Confessions of a Clumsy Tour Guide

For those of you who don’t know, I am tour guide for Hopkins. I love being a tour guide; it’s really fun to meet students that are interested in Hopkins and talk to them about my experiences here. Since the New York Times and the Washington Post have been asking for exclusive information about how I cope with being an uncoordinated tour guide, I decided to post all my confessions and secrets about my tours.

Largest Tour: 50 or 60-so people

Smallest Tour: 5 people

Most Interesting Tour: I once gave a tour to a bunch of alumni. They liked to tell the stories about when they were at Hopkins. At the end, I think they ended up giving more of the tour than I did.

Most Interesting Comment: This is also from the alumni tour again, but one of the alumni said that there were a lot more buildings now.

Story that Gets the Most Reactions: We have an urban legend about the seal in Gilman. If I step on it, I won’t graduate. If a professor steps on it, he won’t get tenure. If a prospective student steps on it, they won’t get in. And worst of all, if a prospective parent steps on it, they won’t get financial aid.

The seal during construction! See how it was still blocked to prevent accidental stepping.

I’ve had people step on after I said that, I’ve had people eye it interestingly, and once, I had a woman push her husband far away from the seal!

Statistics that Drops Mouths: 75% of students participate in research during their time at Hopkins. Or when I say that I can’t talk more about my research because I signed a non-disclosure form. Or when I say that if you cross the street from Charles Commons, you get to off-campus housing.

Charles Commons (Thanks JHU_Greco for the picture!)

Most Shocking Question: Do the RAs and security guards check the rooms to make sure that there are no male visitors in girls’ rooms?

Most Oddly Specific Question: What is the average GPA of freshman, the overall average GPA, and the overall pre-med GPA?

Most Common Question: What’s the weather like in Baltimore?

Joke that Gets the Most Laughs: I talk about the rec center and how it is separated with a varsity side and a non-varsity side. I say that this is good because I don’t want to get intimidated by the football players lifting the 100 pound dumbbells while I lift the 1 pound dumbbells.

Favorite Story: I love telling the story about how Remsen, our first chemistry professor and second president, discovered saccharin. Apparently, Remsen was horrible at lab safety. One day, he was in the lab and lit a pipe for some reason. He got bored of his experiment and put his pipe in the petri dish. He got bored of his other experiment and later came back to the petri dish and relit the pipe. He then realized it tasted sweet and realized that he had discovered saccharin or fake sugar.

Favorite Building to Talk About: Gilman Hall. It’s not only a gorgeous building, but it also has a lot of cool stories to tell.

Gilman was our first president. Johns Hopkins gave him a lump of money (and no direction) to create a university, so Gilman traveled all over the world and really liked the European research model of teaching, came back to the United States, and created a research university where undergraduates and graduates were at the same school. He was told he would fail, but it seems like there are still many universities around!

Funny story: We had a mummy named Boris, did some tests (because Hopkins students are very curious), found out that our mummy is a girl, and named her Lotus. She rests in the Gilman basement in the archaeological museum!

At first, I thought these spheres were supposed to represent clouds, but I later learned that they were representations of the artifacts in the archaeology museum downstairs. Confession #1- I learned so much about Hopkins by becoming a tour guide. (Thanks JHU_Sarah for these photos!)

Most Important Thing I Say to Visitors: “I am going to be walking backwards, so please let me know if I am going to hit something or trip before I do because of…”

My Most Embarrassing Moment: I was walking with one of my tours when I hit something, fell, and landed on my butt on the ground. It was pretty embarrassing.

Most Awesome Moment: The HOP was handing out free smoothies on the Beach and they gave some to my tour!

Most Random Moment: On my most recent tour, they was a photo shoot for a security bulletin with a person in a skunk costume.

Cool Moment: One time my friend ran over and said that I was the best tour guide ever to my tour group. That was pretty cool.

Comments on Being A Clumsy Tour Guide: At first, it was a little difficult. When I started tours, my calves hurt for two days. However, I have now built up strength in my legs and I have become great at walking backwards.

Hopefully, I’ll see you on one of my tours!

JHU_Kate T.


From the Breezeway:

Free Starbucks Coffee!

A student discount card that I can use at restuarants and shops around Baltimore!

Posted in Academics, Perspectives, Student Activities |

3 Responses to Confessions of a Clumsy Tour Guide

  1. Ian H. says:

    I really enjoyed this Kate!

  2. Andrew Harper says:

    I highly recommend Kate’s tours as the best in all Baltimore!

  3. Sydney R. says:

    Love it Kate! Once i gave an engineering tour in flip-flops…and my shoes fell off the entire time! :)