Being a Tour Guide

These past few weeks have flown by in a whirlwind of classes, sports, and activities. At Groton, individual days seem to stretch out endlessly—I always notice the long procession of students walking to the Schoolhouse from chapel, as if in slow motion. However, when I look back on weeks and months, they are nothing but a big blur of action, as if the hours of each individual day only amount to seconds in retrospect.

Fourth Form has brought many changes—and while I love finally having full walls and full doors in the dorm, it’s weird that I don’t get to see everyone in my form almost every day.

One of the things I really like about Fourth Form is that students are now allowed give tours to applying students. In the winter of 2013, my seventh grade self, wide-eyed and nervous, trudged with my tour guide through the thick sheet of snow on campus. I don’t really remember the physical buildings I saw, but I do remember the enthusiasm and friendliness of the student giving my tour, which, for me, authenticated Groton’s “sense of community,” a phrase that I had seen many times on the glossy admissions brochures. Back in the admissions office before my interview, I told myself that if I ever got in, I would be a tour guide.

This year, I was really excited when I learned that Fourth Formers could give tours. When I flipped through the tour guide packet with information and instructions, I was struck by how much I didn’t know about the school, like the fact that Groton’s landscape architect was Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York. It was interesting to learn about Groton beyond just my experiences here.

Although I’ve only given a few tours so far, I love seeing the campus from a new pair of eyes, and I love answering questions that I had as an applying student. Telling a family about Groton makes me see it in a different light—as a new and exotic place, rather than something that is part of my daily routine. Every building that I pass along the way reminds me that there is so much rich and interesting history here, which, customized with our own experiences, makes Groton a special place.

Seeing people fidget nervously in the admissions office also reminds me of how I felt a few years ago, and now I want to tell these students that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of, and that all they have to do is be themselves.