Being a tour guide comes with a lot of commitment and sentiment. But, in my experience, training to be a tour guide also comes with the feeling that you’re training to be in the Secret Service, as you have to shadow multiple tours, sit in on informations sessions, meet with your tour guiding mentor, learn the ambassador manual, learn the tour route and talking points, walk the tour route with your mentor, go on a co-guided tour, go to several training sessions, and finally, go on an evaluative tour. Once you let go of the deep anxieties about time management during this stressful process, training to be a tour guide can result in its own outburst of emotion.
First, sitting in on a tour brings back strong recollections of possibly the hardest decision in one’s life, choosing a college. *Shivers* Nevermind remembering how much the outfit you wore on college tours felt like the only important thing in your life, or how embarrassed you were when your parents asked the tour guide questions, actually trying to decide on a school can be stressful enough to make someone pull out all of the hair in their eyebrows (yes, that did happen). Watching all of the little sproglets eagerly hang on to each word of the information session is almost touched with bittersweet nostalgia, but mostly it just makes you so happy that time in your life is over.
Second, watching the cheesy introduction video of all the smiling faces and people looking so thrilled to be studying makes you realize that a lot of what you were lead to believe was a damned lie. Not all of your teachers are going to bring you lasagna, let alone know your name. Your friends and you won’t have the time to constantly be picnicking on the Great Lawn. You won’t automatically find an internship as soon as you walk through the doors of Hiatt. And you definitely won’t always be fully rested and ready to learn.
But mostly, revisiting and rehearing all of the things that you love about your school makes you so proud and excited to show it off to others on your own tours. Hearing all of the hard work put in and the adversity faced by those who founded this school, walking by the friends you’ve made here, and even walking past that one study spot that sometimes feels like your personal hell, reaffirms that this is really the only place for you. You did it, it’s over, the decision is made, and you made the right one. Now you get to help others make theirs.