hair, I’ll call it a success.

Until next time,

xoxo,

 

Hello, Junior Year

BLOG, college, Lil Life Updates

So my junior year of college starts tomorrow, and thinking about it makes me want to hurl. Like I know everyone says college flies by, but seriously how did this happen so fast? I haven’t experienced a fall semester since freshman year since I spent last year running around Disney, so I feel like my time has gone by even faster than I thought. It’s crazy to be sitting here getting organized for the first day of classes, knowing that at this time next year, it will be my last time. I love growing up, but now I’m just wishing time would stop.

Looking forward to this year, I have a lot of amazing opportunities coming my way. I am finally *finally* back to only taking 15 credit hours per semester, which will be a huge sigh of relief after spending the past few overloaded with 18-20. This semester specifically, I’ll be focusing on my minor, mass communications, which I recently declared. With this extra time on my hands, I’ll be able to focus on leading the best dang Her Campus chapter the world has ever seen (hopefully).

I also have an exciting new internship in store. I will be starting work with an agency in Ivanhoe Village, called Six, and I’ll be doing all sorts of fun things with them. From social media to PR writing to event planning- you name it! I’ll be gaining experience in both of my fields and combining all of my interests.

As much as I wish I could press the pause button on this semester, I already know it’s going to fly by. I’m really excited for all that’s happening in the next few months, and I can’t wait to share all the adventures along the way.

Until next time,

xoxo,

 

What Really Happened During My Summer Internship

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“How would you describe your LEAD Internship to a friend?” I was asked by my coworker who sat behind a large camera. As I leaned back in the large chair that overlooked our resort’s 75,000 square foot pool from the presidential suite, I finally took it all in. How do I even begin to describe one of the most eclectic experiences of my life so far? For starters, I’m being interviewed by a film crew for a promotional video, in addition to jumpstarting my acting career by poorly recreating some of my favorite memories of the summer. Who else can say they spent their last week at work doubling as a movie-star-in-training? But it’s just one of the many, many, many hats I was fortunate enough to wear this summer during my program. My time at The Fountains was short, but the memories I made will last a long time.

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Ever since I began my path in the hospitality industry, I knew I wanted to focus onthe tourism industry. I wanted to harbor that excitement one feels when embarking on a vacation and keep that momentum going forever. Specifically, I knew I wanted to work at a resort. Yet I was always posed the question “What part of the lodging industry do you want to work in? What do you want to do at a resort?” and that’s where I always drew a blank. I knew I wanted to work in such an uplifting and exciting environment, but I never knew what specifically I wanted to do there.

When it came time to start searching for summer internships early last winter, I stumbled across the Bluegreen Vacation LEAD Internship. It was a company I never heard of, so I decided to read further about what it was. “Through hands-on training and mentorship with resort staff, interns will participate in comprehensive rotations focusing on operational procedures, advanced systems, and customer service across a range of disciplines including guest services, food & beverage, resort maintenance, housekeep, resort activities, and more”. So basically I had the opportunity to spend the summer trying out anything and everything involved in making the resort run, in order to find what I really enjoyed the most. It was the perfect program for me to finally have an answer to the question of what I wanted to do at resorts.

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After rounds and rounds of interviews, I was accepted to be one of the two interns at The Fountains resort in Orlando, and I was beyond excited. As summer came around, I was expecting to begin my rotations, and just spend a week doing work in each department. To my surprise, this internship was so much more than just doing work.

On Day 1 we were given a binder with all of the departments we would be shadowing during the program. What I didn’t expect to see in the binder were all the learning elements that we were able to participate in. After coming from an internship where I basically did manual labor for minimum wage, I wasn’t really expecting anything crazy, but just seeing that we had the opportunity to learn while we were here made me so excited.

Each week, we would take on the role of a different department, doing a mix of hands-on work, shadowing managers, and learning the behind the scenes of what makes each operation successful. In addition, we had weekly meetings with our mentor, the resort’s assistant general manager, to talk about both our experiences in the program, as well as the department’s strengths and weaknesses that could be adjusted. I like to call this part of the internship my experience as an Undercover Boss, because we were able to see each department with fresh eyes, and help the resort leadership team fix any errors that they might not have even noticed.

