These days when I'm on campus, I'll frequently be stopped by some student or other.
"Hey, did you lead my tour?" she or he will ask.
"Man, that was so great. I wanted to come here so bad."
"Glad you liked it."
The price of fame. I think what surprises me most, beyond the fact that I didn't go mad listening to myself talk so much, is that these people remember their tours. For all I know, it could have been one of those times when the tour was just another chore near the end of a long day, a performance that sounded dry and lifeless in my own ears. Even after those tours, though, parents and prospies thanked me and complimented me. And maybe this person, this now current student, was a prospie that day, and maybe that event I don't even remember was a turning point in her or his life.
But the tour I remember most was actually the first tour I ever gave. I hadn't been hired by the admission office yet. In fact, I wasn't even technically a student. It was during my own orientation week, and I was leading my parents around campus. The light was slanted and sharp in that special Oregon-on-an-August-morning way; the trees were swaying in the breeze, the lawn was fresh cut for visitors, and everything smelled green. My stomach was in knots, my palms were sweating, and my voice kept cracking with emotion, excitement, and fear. I was, of course, desperate for my parents' approval, for some token of adulthood to be bestowed upon me, for support of my monumental and terrifying step off a cliff and onto what I hoped would be the solid ground of Reed, for a hint that my parents thought I'd made a good choice. Then, as I paused for breath, my parents looked at each other and Dad said:
"I should apply here!"
Jacob Juntunen is a playwright and freelance writer whom we featured in the May 1998 issue of Reed when his play, Screwscotch, was produced by Edward Albee. He is currently looking for a producer for his Reed thesis, a play called Skism, which is in the hands of theatre producers across the country. This is his first article for Reed.