“Hello everyone and welcome to Syracuse University! My name is Nancy and I will be your tour guide for the day! Today I’m going to be showing you the major buildings on campus, a dining hall, a typical dorm room, and, OF COURSE! the Carrier Dome! We’re going to start the tour now, so if you could all please follow me, and stay close so you can hear everything I say. Oh, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!”
It has begun. College tour season. While it has been two years since I’ve embarked on one of these torturous tours, I got a feeling of miserable déjà vu when I walked by a tour on campus today.
When I first visited Syracuse, it was April and snowing (surprise, surprise!). But it wasn’t the frozen “lake effect” that sucked so bad during my tour. Nor was it the slop they were serving at Sadler Dining Hall, which, little did I know at the time, would be my center for meal times for the next year. In fact, the reason why my tour at Syracuse sucked so bad was not any reason unique to Syracuse – my tour at every school sucked. And why, you may ask? Because of the stereotypical soon-to-be-college-parents.
Now, maybe these parents are suffering from what psychologists call “empty-nest” (when all their children finally leave home,) or maybe these parents are just freakin’ nuts. Either way, here are, in my opinion, the three worst – and don’t even pretend that you’ve never come in contact with one.
1.) The “I Used to be an Orangeman” Parent – You can spot this parent from miles away, because their typical attire usually includes a faded Syracuse hoodie, a Syracuse hat, and an SU class ring from 1975. This parent thinks he can lead the tour better than the tour guide can, and continuously begins sentences with, “Well, when I went here…,” and “Being an alumnus, I know that..” If these interruptions don’t make you want to punch him in the face, the Greek letters of a frat that got kicked off campus years ago tattooed on his arm definitely will.
2.)The “What Did She Just Say?” Parent – This parent may have immigrated to the US a few years ago or could be a parent from another country who wants her child to get a great education in the states – either way, this parent does not speak English. The tour is usually held up for at least 45 minutes as her son tries to translate every word the tour guide says. Typically, this parent will try to ask questions, but in no way, shape, or form can she even begin to ask anything in English. This duo usually ends up losing the tour after stopping a little bit too long at a photo op, but no one really notices or cares.
3.) The “My Straight A Student will Never Consume Alcohol, Take Drugs, or Have Sexual Intercourse” Parent – Just picture an older version of that nerdy kid that sits in front of your accounting class and panics weeks before the test and insists on asking hundreds of questions. This parent does the same – “Is my child going to be in a dorm with someone who consumes liquor?” “If my child misses a class, will I be called and informed?” “Will someone be checking to make sure no females come into his dorm room?” This parent will usually express her unease about the lack of security in the dorms to anyone who will listen, and makes sure to talk about her concerns about her precious baby’s 4.0 dropping to a 3.9.
And there you have it. To those of you who never have to give or go on a tour again, breathe a sigh of relief. To those of you who are tour guides – good luck!