We also were able to participate in weekly video conference calls with the 10 other interns located at Bluegreen properties all over the country to compare and contrast our experiences. During these calls, we were able to network with each other, take classes on Timeshare 101 and Financial Acumen, as well as have inciteful Q&A sessions with the company’s executive members, creating amazing opportunities across the board.

Additionally, we were tasked with creating a capstone project highlighting three ways the resort could enhance the guest’s experience. Over the course of the summer, we were able to pinpoint problem areas and figure out ways to find a solution, in order to better the company as well as better ourselves. At the end of the program, we presented to all of the resorts leaders, as well as the regional manager, and the company’s learning and development team. It was an incredible experience to have my ideas heard and praised, and I look forward to seeing if they’ll be implemented in the near future.

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This internship program was more than just a job where I went to work, did my tasks, and went home. The LEAD Program quickly became the biggest surprise of my young 20-year-old life, as I was able to grow so much in 11 weeks, and open so many doors to my future. I was constantly asked by friends and family what I was doing and how I was enjoying it, and it was just so hard to put my joy into words, so I hope this does the trick.

I was amazed by how welcome I felt every time I stepped on the property. As I rotated through the 9 different departments, I was able to meet almost every employee that worked there, and they always made sure to say hi and talk to me after I moved on to the next rotation. The maintenance department was the best, as they would always greet me with “Good Morning Boss!”, and it went straight to my head. The goal of Bluegreen Vacations is to “share happiness”, and after a shaky few months of not knowing whether or not hospitality was the right field for me, I can confidently say that I am more than happy in this industry, and I thank everyone at the Fountains for helping me feel confident in this role.

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Don’t worry, this isn’t the end of my Bluegreen journey! Next summer I will be going back to The Fountains for a second internship, but this one will focus on one department the whole program. I will learn a more in-depth view of the department I select, and have the opportunity to work as a supervisor in that role. I already know which role I’ll be taking on, but I’ll keep it a secret from you for a little while longer so you have the excuse to visit my blog again in the future.

I am so beyond grateful for all the experiences I’ve been able to have so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until next time,

xoxo,

Hello, New York

BLOG, TRAVEL

So should I start this post with “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, “the greatest city in the world”, or “I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep”? All cliche, but you all know exactly where I’m referring to without even mentioning the name of the city. The big, the bright, the beautiful, New York City! *cue the kickline perfectly synced to big band jazz*

Now, I didn’t come to New York expecting to be a star, but instead, I was here to be wowed by the stars. Just not the ones in the sky, because the light pollution there is astronomical. I made my way to The Big Apple for my first time ever, for a weekend of girl power that shined brighter than anything in the sky. And at #HerConference 2018, I definitely needed to wear shades, because these killer ladies showed us that our future was just as bright, if not brighter, than Time Square at 2 am.

Our trip started off early, as we touched town in LGA just in time to make it to Central Park for lunch with a view. We rented paddle boats and enjoyed the sunshine, before eating authentic New York dogs from an award-winning (probably) cart on the street. After watching our fair share of jumping men that scammed Nicole out of a crisp five dollar bill, we were able to head to our hotel, that was dressed head to toe in all things Marilyn Monroe. Rumor has it she stayed there like, once, so naturally, the whole building was an ode to her. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

After a quick rest to sleep off our non-existent jetlag, we got into the real nitty gritty touristy stuff: Time Square. Starting off the night in the cheesiest, touristy attraction ever, we dined in style at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and were serenaded by the best of off-Broadway’s talent. Karaoke rendition after karaoke rendition of songs I’ve never heard of before was the perfect backdrop to a milkshake and a night on the town. After combating our way through crowds busier than Main Street USA after the fireworks finish, we took the classic Time Square picture and called it a night.

