During my junior year of college, I applied to be a campus tour guide. I initially wanted this job because of the convenience aspect–it was located right on campus, the hours were flexible enough to accommodate my classes and other commitments, and it involved talking to others about my life and college experience (which was something I already did all the time!). However, this part-time job also provided me with numerous skills and experiences that set me up for success as I finished my degree and started my professional career in marketing! These are the top 3 skills that I gained from being a campus tour guide that I still use in my daily life:
- Public Speaking: As a tour guide, I needed to speak in front of groups of strangers multiple times a day. This was pretty nerve-wracking for me initially, but over time I grew more confident in myself and could talk in front of large groups very easily. I learned how to project my voice better and improved my delivery of content and jokes. I was almost immediately able to put this skill to use as I finished my undergraduate degree and started my master’s, because class presentations have been a breeze! Now, as a professional, I also apply my public speaking skills to better communicate my ideas in meetings. This was especially helpful when I was starting my first job, because I do not think I would have had the confidence to speak up in large groups had I not spent months honing my public speaking skills as a tour guide!
- Time Management: Campus tours have time limits that tour guides need to stay under. Staying within a time limit can be tricky because Binghamton is a huge campus and there is so much to talk about, especially if parents and potential students are asking a lot of questions. This job taught me the importance of being mindful of time constraints and helped me to learn how to prioritize to make sure the most important topics are covered. This is something that I need to do all the time in my current role! My time management skills allow me to meet important deadlines and make strong judgment calls about what tasks can be left for another day.
- Grace Under Pressure: Sometimes, parents and potential students would ask tough questions on tours that either I did not know the answer to or that I was uncomfortable answering. Initially, this was stressful for me and it would knock me off my game for the rest of the tour. But after a little while, I learned how to keep going after a difficult question and did not let it get to me. This is a skill that I use very often in my daily life. Things do not always go well–especially since I am relatively new in my current role and am still learning a lot. Because of my previous experiences as a tour guide, I find that I am better able to manage things that might throw me off. I can push on from mistakes easier and instead use them as a learning experience!