My name is Jacob Howle and I am from the small town of Idalou, Texas which is about 15 minutes outside of Lubbock where I attend Texas Tech University. Along with serving as an ambassador for Texas Tech through the organizations President’s Select and Chancellor’s Ambassadors, I also have the privilege of being a part of Mortar Board, serving as the official photographer on cabinet for the Student Government Association, and have served in the past as a Red Raider Orientation counselor where I had the awesome experience of welcoming the Texas Tech class of 2020 to the university. I have just completed my sophomore year at Texas Tech and studied abroad this past spring semester in Seville, Spain. I am actually writing this blog from San Luis Potosi, Mexico where I am participating in a month-long study abroad program through Texas Tech for a second time.
Being an ambassador for Texas Tech University has been the most rewarding experience of my college career. At Texas Tech, the majority of our ambassadors are members of an organization called President’s Select. Students selected each spring for this prestigious organization are evaluated based on their academics, extracurricular activities, how personable they are, and their passion for the university through an application and three-round interview process. After the next class of members are selected, they undergo a training period where they learn how to conduct campus tours, rules for athletic recruiting, and generally what it means to represent the university as an ambassador, both on the job and off. President’s Select works with three main offices on campus: the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of the President, and Texas Tech Athletics. Through this organization I have had the opportunity to travel to several events for incoming students with the President of the University, speak with recruits and their families about our athletic departments and facilities on the field during a Texas Tech football game, and I have given countless campus tours to where I could walk the tour route backwards without even checking behind me.
Overall, being an ambassador has provided me with unique experiences to develop as a leader, professional, public speaker, and person, and to speak with students in a pivotal moment in their lives when they are deciding to attend college. I understand fully what it is like to be a nervous senior in high school scared to step out into a world without supervision, and to be incredibly worried college won’t be the experience I have built it up in my head to be. It is one of my favorite parts of being an ambassador to share with students and their families that I was in their shoes not too long ago, and now I have incredible relationships with professors and colleagues, I have had awesome opportunities to travel and see the world through study abroad programs, and the best is that I have the opportunity to tell them why I love my university so much and provide them with tangible ways and resources to allow them to love it as much as I do. I think one of the coolest parts of ambassador programs on college campuses is how it puts a face to the university for the students and their families.
When I think back to all the countless schools I toured my senior year of high school, I don’t remember all of the specific landmarks and traditions of each school, but nine times out of ten I do remember the person who gave me the tour and how they spoke about the school they attended. This can put a lot of pressure on an ambassador because what the student is doing is they are observing how you love your university and passing judgement on whether or not they would like it based on how you speak of it. I don’t see it as pressure, because when I am giving a tour to a student and their family I’m sharing with them the opportunities that I’ve had here, the friends I have made, and the memories I am in the process of making. Love and pride for my school just continuously flows out of me in a way I can’t describe or contain. Like I said, being an ambassador is so cool and so unique because it puts a face to the university for a prospective student. Not the face of a paid staff member, or a beloved mascot, but the face of an actual student volunteering their time to share their campus with strangers. A student who has a heavy class load because they are taking 18 hours, and are also juggling a part-time job and several extracurricular activities, but who still takes the time to give a campus tour because it really does mean that much to them.
I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given at Texas Tech through serving as an ambassador, and I am so excited to see where these next two years lead me as I meet prospective students and assure them that yes in fact, I was an anxious senior in high school as well.