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The Dos And Don’ts Of Passing A Campus Tour

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning, the air is chilling, and campus tours are slowly crawling down Pollock Road every morning. 

Whether you’re on your way to class or to grab a bite to eat from the HUB, walking past a tour guide and their pack of parents and future Penn State students has a way of making you feel like a staged student. You become somewhat of a video game NPC in those high schoolers’ senior year simulators, and how well you play your part can be a factor in their choice to come to Penn State.

All eyes are on you, a real-life college student, and it can be tough to put on your best Happy Valley smile on your way to an 8 a.m. lecture. Here are half a dozen dos and don’ts for being the perfect staged student when a tour passes by.

Do: Smile And Wave, Boys (And Girls), Smile And Wave

The sun might still be rising, and it might be raining for the third time this week, but that coffee in your hand isn’t for nothing! For the few seconds that you’re the center of the group’s attention, attending an early morning class is your favorite thing to do.

Any shenanigans from the night before are out of sight and mind as you take on your new role as the perfect, totally-not-sleep-deprived student. Flash the parents your pearly whites and show them how great it is to be a Penn State student. They’ll love to see Happy Valley live up to its name.

Don’t: Run Over Any Kids

As frustrating as it may be to trail behind a campus tour group when you’re running late to class, bulldozing through the crowd is never a good idea. The newbies aren’t acquainted with the zigzagging style of walking on campus yet, so ducking and rolling through them in haste isn’t exactly fair play.

Risking the wrath of an (also late) driver by crossing the street is the better option to get to class on time while still keeping that Penn State magic alive. We can’t have any future freshman falling down on Shortlidge Road before they even see the inside of a party!

Do: Start A ‘We Are’ Chant At An Inappropriate Time

Something about shouting a perfectly — or imperfectly — timed “WE ARE” at a campus tour sells the part of a Penn State student without fail. Whether it’s from across the HUB lawn or out your dorm window, your only lines should be “WE ARE” and “THANK YOU”. And, of course, tour guides love being interrupted mid-sentence when you start the chant, so the more inconvenient the time, the better. 

Don’t: Let The Parents See Your Lunch

Most of the dining halls at Penn State have a good variety of cuisines to choose from, but that doesn’t stop anyone from walking out with the occasional slice of pizza or chicken tenders. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some Pollock curly fries, but they might discredit the extensive spiel the tour guide just gave about healthy eating in State College. Keep your treats, but don’t show them off as the supreme sustenance at Penn State.

Do: Walk Backward Like The Guide

I mean, come on. It’s a little funny.

Don’t: Let Those Tears Fall

Midterms are quickly approaching, and there’s always at least one assignment that has the capacity to push you over the edge in the middle of the library. That’s the kind of stress you have to keep behind closed doors when a campus tour is passing through.

These kids still have that sparkle of hope in their eyes — confidence that college isn’t ready for them rather than vice versa, and we should preserve that for as long as possible. Put that CHEM 110 exam review aside for a minute and take a deep breath. It might actually be refreshing!

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About the Author

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a junior majoring in English from Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. She loves making music, consuming the maximum amount of coffee recommended by the FDA, and overanalyzing Taylor Swift lyrics. Follow her on Instagram @meganedougherty to see her three to four posts a year.

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