Phil the Road Warrior
Posted by Phil DeBoer in CS on Campus | Nov 15, 2010
They call me the Road Warrior. Actually, that’s not exactly right. No one’s ever really called me that. But I hear it’s a term given to those who champion the harsh conditions of spending extended amounts of time traveling on the road. And considering I just returned from a 6-week recruitment trip away from home, I feel deserving of the title – even if I have to claim it for myself.
It’s true, though. The past 6 weeks I’ve been traveling around to the 14 different colleges around the Midwest that participate in the Chicago Semester program. But to be a “road warrior” implies that one must fight something, right? So what kind of battles might I have been waging for the past month and a half? Well, sleep deprivation is the first one that comes to mind, amid many others. If you include the brief trip I made out to Santa Barbara for a family event, my entire travel spanned 7 states, 4 time zones, 2 round-trip flights, and countless miles of highway. Yet, despite returning home with a serious caffeine addiction, I actually enjoy life on the road for the most part.
A typical day involves arriving on campus early to meet the representative/liaison between the school and our program. He or she would give me my schedule of class visits and a map to acquaint me with the campus. This was my first time visiting most of the schools, so it always took some time to get oriented; but all of the campuses are pretty small, so within a few hours, I usually had a good sense of where things are. I set up my display table with information near the school’s cafeteria or student lounge and then work through my schedule of class visits. Professors would invite me ahead of time to spend 5-10 minutes talking to their students about Chicago Semester. This has always been an effective recruitment technique for us, and I really appreciate the support and advocacy of the faculty. Then, sometime in the afternoon, I meet with students who are especially interested in the program and answer any questions they might have. This is also a chance for any CS alumni in the area to come and share their experiences with the program. Then it’s just rinse and repeat – I do pretty much the same thing the next day and then head off to the next school.
As I mentioned earlier, this was my first time visiting most of these colleges, so I’m glad I’ve now met all of our on-campus representatives and I have a better feel for what each school is like. It will definitely make future recruitment trips much easier. (I am starting to plan the next one now already!) Come February, I’m back at it again. Only this time I’ll have a lot more knowledge and experience – and snow on the ground. Alas, such is the life of the Road Warrior.
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