Wake up (Which city am I in again? Time zone? It’s raining…okay, must be Vancouver) and reach for my phone. After running through the morning emails (Academica Top Ten, messages from the boss, random junk mail), I flag what needs to be responded to and head to the gym for a good workout. It’s important to stay fit out here, particularly with the wild hours/random eating habits you get used to on the road.
Breakfast, more emails, and go over the school list for today. I have three “fair” format visits today, so there will be a lot of driving and about six hours interacting with students. Fairs are set up like trade shows, with 30-40 universities in attendance, and more free pens than you could ever want. I figure out my driving route and head down to the parking garage.
The Gaitermobile and I whip onto Dunsmuir in downtown Vancouver. My GPS, as usual, can’t seem to find its bearings, so I aim in the general direction of the school and wait for it to catch up. I can hear the emails coming in on my phone, but resist the temptation to check them. I’ve watched too many accidents happen as a result of distracted driving…
Arrive at my first school. Grab my big pop-up banner, my bag of promo books and head in. I watch as reps from the other schools arrive and go through the same motions. As the students line up to enter, everyone takes a deep breath and prepares for the onslaught.
As the dust clears, I realize I’m running low on business cards, books, and energy. Some great questions this morning, and some real doozies. I winced as one parent asked whether we were closer to UBC or UBC Okanagan. I make a note to improve our “Where we are” stuff on our posters, and head for the parking lot. Over 500 kids came through the doors this morning, with varying questions and interests. The students who are more timid always take me back. I sometimes forget how daunting the idea of moving away from home can be. It wasn’t that long ago, but I guess I made the same decision. I pack up and head back downtown. I forgot my phone charger (rookie mistake, Lawson) and need to get some stuff from my laptop.
Run/shower recharges me, and preps me for sending off the 10+ emails to prospective students who have emailed. I tend to hand out my business cards like candy, and students email me all sorts of questions, which is great, as long as I keep up with it. A quick bite, then it’s off to the next school. One the way, I do a conference call with our Director of Enrolment to plan for after-B.C.
Looks like I’ll go from Victoria to Toronto to visit some schools, then back this winter to present a variation of my Globe & Mail presentation on student involvement. Definitely looking forward to Christmas break…
Banner goes up and the books come out as I get into school number two. This one is a bit more of a success for us. Sometimes it’ll be a few minutes standing around, waiting for someone to come by. Today, it seems like I’m inundated with requests. I usually lead with “Do you know anything about Bishop’s?” but I’m dealing with a well-informed audience today. They know where we are and what we’re about, so the questions lend themselves more to the technical side. I make a note to email our Director of Admissions some of the tough ones.
Things start to slow down and we all begin to wander a little bit. I take a look at the banner from University of Saskatchewan; they’ve got this big photo of their football team running on-field under a big inflatable Husky. Great stuff. I’m always looking for ways to make our stuff more captivating, and grab a photo of their banner for future reference.
Time comes to pack up once more, and everyone heads for the hills. It’s the middle of November, and many of us have been on the road since mid-September. Everyone remains friendly and outgoing, but the fatigue is beginning to show.
16:00 – 17:00:
I catch up on the Globe & Mail (just as the day is ending…great…) while scarfing down a quick meal. A few more emails get pounded out, and I send an emergency request for more books to Bishop’s. Things have gone well out here, and I’m running short. With a guidance counsellor event on Friday, I want to make sure I have enough stuff. Off to the next school for our night visit.
18:00 – 20:30:
The night fairs are usually crazy, and this one is no exception. With up to a thousand people through the door, these things are loud and crowded. Typically one high school will host a night visit and invite students from the surrounding area. The kicker is that parents get to attend these events, so it’s fun for the whole family. With Mom and Dad in tow, the questions tend to focus a lot on fees and outcomes (I overheard one parent this week tell her daughter, “Artists starve, sweetie. Look at a business program”). I typically get fewer questions about the nightlife, more about the academics.
Arrive home and flip on the National (seriously CBC, just let Peter sit down) before crashing. It’s another three-school day tomorrow.
As always, feel free to flip me any questions or suggestions you have for the blog. Until next time!