Updated: Oct 19
My two older sisters attended college in the south -- the oldest at Belmont University in Nashville, and the second at SCAD in Georgia. Visiting them on their fun southern campuses with the warm weather, new city feel, and proximity to the beach, I was convinced I wanted to go out of state for college and end up somewhere in the SEC. So, when the time came for me to start planning my campus visits, my dad mapped out a “tour de south.” We ended up spending several days driving through Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina checking out different universities. That moment in time is one of my very favorite memories -- being in the southern sun and driving with the windows down and music up was an immaculate vibe.
But, the part I really loved was walking around campus with a tour guide. I loved seeing how each tour was conducted at these different colleges -- the organizational aspect, being able to walk in and see the dorms, and seeing the current students walking around beside us. The best part, though, was the liveliness, wisdom, and school spirit of the tour guides. My favorite tour experience to this day was the tour I went on at UK in the spring of my senior year of high school.
Due to my preconceived idea that I wanted to go out of state for college, I actually didn’t end up coming on a UK tour until much later than I should have. But, that experience ultimately convinced me to come here. It was so clear to me that the tour guides were in love with the school, much more so than any other college’s tour guides. That, paired with their genuine interest in answering any and all my questions, was such a huge factor in my college decision. It set UK apart from all other colleges in the best way and ultimately convinced me that I’d like to be a tour guide myself.
Spring of my freshman year I did just that. I went through the Visitor Center online application process, had my in-person interview, and got hired. Through the whole process of training to be a certified tour guide, I’ve learned so much about UK that I thought I’d never know, which has confirmed that I am certainly where I am meant to be. My favorite part of giving tours is seeing the excitement in the prospective students. Knowing that they’re feeling anxious and happy and confused all at once reminds me of my touring days when I was on the other side of things. I think back to how influential my tours were in my decision-making process and feel blessed that I’m able to play a part in that for these prospective students.
To all of you college students: If you are at all interested in becoming a campus tour guide, do it! It is one of the best decisions I’ve made in college thus far and in my (incredibly biased) opinion, the very best on-campus job.