Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Campus Tours

Today, I'm meeting up with my 10-yr-old nephew to give him a basic tour of the University campus and to bring him to Tulane's world famous Latin American Library. He's got a school project on Mexico; and, of course, his first inclination (and that of his parents, too) was to call me as the expert to answer his questions and help him with the project. But my idea was that it would be better for him to get used to doing a bit of library research on his own. And since he's on Thanksgiving break all this week, I figured why not have him come by. When I mentioned this to him, he got very excited, as if he were going on an excursion to the moon. And then it dawned on me that, for him, making a trip to a college campus and visiting the "big" library (what he calls it) IS like going on a field trip to the moon. I don't think he's ever set foot on a college campus.

What struck me all the more is that this is probably a very common reaction by many young kids. College (and the college campus) is a mysterious and maybe seemingly unattainable world. All the more true for kids (like my nephew) whose parents never went to college. Makes it all the more imperative to me to try to work with some of our local public elementary schools to set up "college" days, where fourth through eighth graders can have an early experience with the college environment both to demystify it as well as to make it seem like an attainable goal.

Come to think of it, my parents, who themselves never even formally finished high school, though they put 5 of their 6 kids through college and went to all the college graduations, still are like fish out of water on the college campus. I'm sure there's probably some convincing research on the matter, but I'm certain that the more likely one is from an early age to think of college and college campuses as a regular part of life, the more likely one is to aspire and reach for college.


Howie Luvzus said...

Great idea! I think I'll talk to the Xavier librarian and see if we can do that here!

Eric said...

Agred, Huck, that is a great idea. Maybe that will save some of those kids from making the same mistake my daughter made when she was about 4 years old and saying, in front of a room full of family who still haven't let me live it down, "You mean OU is a college? I thought it was a football team."