Chapman University

Work and Study: Tired Tour Guides

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By: Garrett Addison, Admission Counselor, Chapman University

You know you’ve been there. Studying for your Calculus mid-term, putting together the song & dance routine for Greek Week, and mentally reminding yourself you need to eat lunch. Oh and don’t forget your tour tomorrow.

Students are stretched thin with their involvements and academics; it’s the nature of the beast. The question, though, is how to best encourage them to keep focus on tours or interviews. As much as I’d like to speak to my experiences, I figured it would be better having those doing the work tell us what they’re looking for. I’ve compiled a short list from tour guides at Chapman University seeing what helps them during these more stressful parts of the semester and for some fun ways to incorporate those feelings into their tours:

  1. Put Yourself in Our Shoes – We love giving tours; we wouldn’t work for the office if we didn’t. But don’t forget that we are students here too, and that will usually come before everything else. We barely have time for ourselves, so brush off the small missteps during this time. Please.
  2. Staff or BFFs? – Whether I’m stressed about life, volunteer programming, or school I love chatting to the counselors. They always hear me out and have wise words to alleviate my stress. Since we are close in age (sometimes), they understand and empathize with how stressful collegiate life can be. I also feel a great deal of support from my fellow student guides. I have found some of my best friends through working in the Office of Admission and I can always lean on them.
  3. Tours as Therapy – I try to focus my tours as my midday meditation. I drop everything else that’s going on and put 100% of my attention to the guests and my information. It’s become my therapy when I’m feeling super stressed (and I’ve even picked up extra tours just to get a little more clam in my day).
  4. Recharge and Refocus – Sometimes when I have a super busy and stressful day ahead of me, I feel as though I’m not in the mood to give a tour or I worry that I won’t give it my all. However, once I head out and get moving across campus, the fresh air and brisk walking gets my mind off of my to-do list for 90 minutes. It’s a way to recharge and focus on one activity for a small window of time. Not to mention meeting families and learning how excited students are about Chapman is always reenergizing and rewarding.
  5. Speak Up – My rule of thumb is never be too proud to ask for help! I know it feels like everyone has their life together on the outside, but after 4 years of college (3 years of being a tour guide), I have learned that everyone at one time or another gets overwhelmed. During this time make sure to let people know how you are feeling as well as listen to what your body is telling you!
  6. Identity Crisis – I gave a tour last week where I said I was a sophomore, junior, and senior at different points. Nobody corrected me until, after saying I was a senior, a parent asked if it was mid-term season. We all had a good life (and I had an identity crisis… It was fine).
  7. Loopy Guides are the Best Guides – Honestly I just become a goober and embrace how loopy I am. I’ll sometimes say the same word multiple times in a few minutes, stutter, or lose my train of thought, but then I just call myself out on it publicly and joke about it. For some weird reason, everyone seems to dig it and enjoy themselves/laugh more than on my regular tours.

All in all, let your guides use their stress toward their tours! It’ll make them feel better and have your guests knowing they’re talking with a real student. Be flexible if they become overwhelmed. And always, always, make sure to check-in with them.

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