So, I’ve been stressed and sleepless and really disappointed recently and most of the disappointment has been with myself and one solution to being that way is to just get out and do something productive for society instead of being a cow. Such as volunteering time at the open day for an educational institution. Get off one’s arse and walk the walk. Get offline and be a part of a real-world community which can use a helping hand. Get out of the rut and see if things are really so bad in terms of people seeking further education or desiring to use their minds.
I didn’t expect to get under a waterfall in the middle of a tent, however.
The day didn’t start particularly well, but it still looked quite beautiful, all misty and grey.
This beauty, however, is misleading – because all that misty stuff is water and that is going to land all over me in about four hours time.
Volunteers get to work in a number of places according to where they’re allocated, but I promptly got distracted and lost by heading to the first information tent to ask for directions to get to the briefing meeting. In the tent was a Hapless Professor™, juggling a large number of boxes with flyers for his particular department. Would I like to help carry boxes? Sure. Would I like to help carry them to where the tent used to be last year? Okay. Would I like to carry them from one end of the campus to the other, in an ever-widening circle of befuddlement as to where the tent is this year? Eerm.
I was rescued by some tourists who came all the way from the other side of the country to have their daughter check out the performing arts centre and I found the tents for this year were nestled right next to the centre. So, I got the Hapless Professor™ and his boxes reorientated towards the tents and found the briefing room where I checked in and got my Team Badge and Team Map and was allocated to work for the morning in a Team Tent out in the front carpark of the performing arts centre.
This was the best place to be. Hundreds of potential prima ballerinas and musicians and hopeful actors and broadcasters and Arts Managers came over to collect their guide and Open Day bag and pens. They all went up those stairs to the centre and took their mums and dads and grandmothers and kids and went to tours and exhibitions – and came out with even more flyers and often completely drenched after running from building to building to hear lectures. Everyone was so happy though, because they so wanted to be students; it’s a really competitive and prestigious program.
After prancing about the carpark with very charming and funny Official Team of Volunteers,with the Official Team Rain Poncho and the Official Team Umbrella doing the Official Come Over Here For Your Information Needs Dance Of Enticement to lost folk, I was allocated the main tent with a clicker to count people coming through the door for a few hours.
You can probably see some raindrops on it because I was by a door, so I could record everyone! Every fifteen minutes another group would run in from the wet and head over to the booths and get information and I would click away and keep track of the numbers attending.
I think I went “ARRGHHH!” for about a second and then just lept to my feet, siezed a seat nearby, stood up on it and grabbed that tent flap and held it up in my fists to stop any more rain getting through. It just was the only thing to do – about a bucket of water had splashed everywhere and the rain was throwing down even more buckets and the place was filled with people. Even some kids, who just rolled on the ground in hysterics. Apparently I look funny when I’m standing on my toes on a chair holding up a tent roof full of water.
Thankfully there were people who went to find maintenance to sort out the tent roof and find a bucket (there was a bit of hoisting and pushing the water out of the seam to the side of the tent so it could flop out and run away) and I finished my clicking with only a bit of drippiness on the papers.
Then I had a lunch break and so I headed over to the Broadcasting building to do a tour; they use GarageBand and ProTools when editing:
Then I checked out the television studio:
And saw some of the dance studios on the way back to the carpark to do some more directing people to buildings:
It was a good day as I got to talk to young people, encourage them to check out the departments and emptied out the water in my shoes fairly successfully before getting in my car to drive home.
Thus I made my debut as the first water-ballet performer balancing on one leg, holding up a tent for an audience at WAAPA, for ECU Open day. I’m certain Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp would have been proud of me. Or maybe just laughed.