Last night, some good friends of mine surprised me with an ice cream cake that said “Congratulations, Kristy!” As I sat down, they began singing, “Happy ‘real job’ to you, happy ‘real job’ to you!”
I was touched by the moment. Mostly, I was tickled that my friends had surprised me with this, but on top of that I reminded myself that I had finally achieved my first “real job,” which I had been coveting for months. (A “real job” is a job that is a semi-permanent, full-time, salaried position doing something I love, rather than the part-time or one-time gigs I had been balancing on top of my studies for the past 4 years.)
Here’s where I’d post a picture of the cake if I had one, but as I was unprepared for the surprise cake I didn’t have my handy DSLR available. So, I’ll describe it.
A chocolate cookie crumble separated the classic milk chocolate base and the creamy vanilla layer. Icing coated nearly all of the top of the cake. And wedged between “Congratulations” and “Kristy” was the image of Mickey Mouse wearing ice skates.
That’s right. My “real job” is working for Disney on Ice as a figure skater for the 2012-2013 “Dare to Dream” tour.
Perhaps a more appropriate term is “dream job.”
Now, my graduation ceremony is in three days. Four years ago I thought I’d sit at the ceremony yearning for a “real job” at a marketing firm or a broadcasting station. Instead, I have something better. I have the job of which I’ve been dreaming for a dozen years while lacing up my skates, nursing bruises from skating-related falls, and practicing an element just one more time. And though it has nothing to do with the diploma for which I shed figurative blood for four years, I couldn’t be happier.
That being said, I’m still filled with anxiety. Disney on Ice travels to a new city every few days. In three weeks I need to fly to Mexico from New York and I’ve never even traveled alone before. And then there are the what-ifs: What if I break my leg during the first week of rehearsals? What if I get lost between Texas and Oklahoma? What if the homesickness drives me insane? Even minor issues like re-training myself to write with American spellings instead of Canadian spellings are tripping me up.
Yet even with these worries, I’m ready for the new challenge. I still plan to freelance articles and/or monitor social media channels virtually for companies when I can. But for now, I’m sharpening my skates to prepare for my first — and hopefully not last — “real job.”