Seeing the herds of casually dressed adults and bright-eyed youngsters making their way through campus, I feel threatened. I don’t like these people. They bother me. I want to see them gone.
These packs of people are tour groups, you see, and those taking them are potential students. Some are kids who have been accepted and are making their decision whether to attend. Some think this might be a good place for them and want to learn more. Am I the only person that thinks these people should not be encouraged to come here?
Every year there is a net gain of about two or three hundred students to this already crowded school, meaning hundreds more enter the school every year than leave. Every year skateboarding through campus becomes more like a diabolical obstacle course, where confused pedestrians can’t make up their minds whether to get out of my way or move into my path like a football defender.
Being proactive, I have decided to stop griping and do something about it – to sabotage the Admissions Dept. and its goal of populating my school to maximum capacity. This year I serve as tour guide.
Most tour guides go into their jobs with the purpose of being a welcoming and informative presence for these people. My goal is to make them feel that attending this school would be a bad idea. I do whatever I can to accomplish this.
Common threads runs through each tour group I get. For example, there’s the question: “Is UCSB a party school?” I don’t know where people got this idea. Maybe it was the Rolling Stone article earlier this year that depicted us as Babylon University. Maybe it’s the large groups of frat boys downing pitchers outside of Sam’s in the middle of the afternoon. Whatever the source, my aim is to either reinforce or dismiss this reputation, depending on whom I’m talking to.
To the regular-looking prospectives, the ones that look like they had some good times in high school and want to expand this trend in college, my job is to disappoint. “No, no, no,” I tell them with a laugh. “I don’t know how that rumor got started. Students here read like it’s going out of style! Wooo doggies, do they read! An author I’m really into these days is David Foster Wallace, how ’bout you?”
They never answer that question, either because they’re busy reassessing their previously held views of this place or because recreational reading – and a person that does such a thing -is repelling to them.
To parents or brainy-looking prospectives, I retool my response to the party question. I’ve found that the best approach is to come across like a camp counselor telling ghost stories or a preacher talking about hell. I do this by telling the truth for the most part, mainly relating experiences and sights from when I lived in the middle of Del Playa Drive last year.
I do well with other questions as well. When asked what makes this school better than the other UCs, the only thing I tell them is that “the weather here is quite nice.” When asked how the faculty is, I tell them I don’t want to talk about it. No question is met with the desired answer.
And because I am the first UCSB student these people will form an opinion of, I take pains to make them not only dislike the school, but dislike me as well. I do this in a variety of insulting ways, but mainly by leading each group to Freebirds at a random point in our tour and making them wait as I finish a burrito.
“Can we get back to the tour?” a gutsy parent sometimes asks after standing around for a while and watching me chew. “I have somewhere I need to be later.”
“Can’t talk,” I mumble. “Eating.”
So I’ve been fired, naturally, after scaring off a few dozen of these potential annoyances. As someone who can only think of five freshmen that don’t get on my nerves, I feel I’ve done people like myself a great service. I can only hope that others follow my example and do their part.
Daily Nexus columnist Drew Atkins still encourages really hot girls to attend. Obviously.