I’m finally back in Iowa City after ten days of traveling. I have driven a total of about 2,500 miles in the past two weeks. That is equal to the distance of driving down to Disney World and back–and just as much fun too! Actually the past fortnight (incredibly underused word) has contained some exciting times, such as my brother’s wedding, but it has also been so incredibly busy. I had good intentions of updating the blog while on the road, but then I remembered how exhausting 12-hour work days can be.
In case you were wondering what a typical day on the road as an admission counselor is like, I’ll outline it for you. Then again, every day is full of surprises. Take this morning, for instance. At the first high school I went to, my visit was interrupted by an intruder alert and the school went into lockdown mode. It was not a drill. The guidance counselors seemed relatively relaxed, but I was going into action mode. “Are all the doors locked? Should we shut the lights off? Where are all the exits? Who is in charge and what is our plan?!” Finally somebody had the decency to tell me that all the phones in the school have an intruder button, and somebody probably hit it accidentally. That helped calm me down a little, but I still wanted to know where the exits were…and a bathroom, because that fight or flight instinct really gets your intestines moving.
Anyway, here is a “typical” day…
7:00 a.m.: Wake up and look around the room in a confused fashion.
7:02 a.m.: Finally remember you are in a hotel. Get out of bed, shower, and try to look professional enough that people will not mistake me for a pubescent teenager when walking through the halls of a high school.
7:30 a.m.: Take advantage of the hotel’s continental breakfast. Avoid the waffle maker! Yes, they are delicious, but you will burn through those empty calories before you can say, “Mmmm, more syruuuuupppp…”
7:45 a.m.: Start driving to the first high school. This could take 5 minutes, it could take 50. I never know what to expect with traffic, GPS malfunction, geese crossing, etc. Usually it takes less time than I expected, so I end up sitting in my car in the school parking lot for a solid 20 minutes trying not to look like a creep.
8:30 a.m.: Meet with students in the Guidance Office. This part of the day varies drastically from school to school, but the gist of it is that we talk for a while and the students leave feeling informed and enthusiastic about The University of Iowa (if I’m doing my job well).
10:00 a.m.: High school visit #2.
11:30 a.m.: Get lunch. Sometimes I do a little research ahead of time so I can go somewhere local that gets good food reviews. Lunch is also a good time to catch up on emails, which never stop whether you’re in the office or on the road. I have recently invested in one of those brilliant devices you people call a “smart phone.” My dumb phone just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I think I was one of the last people between the ages of 10 and 30 in the US to get a smart phone. It’s pretty sad when you see a child with a nicer phone than you. Sad for them, not for me. Go use your imagination, young one!
1:00 p.m.: High school visit #3.
2:15 p.m.: High school visit #4.
3:30 p.m.: “Free” time where I drive around looking for a place that has wi-fi so I can actually get some work done on a full keyboard. Or try to find somewhere I can park the car for an hour or two without looking suspicious. One time I was parked in the lot next to a gas station reading a book and the guy who worked there actually asked me to leave. He must have noticed I was reading Idiot’s Guide to Robbing a Gas Station.
5:30 p.m.: Head to the site of the college fair. Sometimes they have dinner available beforehand, sometimes they don’t. I’ve found it’s best to eat something ahead of time, just in case. You are going to be really bummed if you were expecting spaghetti and this year they’re only doing a fruit tray. It also takes me a good chunk of time to unload the boxes from my car, haul it in on this little cart with dangerous bungee cord hooks, and set up all the pamphlets on my table so the whole display says, “Hey there, do you like neat stacks of beautiful brochures arranged in a perfectly symmetrical fashion? Then you will love The University of Iowa.” Most of the other schools’ admission counselors have these fancy rolling suitcases for all their materials instead of cardboard boxes. I’m not sure how they fit everything in there. High schoolers, BEWARE: If an admissions rep has a magical Mary Poppins bag, they are NOT to be trusted.
6:30 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. The college fair begins, and it is usually two hours of non-stop chatting, answering questions, and smiling. I do really enjoy a good college fair and the opportunity to help students and parents learn more about The University of Iowa. I loved being a student here and I love the thought of other young adults having such a fantastic college experience. My job is to help you decide whether The University of Iowa is the best fit for you, and if that means answering the same question for the fiftieth time that day, then I will do it with a passion.
8:30 p.m.: Head back to the hotel (or sometimes back to Iowa City, depending on the night) and do something to get my mind off work: channel surf, Facebook stalk, look at pictures of cute animals, or watch funny YouTube videos. Speaking of which, this is what my blogs would sound like if I wrote them at the end of a long work day.
So there you have it. Now all of the little kindergarteners reading my blog on their smart phones will want to be admission counselors when they grow up.