Do you like… talking to high schoolers? Does your little heart thrill with delight… when walking backwards?

Tours. We’ve got them! We sure would like you to give them — in fact, you can apply today to join the Meridian cohort. But today, I’ll take the more obvious route and share my tips and tricks as a seasoned player of follow-the-leader. Here’s how you, an average student attending the University, can help me do my job by not being so gosh-darn dense. I’ve met birds with a better sense of when to step out of my way.

First off: Yes, seeing a tour is weird. I get it, you’re in Gleason researching My Little Pony fanart, ostensibly for a class, when a mixed group of children and the elderly (averaging out at 50) come awkwardly shuffling in after a peppy college kid running on caffeine, five hours of sleep, and enough enthusiasm to run a small mine in pre-industrial Appalachia. Suddenly, facts are being spit at you: “Did you know that this space is regularly renovated according to student input? Those reservable rooms are great for studying. I once saw a Chem major spontaneously combust in the Quiet Zone…” and you’re not here for it. Does it help that I’m sorry for projecting with all that I can? Well, insofar as I’m sorry for getting paid for my gainful employment, so not at all, really.

But I do have to ask that you do me the kindness of acting like a normal human being. I can talk a good game about student life, but if you’re gonna walk up and act decrepit, I can and will hunt you down and maim you. I couldn’t care less about the chorus of Happy birthdays! that inevitably follows in my wake across Eastman Quad, but if you’re going to ask me directions to flippin’ Hutch when I’m trying to explain swipe access, you’re not going to live to see another sunrise. First-years get no hall passes. You see a person guiding a tour? LEAVE THEM TO IT!

In fact, all I ask of you is that you ignore me to the best of your ability. Don’t comment on the tour. Don’t apologize for cutting through. We exist in superimposed parallel directions, and the most gracious thing you can do is pretend to be the little aquarium fishy that I’m trying to see you as in order to aid in my disassociation. Does it sadden you that I must twitch and suppress my greetings each time I see a person on this campus that I know, which is all of the time, every single freaking time? This school is too small. Do me a favor and fade into the background. If you’re worth remembering, I’ll text you later.

To the person who makes a point to yell out that you like my hair every time you see me on tour, screw you. (The dye is months old and I don’t get why that’s funny.) To the person who once ran into me and circled around back to wave obnoxiously a second time, I hope you rot in hell. To my mid-forties supervisor, from my other job no less, who belted out my name and waved, I did not think we had that kind of relationship. Thank you, friend.

And now, some rapid-fire tips:

  • If you see a group going through the stone walls near the GAC, odds are they’re thirty seconds in either direction from asking the kids to guess our pride and joy, UR’s one D1 sport. Shout “SQUASHsquashsquashsquashSQUASHsquash” and continue on with your day.
  • Complain loudly about the school and its faculty, but for every namedrop you have to verbally spell out their full @edu contact info, so parents can send them nice inquisitive emails. No one will ever be mad at you for this!
  • If you hate me that much, simply burrow into the engineering quad sewers between 10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. You can smell as lovely as your personality would suggest.

Much love, 

A University Employee & Tour Enthusiast

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