Arrival time for college fair: 30 minutes early. I unpack my suitcase and set up my booth, when a woman from the booth next to mine leaned over and asked “how many travel seasons have you had?”
I was caught a little off guard but responded, “this is my first year,” and all she did was smile like she had a secret to tell.
The regional representative community is a rather strange one. When attending college fairs, there are many representatives trying to get students to think about their institutions. We are all working against each other, but it’s friendly competition.
The woman was representing Holyoke Community College and she told me her secret. “Never be the first to pack up and never be the last to leave.”
After her words of advice, other reps started opening up to me.
Amanda, from Bay Path University, was on the opposite side of my booth. She knew Chris Eder, the head alpine ski coach from when he was traveling counselor. She also knew Erica Machia and Katye Munger, who both used to be traveling reps as well.
After talking with Amanda, I felt like I wasn’t so alone anymore. She explained that many reps will see each other over and over again at all these different fairs. Instead of working against each other, they make friendships and work with one another to help young students find the right school.
Once I knew I wasn’t alone anymore, I asked for some general advice.
“Always ask the oldest counselors where the best places to eat are.”
Surprisingly enough, Dunkin Donuts gets old pretty quickly, so this was actually great advice.
Although I am traveling by myself for the next seven weeks, I know I am not really alone. There is a community of representatives in the exact same boat as I am, and they have banded together. I have many more high school visits and college fairs ahead of me, but now that I stuck my foot in door of the college rep community, I’m looking to dive in completely.
The Holyoke Community College rep gave me one last word of advice that I will definitely follow. She said, “If I could become one food and then eat myself, it would be a New Jersey bagel, make sure to get one when your there.”
Don’t you worry. I will.