The Ins and Outs of Being a Campus Tour Guide

People always ask me if it’s hard to walk backwards. My answer: Yes! But I love it and I love giving campus tours. I’m a campus tour guide, and we call ourselves the Meridians. It is an immense honor, especially after I found out that there are over 100 students applying every cycle, and only around 20 are selected after a written application, interview, and public presentation.

A tour group walking by Wallis Hall

Being a Meridian has been amazing. I get the opportunity to meet eager students every week, many of whom will eventually become a part of the Yellowjacket family. The prospect of future students enjoying everything this beautiful campus has offered me over the past four years is so exciting. I also get to staff admitted-student open-house days, where accepted students get to visit the campus, hear from current students, and meet with academic departments and faculty. I also get some free food here and there; yes, the perks make the job even sweeter. And one of my favorite aspects of the job are the questions I get asked while giving tours.

Here are some of my *funnier* FAQs:

What is your funniest tour guide moment?
On our tours we show a real-life dorm room, not one that the school has staged for the purpose of the tour. On the morning tours, as you can imagine, we do run into students just barely getting out of bed as we walk through the hallway (we are very quiet so we don’t wake anyone up)! Anyways, it is pretty funny when you have the student half awake slugging to the bathroom because they just don’t expect a tour to be there. We always seem to catch our students off-guard! I’d like to think we’re helping them by pepping them up in the morning a little bit!

Is it hard to walk backwards?
Yes, and I have slipped in the snow (which is very embarrassing) but you get used to it. It’s also a lot easier to talk to large groups when you’re walking backwards since your voice carries to them.

Does the school tell you to lie?
Nope. In fact, we’re encouraged to be very honest during our tours! My friends think I have to memorize some over-the-top positive script and that’s not true. We are honest.

What are the parties like?
Look, students do turn 21 in college and so there are certain dorms in which drinking is allowed. But we do have campus security and laws are strictly enforced. People forget that we follow laws on campus, and you will get in trouble if you don’t!

What do you dislike about the U of R?
Hmm… I’m not sure if this counts but I’d love to see a few things added to the U of R: a law school, dental school, and pharmacy school. I think those are very important graduate programs our school could benefit from. We have the infrastructure, in my opinion, for each of those three schools!

About the author

Alap Patel

I'm a member of the Class of 2015 and I'm from California. I'm pre-med with a major in health, behavior, and society and a minor in legal studies. I was also accepted into the Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program. I am on the UR Bhangra Team and in Delta Upsilon fraternity.

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