When I came to UMass for the first time, I was already an admitted student and there was only a week until classes started. The first time I’d seen the UMass campus was during my international student orientation because, like a lot of other international students, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit campus and see if I liked the ‘vibe.’ Traveling in from Nigeria would’ve meant spending thousands of dollars for a day’s visit to campus, so I had to make do with Googling “UMass Amherst campus prettiest spots” and convince myself that I made the right decision.
This decision may come as a shock to a lot of students who come to campus-visit days all over the country (or state) because so many students base their decisions on how they feel they would fit into a particular campus. This wasn’t a concept that I was familiar with and understood, until a month ago when I joined the UMass Tour Guide family.
When you see the kind of love and effort put into the work by the tour guides at our school, it will come as no surprise that UMass Amherst gets more students than it can possibly handle every year. Each tour is given with such precision, enthusiasm, and pride, that I now understand why young high schoolers are excited to attend a big state school. While shadowing my amazing mentor on her tours, I started to pick up on things that I didn’t even know about the UMass campus.
It’s more than just showing a group of 20-50 people your favorite study spots on campus. Giving a tour is like sharing a little chunk of your college experience with prospective students and their families. It subconsciously instills a sense of pride when you begin to talk about the best parts of UMass, if you didn’t know them already: gushing about (shameless plug) the schools’ number one dining and being National Champions of hockey about twice every week will do that to you!
Apart from learning how to perfect your public speaking skills and answering the many, many questions of concerned parents, it is one of the best ways I found on campus to get involved with the community. I know that there are upwards of 80 tour guides that I currently work with and I would not trade our family for ANYTHING else. It’s the most supportive, kind, and encouraging group of people that will always be there for you both when you fall and when you stand tall. They will be there to teach you the tricks of the trade that they picked up along the way.
The semester-long process of recruiting is all worth it because they make sure they select the best of the best, and then you get to work with that very best of the best. If you feel like you have what it takes to be a part of this amazing family, keep an eye out for applications and we will see you at the interviews!