The next morning we started off cultured, by heading over to the Museum of Modern Art. Seeing so many famous paintings in real life was so surreal, and my elementary art teacher would have been proud. We continued our day by hitting up every basic New York attraction out there. Rockefeller Center? Check. Washington Square Park? Check. Macy’s? Check. What else was left to do but see a Broadway show of course! So to continue our day of being cultured, we chose the best of the best, Spongebob The Musical. And honestly, it was one of the greatest shows I had ever seen.

The next two days were spent at Her Conference, becoming inspired by the greatest women to grace this earth. We heard from speakers of all different backgrounds talking about how to really succeed in life. Over the course of two days, we were able to network with influencers and Her Campus members from all over the country, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Already counting down the days until next year!

Following the second night of the conference, we decided to head downtown to SoHo and Little Italy for dinner, which was an incredible surprise. Eating cannoli from the “Cannoli King” himself while musicians played on the street created such an incredible environment that I can only imagine Italy is nothing like.

On our final day, we made it to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from across the river. I’ve only seen Lady Liberty twice, and both times it was cloudy, so it looks like I’ll definitely have to go back to see her in all her glory. We were also able to see the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, and the church where Hamilton is buried.

To finish up the trip, we headed over to the High Line, a park created on old trolley tracks, and Chelsea Market. I made sure to buy handfuls of New York candy to take home before heading back to the airport.

We were able to squeeze so much into such a small amount of time, and I was so happy we made it work. Until next time, “let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”.

Two Years are Better Than One

BLOG, Reflections

A year ago, I woke up and had a beautifully typed out blog post ready to be published, celebrating the ups and downs of creating my first blog. June 10th, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of stepping out of my shell and trying something new, and that something just so happened to change the entire way I view life. This morning, I woke up and went through my daily routine, and noticed on my Timehop, that today, in fact, was June 10th, and the day I get to celebrate my blog turning two. Just goes to show you, no matter how hard you plan your life, somethings just sneak up on you. Unprepared, and with my eyes still adjusting to the light of day, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on “Lena Dani” and all that has happened these past two years.

When I created this blog after high school graduation, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I just wanted to keep busy for a day and try something new. In my first year publicly writing to a small audience of family and friends, I was able to discover the power of a post, and how many people actually do care about my small adventures in life. Rounding into this second year, I embarked on some serious journies (i.e. my Disney College Program), and my posting fell near the wayside (i.e. non-existent). No worries there, because I brought her back to life in January to fill in all the blanks.

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During this time I was able to perfect my leadership skills and eventually be offered the role of incoming President for Her Campus UCF. I also was given the opportunity to write for the employee section of our Bluegreen website for the internship I am currently on, all because my managers discovered this blog. I truly believe I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without the creation of this blog.

I recently have also been given the opportunity to work with several different promotional campaigns over social media as well as here at “Lena Dani”, that you can look forward to seeing soon! I accepted invitations to join Influencer Collectives, and go to meetups with fellow Orlando bloggers. I’m even heading to New York City this summer to attend a conference dedicated to girl bosses in the media.

So yeah, you could say that this blog has done a lot for me. I know sometimes that I get too caught up in life to document everything that I experience, but having the opportunity to just highlight on a few different aspects is the reason why this is such an amazing outlet for me.

Cheers to two successful years of “Lena Dani”, and here’s to many, many more!

xoxo,

What is “Her Campus”?

BLOG, college, Her Campus

So if you follow me on any form of social media, I’m sure your feed has been clogged with a multitude of articles I’ve been sharing the past couple of years. Most probably scroll past without a second thought, but some of you might be curious as to why I’ve been spamming your timeline with stories ranging from the best lipglosses to wear each season to the feminist agenda.

Her Campus is the number one online magazine for college women, that is made up of writers from all over the world. There are over three hundred chapters worldwide, hosted at colleges and universities ranging in all shapes and sizes. We write about nearly everything under the sun and love to share that work in hopes that readers can relate.

