Over the past couple of weeks, Kalamazoo College has played host to over two hundred prospective students and their families through a program called Visit the Zoo. I had the pleasure of hosting two girls who were very different, but that gravitated to K for many of the same reasons. Over the course of about 18 hours, we as hosts are responsible for our student (sometimes others) and show them the life of the average K student.
To be completely honest, when I host, I usually do not simulate what the average K student does on any given night. My average night at K consists of going to dinner with my friends, heading to various meetings, attending campus events, and then trekking up to the library to try and stay on top of my work. When a prospective visits and stays with me, I usually take them on an extended VIP tour of campus, they meet the majority of my friends on the way, we try to find something cool going on or they accompany me to a meeting, and most times we just end up chatting in Biggby or reading a book by the fire.
I’d like to say that taking a leisurely walk around campus, chatting with friends over coffee, and reading a book for pleasure are things I do on a regular basis, but that would be completely unrealistic. Like I mentioned in my short bio, I can usually be found in the Reading Room in the Library – my favorite study haunt – or in my room in the dorm with the door propped open reading books that never seem to want to end and clicking the keys of my laptop until it becomes the only sound I hear as people shuffle off to bed in the early hours of the morning.
So why do I even host prospective students? I remember when I was a senior in high school, anticipating the May 1st decision deadline and my mom told me that she signed me up to go on an overnight visit to Kalamazoo College. Nervous, intimidated, and overwhelmed I arrived on a chilly April afternoon to a fresh, spring green campus and a host who lived in Crissey, one of the upperclassmen dorms. She often asked me if I had any questions…I didn’t. Honestly, I did not have any questions. She was a wealth of information and we just chatted about the goings on at K and how normal days and evenings usually go. I quietly observed and tried to memorize the locations of the main buildings, but other than that I sat back and enjoyed the visit.
When I came to K in the fall of 2010, I knew exactly where to go when my parents and I drove up to campus; our car practically over flowing with all my necessities. When I arrived, it was like coming home even though I hadn’t spent more than 24 hours on campus. Thus, I host in the hopes that prospective students will feel that same enchanting sensation as we walk the red brick road, climb the hundreds of stairs, and meet the faces of a bunch of great students who will share this campus with them. I hope that if nothing else, a visitor takes away the idea that if they cannot see themselves walking these halls, sitting in these classrooms, or eating meals with friends in this cafeteria, then this school is not for them. That idea applies to any school that a student chooses to visit and it’s the best piece of advice I have to offer my prospective students.