I don’t even know where to begin! 2022 has been one big roller coaster ride for me. It started on a high note because I bought Deep Purple’s Burn (1974) on CD at Hungry Ear Records in early January. Then, I had to leave it and all my other CDs behind in mid-March because I moved to Florida to do the Disney College Program (DCP).
Doing the DCP was a dream of mine since my freshman year of college, maybe even earlier than that. But I was a different person back then. At the time, I wanted to do social media for Disney and spend the rest of my life working for The Walt Disney Company. When I started my DCP in March 2022, however, I already gave up my dream of working for Disney and started pursuing a career as a writer instead. I was already rebellious and opinionated back then, but I was even more opinionated when I started my DCP. And that, my friends, got me into trouble numerous times this year.
Let me start with the music highlights. During the first week of March, I finally bought Bon Jovi’s The Circle (2009) on CD at Hungry Ear Records in Kakaʻako; “Bullet” is such an underrated song by the band. I also purchased Suzi Quatro’s The Rock Box 1973-1979 in late June. Quatro played a big part in my love for rock ‘n’ roll and she gave me an appreciation for bass players. 2022 was a great year for me to discover new bands. I got into Rival Sons, Black Sabbath, Overkill, Cinderella, and a few others that you can read about in this post here.
The biggest music-related highlight of 2022, in my opinion, however, would have to be the release of Def Leppard’s Diamond Star Halos album. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’d know that Def Leppard is my favorite band of all time. So, when I found out this past March that the band was going to release a new studio album on May 27, I was pumped! This was my first new Def Leppard album since I became a fan of the band in 2019. Even though I wasn’t wowed by Diamond Star Halos, I don’t hate it and some of the songs are growing on me.
The non-music-related highlights of 2022 have a lot to do with Disney, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. When my parents took me to Florida to get me settled for the DCP, we went to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and my first time riding the ‘VelociCoaster’ was with my dad, and that was quite a bonding moment! That’s probably my favorite ride in the whole park. In April, I went to Magic Kingdom for the first time since I was five; I felt like I was in heaven the entire day. Another non-music-related highlight was going to the Disney theme parks by myself.
One of the perks of going to the parks alone was rope dropping Magic Kingdom. Rope dropping is entering a park as soon as it opens and there’s literally a rope blocking you from entering the park until that time comes. Rope dropping Magic Kingdom was so much fun because I got to do popular attractions like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Jungle Cruise,’ ‘Splash Mountain,’ ‘Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,’ and ‘The Haunted Mansion’ in less than two hours. Rope dropping a park is hard work because you have to get up super early. Unfortunately, as my program went on and work took a toll on me, I hadn’t rope dropped since early October.
Another non-music-related highlight of 2022 was all the friends I’ve made on my program. I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful people on my program because I’ve never lived on my own before and I had no idea what I was doing. Will I ever see them again when I leave Florida? Who knows! But, I’ll always have the memories of going to the Disney theme parks with them, messaging them on Facebook Messenger and Instagram, and doing other fun adventures together.
I even got to spend more time with my friend from the Disney Ohana Club, and actually, we got closer because we hung out so much on my program. She’s had a lot of life experience too, so I’m very grateful for her advice and her guiding me along my crazy journey in the real world. Plus, some of my happiest moments on my DCP were with her: Earidescent Evenings, breakfast at Ohana, dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table, riding all of the big roller coasters at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and so much more! But most importantly, whenever I put myself down, she’s there to remind me that I’m worth it.
Now that I’ve gone over the highlights of 2022, let me go over the negatives of 2022. First of all, I didn’t become best friends with my roommates like they showed in other Disney College Program vlogs. But, it was my fault for believing that nonsense because everything is not what it seems. Second of all, I failed my placement test at Alien Swirling Saucers, so Disney had to move me to a new job role. I’m thankful for my concierge role at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, but it kind of sucks because the people at Alien Swirling Saucers were really nice and a lot of fun.
That brings me into my next downside: I had trouble fitting in with my co-workers at the Polynesian Village Resort. I still have trouble fitting in with them; it takes a lot of courage in me just to walk up to someone at work and say hello to them. To make matters worse, I’m not the greatest concierge in the world. I won’t get into details, but customer service isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t fit my strong personality and my strong personality definitely got me into trouble with my co-workers and my job.
The biggest negative of 2022, however, would have to be losing myself. The longer I stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort, the more insecure I felt about myself. I was surrounded by all of these people who were so professional in front of the guests and were good at controlling their emotions, while I was a nervous wreck because I wasn’t a very good concierge. And because I struggled to make friends at work, I grew attached to the few people that were nice to me and they eventually either left the Polynesian Village Resort or I drove them away with my clinginess.
I’m not proud of the person I became on my DCP. As mentioned in my I Turned 24 at Disney World! post, I’m the type of person that doesn’t care about what other people think. But I tried so hard to make my coworkers like me and when I couldn’t do that, I became “depressed.” It got to a point where I didn’t even want to go to work anymore and I just wanted to go back home to Hawaii. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t had much face-to-face interaction in two years because of the pandemic, but my social skills were horrible. Because of my terrible social skills, it led me to do stupid things that I regret to this day.
But, you know what, I have to move on. I have to learn to forgive myself and not let fear get the best of me. It’s definitely not easy doing so, but what good is life, if everyday is easy? I lost my identity, but I’m slowly finding it again, and I believe my time here in Florida has made me stronger as a person. I’m still going to be the person that doesn’t care about what people think, but I’m also going to be smarter about my actions by not being as impulsive.
I’ve pretty much covered everything, though. I covered the upsides of 2022 and I covered the downsides of 2022. Good or bad, I’m grateful for this year because it taught me a lot about life and how the world works. Doing the Disney College Program and extending till January definitely took time away from me to gain experience as a writer, but a co-worker once told me that all experience is important and he was right about that. Being a concierge helped me improve my verbal communication skills and problem-solving skills.
Though 2022 was another great year, I am ready to kiss it goodbye and say hello to 2023. I read that Rival Sons, Overkill, and Metallica are releasing new studio albums in 2023; and I am pumped! So, bring on the new year, people!
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Comment below your favorite memory from 2022!
Take care and see ya real soon!