Welcome and congrats!
You've basically hit the nail on the head with the things people tend to modify with these cars. Short shifter and bushings (lots of people like the SPT, others swear by aftermarket companies who shorten the throw significantly more).
I've been told that sways and endlinks make a world of difference in the handling.
A stage 1 tune will even out the power delivery and give a noticeable bump. Stage 2 is also just a tune with the addition of a downpipe.
Good luck with the wait!