It's 7:22 p.m. on Friday, August 20th and I am about 1 1/2 hours away from completing my first Campus Education Week. It has been long and hard and tiring, and eye opening. I worked overtime all last week which by Friday and Saturday had almost killed me. No breaks, not much food and I kept forgetting to drink water and go to the bathroom. I was dreading Monday and when it came, I couldn't believe I still had 4 more days. Tuesday was worse, by a million. My job during the week is to sit at the chair at the end of the Info Desk/Hosting table and answer questions, listen to complaints, and help the volunteer hosting staff. I don't get breaks so I end up working about 14 hour days. By Tuesday night I had received so many complaints from so many rude, entitled people who all want an exception to the rules, that I was ready to bury myself in my bed and pretend to be deathly ill. I knew I couldn't do that--I would have to go back to my chair at the end of the table in the Garden Court (at least there are real trees and bushes growing around the INDOOR Garden Court to give me plenty of pleasant scenery and oxygen). Wednesday proved to be much easier, and Thursday too. Today the hardest part has just been trying to keep myself from looking at the clock every 2 minutes wondering how much time has passed.
I have been fed well, or at least fed. It was pretty much like I ate at a fast food restaurant for all 3 meals for 5 days in a row. I am grateful for the food because I know I'd forget to eat if it wasn't just brought to me. I could have gone for a veggie, or fruit or cheese tray, but we cut down on costs this year. Today I got a maple and sprinkle covered doughnut from Sugar' N' Spice in the cougar eat. I used to do that while I was at school on the occasional Friday morning.
I feel sad about missing the greatest parts about Education Week. I didn't hear any classes or get to meet very many of the presenters I've been emailing or phone calling since February. I just sat at my chair at the end of the table and got pounded to the ground with complaints. I keep telling myself to just let go of them, but I feel so badly when I can't help someone. I trust that all 20,000 ish of our participants had a marvelous experience though. In the end my experience wasn't that bad either. Looking back on Monday and Tuesday it seems it wasn't as bad as I thought. My poor dear Watson told me on Tuesday after I broke down in tears that he couldn't wait for the week to be over. I haven't seen much of him aside from our morning kiss goodbye while he's still asleep and then the hour we have after I come home and before I fall asleep. I like my job, but I'm definitely glad that Education Week only happens one week a year. Next year I'll know better what to expect and I'll be ready to hit Monday and Tuesday head on. Here are a few tips from an expert about attending Education Week:
1. Register early.
2. Pay attention to ALL deadlines by checking the website or calling the office.
3. If you register early and don't get your badge in the mail, DON'T CALL THE WEEK BEFORE or you'll have to wait in a long line.
4. Prepare to have a hard time finding parking, and to get a ticket if you park where you're not supposed to.
5. Read all the signs and daily updates before you register in case the whole reason you bought a pass was to see Brother Hall, only to find out his class is canceled and now you want a refund--we put it on the signs.
6. Tape or staple your lanyard to your name badge. If it falls off and you lose your badge, you have to pay $4 -- no exceptions.
7. HOLD ON TO YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS--if you lose something (like your IPAD) this is a gigantic campus and we can't promise it will be found.
8. If you have a serious medical issue (like you can't make it to the bathroom without piddling on the floor), don't stay on campus because we can't promise we'll be able to meet your every need. You'd be much more comfortable in a hotel!