A Summer in Canton: 10 Weeks as an Admissions Intern
This summer I made the choice to live in Canton and work as one of the six interns in the Admissions Office. As part of our ten-week internship, we acted as Admissions Ambassadors giving tours to prospective students, as well as getting the chance to learn more extensively about the admission process here at St Lawrence. Ten weeks have passed, and with a many tours completed, a number of projects now in the bag, I am writing to share what I’ve learned, and why I am SO happy I got to experience a summer in Canton.
In my reflections on these past ten weeks, I realize my experience fits three themes: How I work, how other people work, and how to make things work.
How I Work
I space out a lot, I procrastinate, but I care about people. I recognized this summer that my genuine love for people will get me far, but it doesn’t negate the fact that I have other qualities and skills that need some work. My love for people wasn’t going to finish crunching data in that Excel spreadsheet. My love for people wasn’t going to write those letters. It was humbling and inspiring to be part of a team of interns that had strengths and skills different than mine and skills that I could learn from. Quinn Audsley '19 was amazing with words (the Creative Writing minor really came in handy), while Meca-Gaye Francis '20 could school you in an ‘Elevator Pitch’ battle any day. The second she stepped into the office, Sarah Campbell '19 meant business. Hannah Doro '19 made me want to be a prospective student with the stellar tours she gave, and crunching data was what Mougheis Umar '20 really knew how to do. Working this summer made me want to be better. It made me want to take my passion for people a step further and apply it to projects that would benefit prospective students in their search for the college with the “right fit”.
How Other People Work
One of the most rewarding components of this internship was being able to meet with all University Senior Leadership staff. We learned about the detailed and complex inner-workings of St. Lawrence and I discovered a new-found gratitude for the dedicated faculty and staff we have here. From Dining Services to University Advancement, Safety and Security and the First-Year Program office, thank you. Thank you for all that you do to keep this place running! In addition to these meetings, we were able to learn all the different roles of the employees within the Admissions office, from the crucial high school visits counselors make on an annual basis, to the importance of data collection and analysis to see trends shaping our student body. Each piece of the puzzle is important, and what I uncovered is, it is definitely a much bigger puzzle than I thought.
How to Make Things Work
Giving tours to prospective students and their families was a large part of our intern responsibilities, and I learned that the process of tour giving and tour receiving is much more complex than I imagined. Many times throughout the summer, students came in for a tour after having visited six or seven schools beforehand. Not only can the summer college process be stressful and scary, but also just really long (and hot!). When tours were quiet or a student wasn’t as enthusiastic as I’d hoped, I had to take a step back and consider a couple things. Maybe they were just having a bad day. Maybe I was having a bad day. One valuable lesson I learned is it’s pretty close to impossible to be on your A-Game at all times. I had to learn to be more understanding of the fact that I was often unaware of peoples’ circumstances and contexts. I had to trust that people did the same for me. The best thing I could do during these tougher tours was to do my best, even if that “best” wasn’t so great. I think it’s a lesson that transcends a summer internship in the Admissions office.
Some activities that we’d use to boost our spirits after a day of work included “family” trips to Morgan’s Ice-Cream House (which is walking distance from campus), blast the Mamma Mia soundtrack in our townhouse (housing reserved for seniors during the academic year), and watching ABC’s “The Bachelorette” every week from start to finish (did you watch?). These activities are what brought me closer to these five truly hilarious, wonderful and thoughtful people. This summer I saw live music at Bend in the River Park, I tasted THE BEST soup I have ever had from Nature's Store House on Main Street, and despite the sweltering heat (yes, it gets hot up here in Canton!), we always made our way down to the pitch for a game of Sunday community soccer. On top of all of this, we weren’t alone! There were a number of upperclass students conducting research or doing internships in Canton and on campus. Because of this, we had a nice little Townhouse community where I personally was finally able to put names to faces I had seen throughout the school year.
So, in short:
Am I sad it’s all over?
Am I happy that it’s all over?
Am I grateful for this experience?
This summer made me grateful to have been able to meet so many people trying to figure out their own college paths. Four-to-five campus tours a day can be daunting but with each one we gave, we were able to catch a glimpse of what brought various prospective students to SLU, and hopefully for some, it won’t be their final visit. There were days when I was tired, days when it was too hot, but I think I can speak for all six interns in the office when I say that it was a pleasure to be a part of so many peoples’ college searches. I think of the times I wished I was home, days I didn’t want to go to the office. Conversely, I think back to the days when I had really great tours, when I met SLU alumni during our Legacy Days program, or laughed hysterically in the office with my intern colleagues. Ten weeks is quite some time, but for all that I’ve learned, all the inside jokes I am now a part of, and all the future Laurentians I’ve toured, it was totally worth it. This internship is coming to a close, but now I have even more love for this hidden gem I get to call home.