Christina Bignotti is the Marketing/Front of House Intern at Gulfshore Playhouse.
It seems like yesterday I was driving down to Naples with my parents to move into my apartment. A million thoughts were running through my head about my internship at Gulfshore Playhouse. What would my responsibilities be? What would the staff be like? Will I make friends? Will I ever get used to this incredible heat?
A hurricane evacuation and a whirlwind of a season later, here I am, packing up my apartment to make the long drive back home to Atlanta. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and working hard.
I never thought I could grow and learn so much about myself in a year. As I reflect on what I’ve learned in my first year as an “adult”, a few thoughts come to mind that I will carry with me as I move into the future.
1. Living somewhere new can be freeing.
It’s a cool feeling to move to a place where you know absolutely no one. Transitioning from a college town where I couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone I knew to a bigger city like Naples gave me a new sense of freedom I wasn’t expecting. This isn’t to say it didn’t come with challenges. Meeting new people was hard at times, but I am so thankful for my lovely coworkers and the friends I’ve made along the way for making Naples feel more like home.
2. Work is what you make it.
As an intern fresh out of college, I was very eager to please and excited to learn upon my arrival at Gulfshore Playhouse. I was also super serious which would lead to unnecessary stress at times. As my time here progressed, I learned to remind myself that there is no need to stress over the little things and it’s better to go with the flow! The work at Gulfshore Playhouse has been so rewarding and it became even more fun when I decided not to sweat the small stuff.
3. Make time for balance.
Life gets busy. I’ve gone from having three classes a day (at most) to a balancing act between work, keeping things in order at home, and living on a budget. It’s very easy to get swept up by my to-do list and not make time for hobbies and things I enjoy. But sometimes you need a night out with friends or a trip to Panera on your lunch break. I’ve learned to make time for the little joys in life and not beat myself up for taking advantage of them!
4. Life starts outside of your comfort zone.
It’s a saying we’ve all heard a million times, but it’s so true. Whether at work or in life, doing things we are not comfortable with is the only way we can grow. I was always told to say “Yes, and…” in my acting classes, but the saying is just as applicable to real life. I now try to say yes to projects I’ve never done before and to places I’ve never been. It has made life quite the adventure.
5. The unknown is exhilarating.
While I don’t know what I’ll be doing once I return to Atlanta, it excites me not to know. I love the feeling that anything can happen. My experience at Gulfshore Playhouse is the reason why I am able to approach this next chapter in my life with such open arms. I came here not knowing anyone or what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.
So thank you, Gulfshore Playhouse! I hope to return to visit one day – hopefully when you’re in your brand new home! This wonderful year filled with unforgettable experiences and people has been a gift and I will be forever grateful for it.