Me! (front right) during Welcome Week 2018
Going the Extra Hundred Yards, written by Hannah Bailey, University of Surrey
I came to an Open Day at Surrey during summer 2016.
I knew pretty quickly that it was where I wanted to be. The campus just felt… right. That sounds clichéd but it’s true. Having done my access course at Guildford College, I’d fallen in love with the area, and the University did not disappoint. I loved the location, I loved the course description (English Literature), and I loved the idea of a campus uni where everything is on one site.
Whenever you visit somewhere new and unfamiliar, the main challenge is navigation. I’m notoriously challenged when it comes to maps, so any open day map is already a daunting experience for me! Add the task of getting used to all the new acronyms for buildings that I’d never visited before and you have a perfect storm.
In short, ya gal was very lost. And freaking out. I wanted to come to Surrey, and feel comfortable at Surrey, but good golly I needed help that day. All the ambassadors I ran into were so helpful and it was their efforts, knowledge and smiles that made sure I got where I needed to be. Not just to the right room on the day (although that was very helpful!), but in making sure I navigated my way to making the right decision in my journey… enrolling at Surrey.
It’s been a couple of years since that open day. I’m in my second year of study and employed as a student ambassador, so I now work open days myself. I prefer the role of general steward, those are the people that I needed on that open day in 2016. Whenever possible, I will walk prospective students and their families to their destinations instead of just pointing, because I remember what it’s like to visit somewhere new and how important a friendly face, willing to go the extra hundred yards, can be.
Open days are among my favourite events to work; they’re an opportunity to highlight all the best bits of the uni experience to prospective students, to give advice that I know I’d want to be given, to be the first friendly face that these families interact with on campus. They’re a chance to be real, honest and share tips specific to Surrey that won’t be found on any website. They’re a chance to connect with future students. And if it only takes five minutes to walk them to the library, that five minute chat can make a real difference to their experience and to the next few years of their lives!
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