Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodbye Visitor Relations, It's Been Swell!

Today marks the end of an era, the last day at my first job.

In August of 2005, I wandered my way to my fist job interview at the Visitor Center on campus. I met my boss, Janey, not even realizing she'd later become my momma away from home. We talked all about the position and the responsibilities of being a tour guide on campus. I don't think I'd ever taken anything more seriously in my entire life.

I loved this job. I had a great time visiting with students and parents, telling them why the school was fantastic, giving them tidbits of info about programs, and genuinely visiting with them about college life. The job could be extremely rewarding and extremely stressful at times. People always think that's funny when I tell them that. How can being a tour guide be stressful?! Well, that's because the program goes above and beyond the standard tour.

Every visit was carefully put together so a student had their own personalized day. Calling professors, scheduling classes, contacting financial aid, finding a counselor to lunch with took a great deal of time and puzzle piecing together. We also had a lot of paper work to keep up. After all, recruitment is how colleges continue to survive. What is a college without its students? I had a big responsibility as a Gold Star Ambassador.

I made great friends with a number of counselors including my own, Rob. If Janey had been my momma away from home then Rob had to be the big brother I never had. He kept tabs on and encouraged me every step of the way. I would sit in Abby's office and chat about life, entertain Janelle with my expressive dance moves, visit with Brett about his adorable girls and listen carefully while Ade offered up free advice.

So many of these counselors have moved on and sweet ones have taken their place. There's Christina, Claire, Kendall, Ashley, the Michelle's and our token men, Joel and Jason.  It's been an incredible honor to have made friends with all of these folks and I will miss this supportive group.

Speaking of friends, it was Visitor Relations (Services) that brought me to my best friend, Esther. Had it not been for this job, I met never have found this dear friend of mine and what a loss that would have been. Esther and I had quite a bit of fun with this job. We hosted our own "staff meetings" at a back work area--Janey, I know you know we were really talking about boys, the weekend's drama, and what scandal happened rather than discussing actual visits.


Just a typical work day for us.

There are so many other great kids that passed through here and I feel so lucky to have had a job with the nicest people. There really was never a dull moment. I ran our glorified golf cart (aka. The Shuttle) into a bench once. And then a parked car. Visitors now and again wander off and are deemed '"lost." I've shown a strangers room before when our show room key didn't work--you learn to improvise a lot of the time. There's the occasional homeless person seeking a doctorate program--just use the right code word if you call security. I've can honestly say I've given tours in a snow storm (that happened twice). There's probably a thousand more stories to tell including good things that happened. For a long time I kept emails from past visitors that had a great time or thanked us for the lovely experience. Those kinds of things gave me the warm and fuzzies.


I gave my last official tour the Friday before my graduation from undergrad. Happily it was to my family. I've given a few others since, but mostly my work was settled in a back office, but I still consider myself a Gold Star Ambassador. I'm so proud to have worn that blue polo.

To the folks in Admissions, all the counselors, past and present, every kid who has worn a blue polo, and to my dear, sweet Janey, it has been a pleasure! Thank you for five and half wonderful years!!

4 comments:

  1. Julie, you are the BEST. I look at you and I feel so honored that I could play a small part if helping to shape your journey. I am SO proud of who you are and the woman you've become. My little baby is all grownzed up! (tears)

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  2. Love you fav!! Oh, and how I miss those staff meetings of ours:)

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  3. You know *sniff* we made it through yesterday with minimal tears. *sniff*

    Love you so much! :)

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  4. OCU was SO lucky to have you! You made countless students and parents feel so welcome and at home. Anytime you were the one scheduled to take one of my students on a tour, I knew, without a doubt, they were in great hands. Thanks for your hard work...it was truly appreciated by this former admissions counselor! Best of luck in all that you do...I know it will be great!

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