by Erikah Swift

Caycay Kelly vividly remembers her first visit to the University of West Georgia.

The drive from Sugar Hill, Georgia, to Carrollton was unfamiliar. The campus was dewy as it had rained the night before, and her nerves about leaving home left her with a feeling that mirrored the dreary day. Before she stepped out of the car, the anxious high school senior looked over to her dad and insisted on going back home.

Caycay KellyToday, Kelly is a sophomore majoring in early childhood education at UWG. Despite her initial hesitation, her experience on UWG’s campus that day made such a positive impression that she submitted her application to the university as soon as she got home from her tour. Now, Kelly is serving her first year as a campus tour guide to make positive impressions on other prospective students.

Kelly remembers feeling that ping of excitement about attending the university once she met Justin Barlow, director of the Office of Admissions. From their interaction, she was hooked.

“He completely changed my mind,” Kelly said. “He spoke about UWG with so much passion and talked about all the amazing activities I could do. Then, I could see myself there.”

When Kelly went on her tour, she felt even more comfortable about attending UWG because of the genuine experience she had with her tour guide.

“She was so accommodating, and she was talking to me as person rather than someone she was trying to sell,” Kelly recalled. “I was sure there had to be more students like her, and I found out there were.”

Kelly felt compelled to become a tour guide after her experience that fateful day determined her path and solidified the course of her college years. She felt grateful to her tour guide and to Justin, and she wanted to give that same experience to someone else.

“I wanted to open people’s eyes when they visit and give them this amazing opportunity of what it feels like being at UWG,” Kelly said. “I’m always the first person to volunteer to give a tour when we have visitors in the office.”

Kelly shared that her experience as a tour guide has been amazing. Throughout her journey, she has learned that UWG truly provides a homey feel.

“I understand how lucky I am to be here,” said Kelly. “There are so many amazing people who are understanding, compassionate, and want you to learn and love it just like they do.”

Kelly credits the Office of Admissions for having a lasting impact on her. She describes the environment as loving – a feeling that envelops you as soon as you enter the building.

“Everyone is so positive,” Kelly said. “My boss, Evan Jaynes, is great. One time I came into work having a bad day, and he gave me UWG pompoms to cheer me up.”

Kelly’s advice for anyone wanting to be a tour guide or to get involved on campus is to simply go for it.

“If you have the love for West Georgia or just the willingness to learn more about the amazing things that do happen once you Go West, becoming involved gives you a sense of investment in what happens here and makes you even more proud to be a Wolf,” Kelly said.

Posted on November 8, 2018