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The Types Of Tour Guides You See At Penn State

When you were making your college decision, the common denominator of every visit was going on a walking tour of campus — seeing the sights, getting a little glimpse of what each university might offer you. Every college has its HUB and its ornate main administration building with a long lawn à la Old Main. And don’t forget the obscene amount of construction happening on what appears to be the campus of every university in the United States. That seems to be a common theme, as well.

While these may be a fading memory in many a students mind, I still remember some of the tours I took when I was still making my decision. Because you just can’t forget these types of tour guides.

The Overly Enthusiastic One

This is the guide always saying “WE ARE!” as loudly as they can at 7 a.m. to a pack of sleep-deprived high schoolers and their parents. How they can find that much energy is beyond me. They must have coffee intravenously injected before every tour. Or they could be faking it, in which case: Bravo. Where’s their Oscar? There’s always that one mom who’s as into it as they are, and by the end of the tour, they’ve screamed so much their voices are hoarse. This tour guide usually starts to fade by the end of the day…thankfully.

The Edgy One

These guys try for a different approach. They want to sound all cool and hip to impress all the kids and horrify all the parents. “Cover your ears mom and dad, here’s where your kids are gonna get #LITAF every night! Haha, just joking folks, we’re a dry campus after all! *wink wink*”

The Walking Encyclopedia

“Did you know Penn State’s original colors were pink and black? Did you know that State College is the third biggest city in Pennsylvania during football games? Did you know about the Creamery? Did you know THON? Did you know? Did you know? DID YOU KNOW?????”

The Drill Instructor

This is the one who’s got a schedule to make, back peddling like it’s no one’s business down Curtin Road. Asking people to keep up, barreling down the sidewalk at 100 miles per hour. Make way people, this is the Tour Express and no one is getting off this wild ride until you’ve seen it all. I hope you wore comfortable shoes.

The Friendmaker

This one isn’t too bad I guess, just a bored tour guide trying to make some conversation with a prospective student. But can’t you talk to some others in the group instead of me the whole time? I just want to get this over with so I can buy a sweatshirt and get some lunch. Oh, you want to come to lunch with me? My mom’s already saying yes? Well…

The Boring One

They turn their whole crew into a bunch of walking zombies, yawning and stumbling around wondering why God has punished them so, whispering and mumbling like a sleepy NPR host. Walking slowly around and giving us the full story on everything. “And here’s Old Main, its architecture a mixture of federal and revivalist styles, giving one a sense of both grandeur and cozy hominess…” In between trying to keep my eyelids from dropping, I’m just hoping no one tries to as a question.

The Trashtalker

“Those hacks over at Pitt don’t have anything on us here at PSU! I mean, do they have a state of the art library and tons of resources to help you on your educational odyssey?” Yes, most colleges have the necessities, I don’t think anyone wants their students to not get employed.

What tour guides have you encountered? Let us know is the comments below. 

About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Matt is a freshman majoring in Secondary Education, hoping to minor in philosophy, and is from the fabled land of "just outside Philly." He'll gladly talk your ear off about anything from Picasso to Wu-Tang Clan and lives and dies by Philly sports. Send him seething rants and death threats at [email protected]


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