Dimebags and Field Trips

“…And lastly, don’t be stupid”

The thirty students staring back at me tried valiantly to blink the sleep out of their eyes.

“…which means if a stranger walks up to you at the mall and offers you candy, you say no. That also means that when we’re on a college campus and a guy with dreads offers you a dimebag full of Mary Jane, you say no. Got it? Ok, let’s pray”

It was my first field trip in over ten years, and I was on the other side of the table this time, leading thirty high school juniors on a day long trip to University of Memphis and Rhodes College.

I am so incredibly blessed to have a group of kids (those who went on the trip and those who decided schoolwork was more important than hanging out with me *cough cough*) who are really fun to spend time with… there’s not a bad apple in the bunch.

And one of the reasons they’re so fun to hang out with, is because they embarrass really, really easily. That might just be because they’re teenagers…

Administration required the students to wear their school uniforms, in order to present a professional, put together look for the college admission offers.

“Mrs R, everyone is STARING at us. I hate these uniforms”

My response? I found the most central point on campus– right in front of the student union. Classes had just let out.

“Ok, everyone! Time for a group picture!!! Whoopee!!!!”

If looks could kill, I would be murdered (in a very respectful way– remember, these are good kids) right in front of Tom the Tiger’s statue at the University of Memphis.

The campus tour allowed for even more fun. Campus tour scripts always focus on two things: food and new buildings. If you don’t have either of those, you focus on quirky people and things to do around town. If you don’t have either one of those, then you focus on how cheap your school is. Because if you don’t have any of the top 5, then you probably don’t have anyone visiting your campus at all. At least anyone under the age of 18 not forced by their alumni parents.

Memphis had the top two— and they just happened to be in the same place. We walked by Einstein’s Bagels (“Oooh, Mrs R, can we stop here and get some *takes a deep breath* caaaffffeeeeiiiinnneeee???”) and later were paraded next to the brand-spanking-new frozen yogurt shop. You could actually hear the oooh’s and ahhh’s from the kids. I couldn’t resist – I stage whispered, “Guys, you HAVE to go here! Frozen yogurt? What luxury!!”

Once again, from their looks, my lifeless body would also have been found second floor of the campus bookstore, several feet away from the Yolo shop.

We proceeded from University of Memphis to the Oak Court Mall, where we had lunch at the food court, and then we drove to Rhodes and finished our day up with a tour and admission meeting.

You can tell alot about a school by how their admission representatives treat those who visit— not by what they say, but by their body language. I was fully prepared to end the day with a positive view of Rhodes and a less-than-positive view of Memphis. However, I left with the opposite; and I was shocked to hear how many kids (without my prompting) felt the same way. Memphis’ admission reps welcomed us with open arms and we felt as if committing to attend Memphis would just make the admissions office’s day. At Rhodes, the students were spoken to as if they assumed none of the kids were even considering attending.

Maybe I’m hypersensitive, given I worked in admissions for three years. I almost wish I could have taken this trip while I was still working as a recruiter- it would have made me a much better one.

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