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Writing is our base, and what we specialize in, but over the past couple of semesters, we have been able to expand as a chapter and create a name for ourselves on campus. In addition to writing our weekly articles, we have hosted multiple women’s empowerment events, worked with the national chapter to put on a tour hosting multiple sponsors, such as L’Oreal and Aeropostale, and created a team that exhibits professionality and poise.

I got started in Her Campus UCF before my freshman year even began. I discovered the website late senior year of high school when I spent zero time studying and procrastinated all my work away by scouring the internet in ways to prepare for college. A simple search for the best study spots around UCF’s campus (hah, can you see the irony), lead me to find this host for incredible articles to get me ready for such a large transition.

I continued reading these articles sporadically throughout the summer and followed their Facebook page for updates on new ones being released. I didn’t even think to join the organization until months later, after I started my blog, and discovered it might be the perfect fit. So I found the new member applications, applied to be a contributing writer, and the rest is history.

Well actually, not quite history, since I’m still living in it. As freshmen year progressed, I began writing more and more than I ever had in my life, discovering my love for this newfound hobby. It wasn’t until my articles were continuously shared by HC’s national chapter that I thought I could be semi-decent at this.

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Towards the end of Freshman year, I nominated myself to be the social media director, on a whim, because I wanted to get more involved in this activity than ever before. I completely surprised myself, and earned the position, and began to learn the ins-and-outs of HC better than ever.

Through my position of the social media director, I learned how to promote events, schedule content, work with sponsors, design graphics, and more, all while completing a full-time internship across town. This role gave me so much more exposure to the interworkings of online marketing and promoting a brand, and I fell completely in love with that aspect, on top of all the writing I’ve been contributing.

I began translating these skills into my own personal brand when curating an aesthetic for my Instagram and reformatting my blog for the billionth time. After all, successful websites are constantly evolving and growing.

Come this past January, our current President and Editor-in-Cheif asked me, and my other blogger/girl boss of a best friend, Nicole, to take over for her next year. It was a crazy big honor because I had fantasized becoming President and Campus Correspondent (HC talk for a leader who corresponds with the national chapter’s office each week) my senior year, and here I am, an incoming junior with this position under my belt. It felt extra special because as much as I have been putting into Her Campus UCF the past two years, I’ve been getting that much and more out of it. It didn’t just act as a club that I went to once a week, but it became something that has shaped the way I have been living my life.

 

So as of right now, Nicole and I have finished our onboarding and training, and have officially assumed our roles as co-Campus Correspondents of Her Campus UCF. Her, taking up the role as Editor-in-Cheif, and me as President.

It is beyond exciting to be spending the next few semesters helping our team grow and fostering that special feeling I felt when I joined the team a few years back. So yeah, unfortunately for those of you who follow me on social media, you will continue to have your timelines be filled with all the wonderful articles from our writers that I have been sharing. And you should click on them and check them out too, as it’s incredible the words that have sprouted from our team’s keyboards and been uploaded onto our website.

I can’t wait to continue growing through this organization and hopefully inspire others to follow similar journeys as well. We don’t just write, we soar.

HCXO!

xoxo,

May the 4th Be With You

BLOG, disney

May the fourth be with you. No, I’m not a Star Wars fan with a horrible lisp, just a Star Wars fan who loves to celebrate arbitrary holidays. Happy Friday, but more importantly, happy Star Wars day!

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I’d like to thank start off by thanking Star Wars for existing. As a kid, I never really understood the franchise, as I wasn’t wielding a lightsaber in the womb. Although I wasn’t raised on the ways of the force, like some, I grew an appreciation for the iconic movie series at the perfect time in my life. Late high school, where I could wear the “nerd card” on my sleeve and be proud of it. I mean I was already in marching band, so how much worse could my social suicide really get?

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Fortunately, I didn’t care and was able to fall in love with Han Solo, Lando, and Chewbacca. I instantly took a liking towards the rebel alliance, and when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, I knew I was destined to be a Star Wars geek from here on out.

