You may have seen us around campus before: always yelling about the Campanile, gesturing boldly towards Memorial Glade, or cruising around on golf carts while giving special driven tours. We’re always out and about on campus, so many people know us as tour guides. However, when you look past the golden name badge, cleanly labeled jacket, and witty campus facts, you start to see the extent to which Ambassadors are actually involved on campus.
Throughout my four years at Berkeley, I have been lucky enough to work as an extension of not only the student body, but of Public Affairs and the professional Berkeley sphere, as well as in outreach, marketing, and communication roles that extend far beyond the 1.5 hour limits of a campus tour. Whether it be fulfilling my roles as a lead coordinator for Cal Day (Berkeley’s annual open house where we welcome over 40,000 people to campus every year), working press conferences and community conversation events, welcoming visitors to the Campanile, writing for the Bear Talk Blog, or facilitating joint department events on campus (collaborating with Cal Athletics, Cal Housing, and many more), this job has kept me incredibly busy, never quite knowing what next shift I could pick up, or what new people I could meet. On the Berkeley campus, as a paid employee and representative of all that Berkeley celebrates, we are trusted with high-profile VIP tours, donor outreach, and important information management, and we are put on the frontlines of the visitor center to field any and all questions about the university. In all honesty, I have never participated in an ambassador/guide program quite like the one at Berkeley, and have certainly never been given such high responsibility, respect, and recognition from the surrounding community as I have in this role.
Above all, this role has allowed me to grow: from a young freshman quite unsure of myself, my place in the world, and my ability to command a large group, to a confident, extremely involved, dedicated leader of the Berkeley community. I’ve pushed myself to take everything this job has to offer, grabbing the most random shifts and seeing where they take me. I’ve taken advantage of plentiful opportunities to take on higher-level responsibilities in managerial roles, soaking in every second that I get to learn and work alongside professional staff members at Berkeley.
As I look back on my time as an ambassador, there is so much that has flown by, and there is so much that I wish I could hold on to as I graduate in the spring. From the amazing leadership team that I get to spend hours on end with doing behind the scenes work on ambassador hiring, Cal Day, Homecoming, and much more, to the incredible larger team of ambassadors that make the job completely worthwhile, I can’t imagine what my life will be like without this role. I have been incredibly lucky to be welcomed into a lifelong community of inspirational, diverse, intelligent, and passionate students and adults alike, and I feel thankful every day that I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and apply for this job in the first place.
On ambassador audition day 3 years ago, I had no idea how my life was about to change. I had no idea that I was standing in front of the team of ambassadors that would hear my story and see something in me: see a potential to make an incredible impact on my community, and see my passion and love for the community around me. I had no idea that in 3 years time, I would be writing this blog post on my computer, wedged between the 10 other tabs open about Cal Day and new ambassador training. I had no idea that I would be in such an incredibly fulfilling professional role, acting as a mentor to younger students, and directing the largest annual event on the Berkeley campus. This job has been full of surprises, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In the simplest words I know, this job has changed my life, and introduced me to a community that I will never forget.