SJU gives young students a slice of college life

Some local middle school and high school students got an early taste of college life on Tuesday.

“College for a Day,” an event sponsored by Haraya, gave 14 students from H.S. 477 School for Legal Studies in Brooklyn and six middle school students the opportunity to follow St. John’s students from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and experience collegiate life.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said sophomore Lee Elie, vice president of Haraya. “We were looking for activities to do for community service and we thought this would be a nice way to give back.”

From there, Elie said Haraya worked with the St. John’s School of Education and arranged for the 20 students to spend four hours on the Queens campus.

A total of 15 St. John’s students volunteered to be shadowed and took the high school and middle school students in small groups to experience a typical college routine. Elie said he felt this approach was better than a single group tour.

“I think one of the good things about this was that not every student did the same thing, they each went on their own journey,” he said. “Some kids got a chance to sit in on a class, others got to go in the library, some visited the WSJU radio station, they all got a piece of college life.”

Elie also said that the opportunity was just as much of a learning experience for him as it was for the students.

“It made me realize how much we take for granted here because the smallest things to us seemed so big to them,” he said.

The Haraya vice president said he found that students were most taken with the Marillac Hall food court, public safety and that cell phones are allowed on campus.

“It made me appreciate the freedoms we college students have, even more,” he said.

Elie said he felt the College for a Day event was more successful than he originally envisioned and that he would like to hold more events at least once a semester.

“I would love to continue working with the School of Education and eventually incorporating more groups on campus so we can get more college students involved and so we can truly offer these kids the best college experience we can,” he said.