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Phones Round Two

Caitlyn Durning

If you’ve been reading Inside ‘Dores for a while, you may remember this post that I wrote last summer after my experience as a receptionist. If you haven’t been reading Inside ‘Dores for long, allow me to sum up my experience for you: it wasn’t a great one.

When I first started working in Admissions this summer, I thought that my biggest task was going to be being trained to be a tour guide–and that was true.  But what I didn’t quite account for was the inevitable shift answering the phones.  After my last experience, I was a little gun-shy, and phones were NOT something I wanted to be assigned to.  I’ll be honest–my experience last summer was pretty bad–primarily because I was so uncomfortable answering the phone.  I wasn’t really trained in how to actually work the phones, just what to say when I answered them, and it’s not in my personality to just wing things, I really need to have new projects explained to me thoroughly so that I can ease into it without panic.  (Maybe not the best way to be sometimes, but I’m working on it!)  All that being said, I was extremely nervous that first day when my schedule said to be at the phones for three hours.  I sat down behind the front desk, quite terrified, and let the receptionist know that it was my first time and I needed to be trained on how to properly answer both the phones and the questions that prospective students ask when they call our office!  She proceeded to take about 10 minutes to run through all of the different functions of the somewhat intimidating phone–things like turning the phone on, transferring calls to the various officers, what button to push when you step away from the desk, etc.–as well as letting me know about the most common questions that are asked when someone calls the office and how to navigate the system we use to keep track of everyone’s information session and tour reservations!

I don't have a picture of anything phones-related, so please enjoy this photo of my co-workers Anna and Roo with an adorable puppy.

After getting through all that, she looked at me, saw terror written all over my face, and then proceeded to tell me to pretty please CALM DOWN because she would be right there next to me if I needed any help with any calls. (Her desk is quite literally three feet away from where student workers answer phones.)  I managed to get through that first shift at the front desk unscathed, and two months later, being assigned to phones is one of my favorite things!  This summer has really lessened my (somewhat irrational) fear of answering the phone, and it’s helped me to learn so much more about the Office of Undergraduate Admissions here at Vanderbilt–despite having worked here for two years now, there’s always more to learn!  (And I’ll be forever grateful for this job giving me some real-life skills that I seriously needed to master.  Thanks, OUA!)

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