Tour guides of the world: at attention. Although the semester is winding down, the tours continue on. As you wait to start your shift, you look around and take in today’s motley crew. One anxious looking mom, a dad on his cell phone, some high school junior in his Sunday best, a girl texting, a little brother complaining, along with a slew of other characters. As you clip on your nametag, you take a deep breath and prepare for the firing squad of questions that you must tackle throughout the tour. “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” you repeat in your head as you turn to face the crew. Let the games begin.
You turn to introduce yourself, listing your name, major, concentration or minor, extracurricular activities, and basically why these people should give a care about what you have to say. You throw in a couple of jokes to test the waters and upon the half-hearted laughs you receive back, you tell yourself that today’s crew will not be so bad. As you start them off along the tour route you are immediately greeted by anxious mom number one and her “I don’t want to be here, I told you I want to go to a fashion institute” daughter. “So, this campus is safe? What’s the acceptance rate? Do you have a fashion club for [insert daughter’s name here]?”
Suddenly, as you’re walking along, you realize you must find some logical way to respond to all of these non-connected questions with a smile on your face. So you reassure anxious mom number one, and tell here it’s extremely safe, that you can check back with admissions on the exact percentage, and you’re not entirely sure about a fashion club, but we offer over 100 clubs on campus such as …
When anxious mom number one is satisfied, you continue on your merry way, explaining the relevance of the stops on your tour. This is when you start to notice the stragglers in the back, and must readjust your pace for the third time. As you walk backwards and point flight attendant style, you probably encounter someone from the back shouting, “Can’t hear you back here!” To which your head is screaming, “Then pick up your pace!”
Yet, in your tour friendly fashion, you adjust your voice to screaming in order to satisfy those in the back. When they nod in approval, you continue to elaborate on your school, and all that it has to offer. I’ve found that you’ll also receive questions from nosy parent number two such as, “So where else did you apply?” Followed up by, “Did you get in? Why didn’t you go there?” I’ve always struggled with these questions for two reasons. The first being — should I tell them? And the second being, “Is this some sort of trick?” Although it can sometimes be awkward to explain why you didn’t choose those other schools, I’ve always navigated around nosy parent number two by simply elaborating on why I chose my school. Plus … it’s kind of fun to leave a nosy question half answered.
After continuously preaching your love for the school, it’s time for the most fun stop of the tour: the demo dorm room. Here you’ll receive questions such as, “Is this all the space you get?” Or, “A communal bathroom? Is suite style housing offered to freshmen?” The truth lies in the pudding, people: this is a college dorm and not a five-star hotel. Personally, I find our dorms more than adequate in terms of space, and communal living helps promote socialization.
So with a smile, you explain that this is our school’s living arrangement for first-year students. This is also when you may receive a question from what I like to call frat dad number one, who, based off of a true story, may ask you, “So, are students allowed to have kegs in their rooms? Like for parties?” This may floor you at first, and chances are their kid will be mortified, but I’ve found the best way to handle frat dad is to remind him that no student under 21 is allowed to possess or consume alcohol. This also reassures aforementioned anxious mom number one.
As your tour winds down, and your crew has grown tired from all of the stairs and hustled walking, you thank them for viewing your school. It has been a wonderful journey, and you also thank them for their cooperation. Before you part ways, you ask for any final questions, and upon receiving a few more, you bid your crew adieu, and head back to admissions. Although some questions are tough to conquer, you are thankful for the opportunity to be a tour guide, and a representative for your school. It’s a privilege to talk up your school, and you have to admit: dealing with characters such as anxious mom number one, nosey mom number two, and frat dad make for some good stories.