If anyone out there has been keeping track, I have been participating in several Twitter #tweetchats, including #EMchat, for a few months now. These are great ways to meet people via the Twitter, exchange ideas on one thing or another, and — not least score more followers or interesting people to follow.
Wait — did I just give social media engagement advice?! I vividly remember when I had 11 followers, and now I sit fairly comfortably at 300+.
I do have a particular fondness for #EMchat. Not unlike the other ones, it helps reinforce my values of community, relationship building, and… well I’ve always been a sucker for lively and engaging conversation. That being said, tonight’s Enrollment Management Chat (what the “EM” stands for), seemed tailor-made for me. It was about colleges and universities giving tours and attracting students.
Giving tours. Oh, no big deal. I only did it almost every day for the better part of 5 years.
It always seemed so corny to me before I did it — walking backwards, grinning at large crowds for no reason, moving your hand in any direction as if you were Vanna White. Yet, *my* tours were always a bit different. A bit a part from the norm. I could (especially with smaller groups) connect intimately, and really share a part of myself and why I was so committed to being a part of this particular institution. Why did I choose this school over any other, what were my hopes and dreams (slightly revised nowadays), and how did I think an education at *this* school would help make all that happen? I even tried to incorporate that into the larger tours — on the Open House days, the big school groups, etc., etc. I wanted to be the person to these students that I wanted to meet when I got to college. Someone to make things a little less scary, and a little more accessible. What was great was that I frequently found the support to do so from my colleagues and supervisors, and very often, the parents and prospective students themselves. That spirit seemed to propel me into interviews, and there I could not only share my story, but really hear the story of the applicant. Why are you here? What are you hoping to get out of this experience? What do you think you can add to this community? (My questions were much less traditional than those, btw…)
The world of higher education seemed daunting and intimidating while I was an applicant, and certainly as a student. And yet, also liberating. Here you are with the chance to do pretty much precisely what you want to do — with yourself, with your time, with your talents, with your resources, with your money. And how many moments in life are like that?
As I read through the thread of responses from the admissions, education marketing, advising, and enrollment management professionals who participated tonight, it really began to strike a chord. *This* is why I want to do what I want to do. This is it. Right here. Very simply put. I want to help people achieve successes through their higher education endeavors. That’s it. Anyone who’s been keeping track also knows that’s been a fairly long road getting back to this simple goal — what seemed so simple all through school, anyway, and yet got very complicated after school when “life” kicked in. Now, I’m back here. And of course in the #EMchat, I’ve referenced my little pet project The College Concern because it has helped reinforced my focus. I have been able to explore several — and varied — opportunities thanks to this blog, its Twitter page, and my presence in these chats. My goal of being of service to people as they live out their dreams through their college education seems more clear and more attainable than it probably ever has.
This post is a lot of things. It’s a thank-you to the #EMchat community and the people I’ve connected with, and it’s a reminder to myself of all that I have, and all that is to come. I am finally back where I belong, and I don’t plan to leave anytime soon.
(And if you know anyone hiring, it would really help me out.)