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Tour Guide Transition

Caitlyn Durning

When working in admissions during the school year, my responsibilities consist primarily of answering emails and the occasional project for an admissions officer.  During the summer, I had those responsibilities as well as answering phones and giving tours.  Throughout my time at Vanderbilt, I never really thought about applying to be a tour guide.  I had been a tour guide for my high school, but to be honest, the idea of doing it at Vanderbilt was a little bit more than slightly terrifying.  At the beginning of this summer, for me, tour guiding was a means to an end–I really wanted to work in admissions, and that was part of the package.

When the summer started, the thought of giving a tour solo made me ridiculously anxious. (Just ask Victoria.) As we slowly progressed from shadowing tours, to co-leading them, to giving them solo, my anxiety level only increased.  After shadowing about seven tours, those of us working in admissions that weren’t already guides had an afternoon of tour guide training, and then it was on to co-leading.  And after that, it was time to go solo.  My first tour was a blur, and I was really nervous, but it went pretty well and I lived to tell the tale (Obviously, since I’m writing this blog post!).  Thanks to giving one to two tours a day, I quickly became acclimated to giving tours and telling families all about what makes Vanderbilt so great.

Victoria (also now a full time guide) and I at Bobbie's Dairy Dip this summer, after a long day of giving tours!

As the summer went by, I found myself enjoying my tours more and more, and near the end of the summer I decided that I wanted to continue to give tours throughout my last year at Vanderbilt and I had the chance to apply to continue being a guide–and so I did, and I got it!  I’m now a full-time tour guide, and I am so excited to get back in the swing of things and start giving tours again very soon! As I’ve gone through my time at Vanderbilt, my confidence in my decision to go to school here has only grown.  I fall in love with the campus and the people and Nashville and so many other things over and over, and I love having the chance to help high school students to discover what a truly amazing place Vanderbilt is.  If you come to Nashville and visit campus, I just might be your tour guide!

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