 

Thanks to a galaxy far far away, I’ve been able to bond with so many different people and create friendships to last a few light years. I’ve discovered that a Chewie hug can make any problem disappear. I even spent this past Christmas with my old roommate watching the Star Wars Holiday Special that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. And my newly acquired box set will always provide the perfect date night with my equally geeky boyfriend.

 

Proud to wear my love for Star Wars on my sleeve, and to be binging episodes one through eight today to celebrate the holiday.

Have a nerdy Friday, and may the force be with you, always.

xoxo,

Sophomore Year Recap

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And just like that, I’m halfway done with my undergraduate career here at UCF. Wait, what? Where did the time go? Honestly, I wish I knew so that I could tell it to stop, take a breath and slow down. It feels like just last week I left Pittsburgh and jumped into my life here in Orlando, but that fact that we are coming up on my two year anniversary of moving here is absolutely bonkers. Yet sophomore year flew by faster than I could have ever imagined.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that my I spent my fall semester interning at Walt Disney World as a participant in the Disney College Program. With that under my belt, the first semester of my sophomore year flew by. Upon being reenrolled as a student at UCF, I wasn’t expecting the next four months to occur in the blink of an eye.

I started out the semester strong, maybe too strong. I enrolled in 19 credit hours because I clearly enjoy making myself suffer. The average for students here is 15 credit hours per semester, and most opt to take 12. The maximum you’re even allowed to take is 17, so why I thought to override all the rules to take 19 was a good idea is beyond me. But I had to make up for spending a semester riding rollercoasters, so six in-person lectures and one cooking lab it was.

After a five-month hiatus from learning, it was time to kick it into high gear and take this semester by storm, all while getting adjusted to new living habits and extracurriculars. Three days before the semester began, I moved into my first big girl apartment, with my own bedroom and bathroom (!!!). I decorated to my heart’s content and renewed my lease so it will be my permanent home in Orlando at least until July 2019, if not longer.

Living near campus again meant I was finally able to get back into the swing of things with my extracurriculars, Campus Activities Board, and Her Campus. As a member of Her Campus UCF’s executive board, I was really able to let my leadership flourish this year. By the end of the semester, I was even appointed to be next year’s president and co-campus correspondent. I am beyond excited to lead my favorite organization down a path of success, as it has been one of my goals since my very first meeting freshman year.

After so many great things began happening to me here in Orlando, it was my mission to find a way to stay here through the summer. Thus, the job hunt began. Fortunately, I discovered an incredible internship opportunity early on in the semester to apply for. I spent a few months applying and going through multiple interviews before hearing the amazing news that I earned one of only two positions available. So this summer I will be working as a LEAD Intern for Bluegreen Vacations, a timeshare resort company, at their Orlando resort, The Fountains. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work in hotels and resorts, as it’s been one of my main goals within the hospitality industry. This program will give me the opportunity to rotate between six or seven different positions in the hotel, to learn what I have a liking towards so I can prepare for a management internship in that role. On top of that, the resort had discovered my writing and knack for social marketing and asked if I could work on doing some of that for their website, and of course, I was beyond excited to be offered the opportunity to combine two of my passions into one.

And a full-time job in Orlando means I needed to begin the car search so I could actually get to work each day. So thus began the stressful process that was buying a car in Florida, while my parents were still in Pennsylvania. But we survived, and I now have a beautiful baby girl to drive around town in, and I finally feel like I’ve made this city my new home.

So this semester consisted of murdering my sanity with way too many classes, working extra hard on extracurriculars, and becoming a real-life grown up. Too much adulting, if you ask me, but it had to be done. My social life? Hah, yeah it was basically non-existent, as you can tell, but taking a semester to advance and improve myself, was much needed, and will ensure a future full of opportunity down here.

I’m looking forward to a blistering hot summer like no other, and for it to go by as slooooowly as possible because the thought of being a junior in college is enough to make me want to puke. But if time has to move so quickly, I’m just overjoyed that I found the perfect place to live it in.

xoxo,