Interview: Tour Guide Rachel Udabe

 


Rachel Udabe

Cerritos, CA

Graduating year: 2018

Major: Political Science; Public Policy


What’s your name?

My name is Rachel Udabe.

Where are you from?

I am from Cerritos, California: home to world’s largest auto square. So they say. I’ll take your word for whether or not that’s said, Rachel. That means that we have the highest density of auto dealerships. I’ve never fact-checked them. But it’s on a sign. Note to reader: I fact-checked Rachel’s statement and Cerritos Auto Square is indeed the world’s largest auto square.

How do you feel about being from Cerritos?

Honestly, I’m pretty proud. It’s also conveniently located relatively close to USC.

How did you end up at USC?

Well, both my family and I wanted to stay local. I have a lot of siblings, and was guilt-tripped into staying close to home so I can see them grow up. When I was a senior in high school, I didn’t know what “majors” entailed, and I wanted to be a business major at first. She fixed her posture and pointed her chin up. Very businesslike. I don’t really know why I wanted that, but I ended up looking at mostly business schools in the area, and then USC arose as a clear choice both financially and in, she looked off into space suspiciously, other ways. Talking about business really changed Rachel’s demeanor from chirpy to lucrative. And then I immediately switched out of being a business major. Chirpy once more.

What do you study, what do you like to do?

She giggled to the extent that I thought that was simply her answer and was ready to move on. But then: I’m studying political science and public policy with a minor in ‘education and society,’ and I want to go into education policy. But honestly, I’ve been trying to tell as many people as would like to listen to me, that I strongly regret having a double major and minor. I’ve had so many requirements that I haven’t been able to take many of the incredible classes and electives USC offers! With one year left, I’ve been looking at class registration and thinking “Auugh! I wanna take all these things but I can’t!” and it makes me sad. If you have any elective space, don’t fill it up with classes that you wouldn’t enjoy.

Elaborate a bit on your majors and minor of choice. How did you come to choose those?

In the most generic of terms, the political science aspect is the theoretical side with a lot of foundational texts, as well as understanding the underpinnings of American and international government. Public policy is much more practical, with things like memo writing, analyzing policies and their impacts. And then education is kind of tacked on there, in order to help myself get a better understanding of both domestic and international education policies. How these policies affect students, why are some educational systems better, and why are some worse.

What else are you involved in, who are you?

Let’s see, who am I? I’m just this person with a lot of energy. She raised her hands with her palms inwards, apparently using them to help contain all her energy. Well obviously, I’m a tour guide so that explains some of it. But during my time at USC I was an orientation advisor, just bouncing up and down campus helping kids orient themselves. Here’s me blanking about everything I’ve ever done. She then blanked about everything she had ever done. I worked with JEP, the Joint Educational Project to tutor in local schools. She froze again. I forget literally everything. Rachel then un-forgot everything. I’m part of the Latino Alumni Society Scholarship Committee, I interned with Green Dot Charter Schools last year, and this past year I ran for Student Government President without any Student Government experience. That was interesting.

Why did you run for Student Government President?

Because I thought I had a lot of experience around campus and thought I could bring to student government which wouldn’t be represented otherwise.

Now you work for the Admission Center.

Yes.

How’d that happen?

I had wanted to be a tour guide since before I got here. I applied for the position immediately, even before I knew what it really entailed. I thought it was a volunteer gig, and then I found out you get paid for it. What icing on the cake. She smiled smugly. Perhaps the business side of her wasn’t completely gone after all. I applied for both tour guide and ambassador because I thought that would increase my chances of getting in the Admission Center. Which is not how it works. We at the Admission Center can confirm that is indeed not how it works. I’m glad that I’m here, because I was late to my group interview. I woke up 10 minutes before my interview, so yeah. Having an 8:00 AM interview stinks.

How do you like being a Tour Guide?

I love it. I really love how you give tons of tours, but they’re not the same. None of them are the same. I change my anecdotes based on who’s on the tour, what the students are interested in, and now being a super old senior, AAAH! Joint pain? Which I hate saying. Oh, existential actualization. I have a lot of stories and experiences to make the tour a lot more personalized and relevant to the visiting students.

Tell me a story about something that happened in the Admission Center.

Whenever I answer the phone, my greeting is “Hi, you’ve reached the USC Tour Guide Office. My name is Rachel, how may I help you?” And one day, someone asked me, “Is this a recording?”  And I said “No, no, I’m a real person.” Instead of saying “okay,” they waited for a moment and responded, “Are you sure,” Rachel laughed, presumably because the story was funny, not because the person laughed themselves. “It sounded like a recording.”  And I told them, “Nope. Just me…” but they just did not believe that I’m a person. Fact: I am a person. Note: Rachel could not provide a citation for this fact.