Students were given the opportunity to shadow a college student on Shadow Day at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Nov. 18. Run by Project Higher Opportunity for Education (HOPE), the event offered tours, food, and advice about college to high school students.
“Shadow Day not only [focuses] on the academic side, but we also want to show [students] what the college student life [is] like,” Project HOPE coordinator Adele Nguyen said. “I think that that [is] a really great way to help students in high school get a different perspective on college life.”
Students were shown the different dorming options and were taken to actual lectures, varying in subjects, that differed from the typical high school classroom setting.
“Before, I had no clue that professors [do not] pay attention [to] how many students are in the class,” sophomore Emily Chen said. “I also didn’t know how big classes were until I went inside one.”
Nguyen found joy in showing students around campus and bringing them to lectures because she got to experience the student’s perspective and give them something new.
“You see all these high school students like, ‘Wow, look at that!’ and it’s nice and interesting to see,” Nguyen said. “I thought it was really cool, going into lectures, because it’s [400-student] classroom lecture and that’s super big compared to a 30-student classroom.”
Senior Sef Chavarria enjoyed learning about the campus life and student culture.
“Going to college isn’t always about what you’re majoring in. It can also be about making friends and living your life somewhere other than home,” Chavarria said. “I saw the dorms and [the students] just living their life like going to cafes.”
Students also got a feel of the expectations and work habits needed to survive college.
“I saw that there were many students being independent,” Chen said. “Students went around on their own and went to classes when they felt like it. It wasn’t an obligation but more of your own choice and benefit to go to classes and listen to the lecture.”
Volunteers and a panel of UCLA students also provided advice on how applying to college and finding a career that is right for them.
“My favorite part, aside from lunch, was shadowing the volunteer because I was able to have discussions with her about college and experience her daily routine,” junior Sherry Lam said. “I enjoyed listening to their anecdotes recounting their admission process.”
For Chen, going to Shadow Day was a good learning experience.
“UCLA has made me realize how I can achieve my goals and what goals I’d want to achieve,” Chen said. It [showed] me that the only one who can’t make a difference in my decisions is myself.”