Classes at several area college and university campuses begin next week. For many attendees, their first impression of the school where they are now enrolled was through a campus tour. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann shares sounds of a recent tour at Drury University, where she accompanied a group of visitors.
It’s a perfect day for a walk around this north Springfield campus, amid mild temperatures and a light breeze. The Jackson family from Ft. Smith, Arkansas is getting an inside look at what Drury University has to offer, and if it will fit in with their daughter Aliyah’s future goals. She is now a high school senior who plays softball and plans to become a physician’s assistant.
“This is my second tour of probably four. I might tour the University of North Texas and OU,” says Jackson.
Jackson says some of the factors that will influence her decision are the distance from home, the softball program, and curriculum for her major. As we continue our walk, she’s attracted to the size of campus and the school’s class sizes.
“I like it here….I like it so far,” Jackson says.
Jackson’s personalized experience is courtesy of Vicas “Vic” Jagwani, who says his main goal is to answer any individual questions and make the guests feel welcome. Born and raised in Dubai, he found Drury through an admissions counselor that was traveling through his hometown. He is a college senior majoring in accounting and finance, and will graduate this year. Jagwani says he’s really enjoyed the college experience, and that being a tour guide has been a perfect fit for him.
“I think the best thing about being a tour guide is explaining experience over here rather than just talking about buildings. Because at the end of the day, they would not know what the buildings will look like or what the classes will be like, but they will only know what your experiences are or be easily relatable to your experience might be for them if they come to Drury,” says Jagwani.
It is not just a job, explains Jagwani, but a chance to engage with people, learn and grow. He has been a tour guide on campus since the summer prior to his sophomore year, and it was a natural fit because he loves to meet people, talk and learn.
Jagwani says his first campus job was with the grounds keeping department, and while he says he enjoyed the position, he feels he has grown as a tour guide even more.
“Speaking was not my asset when I was a freshman or when I came from Dubai. But it [being a tour guide] has grown me into a better speaker. As an accountant, now days it is not just important to sit and do numbers, companies are looking for individuals who can get the customer,” Jagwani says.
Being an international student can be challenging, Jagwani explains, and the skills he has developed as a tour guide he feels are preparing him beyond the classroom.
“What I am is because of my work experience. But not only my work experience but also the opportunities I’ve had to communicate with different families and people from all over the country. I’ve give probably over 100 tours on campus,” shares Jagwani.
Jagwani says he loves helping people and knows the transition into college is a big one, and can be scary for some. He is passionate about his campus, and wants to help prospective students decide the right place for them since college is a “once in a lifetime” type of experience. While anyone can look at college websites to find out about a school, it is the real life experience of being on campus and engaging with the people there that makes the difference.
With other campus tours on her agenda, it’s unclear if high school senior Aliyah Jackson will choose to attend Drury University in 2016. In the meantime, college senior Jagwani will continue to conduct tours until he graduates later this year. He too is exploring future options after graduation. With his roots in business, education and also his personal experiences as a tour guide, he looks forward to what the future may hold.