My freshman year, I found out that Undergraduate Admissions was hiring new tour guides through a friend who worked there. After spending the entirety of my first semester at UCF tirelessly searching for a job, I was excited about the opportunity to give tours of UCF (and get paid for it). I applied, interviewed and got the job. After a few weeks of training, I was off giving prospective students tours of the university on my own and learning so much in the process.
Giving tours as a freshman, I was still pretty new to the school, and I honestly didn’t know a whole lot. My first few weeks as an Ambassador were definitely a learning period, as I tried to learn everything there was to know about UCF. I eventually realized that I don’t actually have to know everything, but rather just feel comfortable sharing my experiences as a student. The students and families that come on our tours care about facts and figures, but they mostly want to understand what living in Orlando is like and what it means to be a UCF student. I’ve gotten to talk to people from all over the U.S., and we even get groups visiting from other countries. I’m incredibly proud of where I go to school, and I have so much fun showing it off to these people from all over.
Knowing that I’m the first impression of the university for many people adds a little pressure, but it also pushes me to bring energy and excitement into each tour I give. The best feeling is when a tour ends and a prospective student comes up to tell me that I made UCF their first-choice school, or that the tour helped them make their final decision. Looking back on my own college search, I remember how important the touring experience was and how my impression of the tour guide impacted my impression of the student body. I know that UCF has the most welcoming and accepting environment for its students, and I make sure that everyone who comes on my tours gets that impression.
More than anything, being an Ambassador has helped me feel connected to the rest of Knight Nation. It’s no secret that UCF is a large school (one of the largest, to be exact), and it can be hard to find your place at first. I found my place in tours and giving back to a school that has given me so much. And, after hours and hours of talking up the school and showing off the best parts of the university, I’ve grown to appreciate all the little things a lot more and form a unique love for my peers. I’m proud to go to a school alongside so many creative, intelligent and passionate people. I’m fortunate enough to not only share my thoughts and experiences with high school students on their college journey, but to be a part of their college journey.