I think Janis Ian best captured the true essence of teenage dissatisfaction with part-time employment in the brilliant, cinematic masterpiece, Mean Girls. We all have had that one job (or jobs) that we just couldn’t stand, but still trudged through so we could pay for a phone, car bill, or our favorite fast food. Thankfully, those days are at least temporarily over for me, because I have found an amazing employment opportunity here at Arcadia.
As an Arcadia Ambassador, I get paid to do one of the most rewarding tasks a current student can do: show interested students how awesome this school really is. I repeat, the Admissions Office actually compensates me by transferring (much-needed) money into my checking account just to tell people about all the facets of Arcadia that I have come to love. At first, I would just annoy my friends by incessantly talking about the fun clubs I was in or the great professors I had. But now, I somehow get bills for all my babble – the good kind by the way. I feel a small pang of guilt for the seemingly gifted money, but hey, what self-respecting college student would question such a simple source of income?
Student ambassadors at Arcadia University.
My journey to landing this job was not like the normal application process. I work in the Admissions Office at the front desk; where I am responsible for checking in students, organizing the schedule, entering data, and various other tasks It also happens to be the same one the ambassadors work in. This allowed me to acquaint myself with many ambassadors as well as my supervisor, who helps hire new ambassadors. Observing the true nature of the ambassador job for a year really furthered my appreciation for their role at Arcadia.
I still enjoy my shifts behind the desk, but I developed an overwhelming urge to say, “hello” to the other side too. (Thanks, Adele) After speaking with Bri Miller, the Director of Training for the ambassador program, and my boss, Kathy Blum, they agreed to train me for the job over the summer since I was already in the office everyday anyways.
Starting this semester, I began my ephemeral career as a tour guide for Arcadia. This included my weekly tour time, working the open houses, and various other special events like conferences and information sessions. I show eager students around our campus and hope they fall in love with this school just as I have.
In the fall semester, we have 4 chances to interact with hundreds of high school students who have expressed interest in Arcadia. As a tour guide, my favorite events are the Open Houses. Starting the day at 7:15 is a bit too early for my taste, but I secretly love it because it means that I start my day with the traditional morning Dunkin’ run. There is an understated appeal to procuring low-quality coffee with friends and infusing an appropriate amount of caffeine into our bloodstreams.
Eventually, ambassadors congregate by the bleachers in the gym. I normally do not see many of them throughout the week, so getting to spend time with them for a whole day is another reason why I love these events. After the welcome ceremony and an academic information session, the ambassadors rendezvous in the Castle Dining Room for tours the rest of the day.
For almost a solid 4 hours, one of the student program directors, Brittanie Edstrom, strategically sends the tour guides out with a couple families at a time. This portion of the day is one of the most satisfying, as it allows me to directly interact with so many interesting students and their families.
Before coming to Arcadia and getting this job, I never used to be so outgoing. Eventually, after meeting many cool friends, supportive faculty members, and excited families, I’ve gotten used to talking more without feeling stressed. In fact, I really enjoy it. As cheesy as it may sound, this job propelled me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to land with a more confident mindset and assured demeanor.
Luckily, we have the “Knight and Squire” training program, where newly hired ambassadors (Squires) are matched with experienced ambassadors (Knights) for mentoring. Before unveiling the pairings, the Knights get together and make cards for the Squires to formally welcome them to the ambassador team. This year, we held the get-together in my apartment, mostly because many of us were too lazy to travel to campus.
But when it comes to working as an ambassador, there’s nothing lazy about us. I revel in the entertainment and chaos of the job. I have met new friends, continue to grow and develop my personality with each tour I give, and have learned more about Arcadia than I ever expected to know. After each tour, I can’t wait to meet more students who, after experiencing my love for the school, might actually decide to join me.