6 Unexpected Perks Of Living In Disney College Program Housing

6 Unexpected Perks Of Living In Disney College Program Housing

To rent or not to rent? That is the question.
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Congratulations, you just got accepted to the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World!

Now here’s one of the first big decisions you have to make: opt in to College Program (CP) housing, or find your own place? On both of my programs, I chose CP housing, and it was definitely the right choice for me.

Whether you end up in Vista Way, Chatham Square, The Commons, or Patterson Court, here are six perks of living in CP housing.

1. The Buses

Do you not have a car? Do you have a car, but have no idea how you’re going to get it from your house to Florida? Are you concerned about struggling to find a parking spot when you get to work? Worry not – there is a bus system that takes you directly from CP housing to any Disney Parks and Resorts location. The buses free you from worrying about parking fees or about finding your car again after a long day of park- or resort-hopping.

2. The Furnishings

Every CP apartment is already furnished, with everything from beds and dressers to tables and chairs. The kitchen is stocked with pots and silverware, too! You’re welcome to supplement the apartment’s offerings with your own belongings, but you don’t have to work a trip to IKEA into your already hectic move-in schedule.

3. Automatic Rent

When I started my CP, I had never had to pay rent before. I was worried about forgetting to make payments or accidentally spending so much money that I didn’t have enough to make rent. But when you live in CP housing, the rent comes directly out of your paycheck! The payments are automatic, so you don’t have to worry about missing them, and the amount of money that ends up in your checking account is free for you to spend or save as you wish. Also, utilities are included in the rent!

4. Events

When you’re a CP, you have access to all kinds of awesome events, most of which are based in CP housing! Attend a networking event in the Commons Clubroom to get a head start on your career, a seminar in Patterson Court’s classrooms to learn about the Disney company, a movie marathon in the Vista Way Learning Center to enjoy your favorite Disney films, or a welcome party in Chatham Square Field to meet your neighbors and dance the night away.

5. Service Center

Another thing I was worried about when I started my CP was not having anyone in the area I knew I could turn to for advice. Florida is about a thousand miles from home for me! But where I might not feel comfortable turning to a landlord, I had my housing property’s Service Center. That’s where you go with any questions you might have about anything, from maintenance requests, to networking help, to general life advice. The Service Center is there to help! They also have rentable cleaning supplies, and there’s always a plate of cookies on the desk.

6. Roommates

This might just be the best part about living in CP housing. You might be coming to Florida knowing nobody, but you’ll find yourself living with people from not only all over the nation but all over the world! Whether you choose to let the random number generator pick your roommates or you go searching through the various roommate-finding Facebook groups that pop up before every CP, you could be about to find some new lifelong friends. I know I was!

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Katz

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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