Every year, thousands of prospective students and their parents from all over the world come to UCF to tour the campus. Many of these students are in high school, hoping to find a university that they can call home in the near future. The tour guide can really make a difference in that decision, as it did for Cathy Eble, a junior nursing major and current UCF tour guide.
Tour guides are responsible for more than just showing the campus, their job is also to inform future students on all the resources offered at UCF and to answer any questions that the tourist may have.
The Central Florida Future had the opportunity to interview Cathy Eble to see what a day in the life of a UCF tour guide is like.
Central Florida Future: What led you to become a UCF tour guide?
Cathy Eble: When I did a tour at UCF, really the only thing that made me decide UCF ultimately was the tour. I never really had any interest in coming to UCF until I did a tour, and it really changed my mind about it. So when I saw that there were job opportunities like that, I went ahead and applied and basically got offered a summer job and I really liked it, so I kept going on with it.
CFF: How long have you been a UCF tour guide?
Eble: The past year. I started last summer.
CFF: What is your favorite location to show around UCF?
Eble: I think Memory Mall is the best just because a lot of people like to hear about different sports and things that go on at Memory Mall like tailgating, and also there are a lot of classroom buildings around there. So there’s a lot to talk about and a lot of people ask a lot of questions around there.
CFF: Who do you usually give tours to?
Eble: Prospective students and their parents. They’re usually people that are in high school, but we also have people who are transferring here. It could really be anyone who wants to come and check out the school.
CFF: Do you ever get nervous while giving a tour?
Eble: No, not anymore. My first few walks alone after I was done training were nerve-racking just because I didn’t want to forget anything, but not anymore; it’s kind of like having a regular conversation.
CFF: What advice would you give to future tour guides?
Eble: I would just say to not be nervous. It’s not a big deal if you forget something or mess up something. You just want to get out as much information as you can and to smile really big because if you’re up there looking all angry, no one’s going to want to come to UCF. They’re just going to remember there was an angry tour guide the whole time.
CFF: How do you think your current job as a UCF tour guide will benefit you in the future?
Eble: I think it’s definitely helped me with public speaking. I’m not scared to get up in front of a group of people that don’t know me. It’s benefited my confidence in the past year because I used to get kind of nervous in front of people, but now that I have been a tour guide for so long I’m very used to just getting up and speaking in front of people.
CFF: Did you attend any special class before becoming a tour guide?
Eble: No, I didn’t; it’s all on-the-job training. So for the first few weeks that you work, you do shadowing of people that are already tour guides. So you basically just learn by watching people and reading the manual that my boss gives us.
CFF: What is the most memorable tour you have ever given?
Eble: I gave a tour to an all-boys school one time. It was like 60 high school boys that were just asking funny questions the whole time, and they were just typical high school boys; I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
CFF: How do you prepare yourself for a tour?
Eble: When I first started out, I would just go over stuff in my head when I got to the stop, but now that I’m so used to saying everything, it just comes to me naturally when I get there.
CFF: How do you make each tour different or are they all relatively the same?
Eble: Each person (tour guide) has a different style and a few, different, informational facts that we give out, but we generally all do about the same thing. We all go to the same stops and say the same general information, but someone may be a business major so they may know more about the business college than I would as a nursing major.
CFF: Would you consider being a tour guide for a living?
Eble: Probably not as a career, but it’s good while I’m in college because it’s definitely helped me out the past year. Not only job-wise, but public speaking-wise, as well. But as career-wise? I don’t think so.
CFF: Have you ever given a tour to a famous person that visited UCF?
Eble: No, I wish! I wish Michael Jordan would come or something, but nope, no famous people yet.
CFF: If you could give a tour around UCF to one famous person, who would it be and why?
Eble: Oh my gosh, one famous person; there’s so many! I mean, I guess the president would be cool to give a tour to. That’s kind of a big deal, right? To have the president come to your school!
CFF: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Eble: I like getting to interact with people, especially the high school students because a lot of students are nervous when applying to college and leaving home. Getting to talk to them like, “Hey I’m a normal person too, let’s talk about what your future is going to be like.” That’s what I really like talking about because my tour guide really helped me when I was going to college, so I like to do the same for other people.
Source: Central Florida Future, Guiding future Knights, by Joni Fletcher, contributing writer. Published: Sunday, May 29, 2011; Updated: Sunday, May 29, 2011 19:05