Kids con­sider univer­sity cam­pus life


Shay­den Varu thought a univer­sity was a place for old peo­ple who write things.

But af­ter liv­ing life as a uni stu­dent - sleep­ing in a dorm and sit­ting through a lec­ture - he now be­lieves univer­sity can be for young peo­ple, too.

The 13-year-old sat through a cod­ing and ro­bot­ics class, where he pro­grammed a robot to move around.

He now wants to study com­puter sci­ence, some­thing he’d never re­alised was pos­si­ble.

Shay­den and his class­mates at Kim­i­hia School in Huntly ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dent life at the Univer­sity of Waikato last week.

For most at the decile three school, it was the first time they’d set foot on a univer­sity cam­pus.

And by Thurs­day, all 61 pupils had dreams to study at ter­tiary level.

The school’s prin­ci­pal, Pamela Dunn, said the trip was about giv­ing stu­dents a hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence of univer­sity life.

The pupils ar­rived on Wed­nes­day and went along to a cod­ing and ro­bot­ics class.

They slept in dorm rooms at Stu­dent Vil­lage, and ate their meals in the stu­dent hall.

On Thurs­day, they went to a lec­ture about en­gi­neer­ing and the build of the Waikato ex­press­way.

The pupils, aged be­tween 11 and 13, were sur­pris­ingly en­gaged, Dunn said.

The ex­press­way runs through Huntly, so they were fa­mil­iar with the road but cu­ri­ous to see how it’s en­gi­neered.

Un­der the new gov­ern­ment ter­tiary stu­dents get their first year free which ap­pealed to Louis Foster, 12, but it’s not what would en­tice him to study at ter­tiary level.

Louis is into de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing - sub­jects that can be stud­ied at Waikato univer­sity.

The univer­sity’s vicechan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Neil Quigley, said for a lot of the pupils, they will be the first in their fam­ily to think about go­ing to univer­sity.

The idea be­hind the stay is for the pupils to see univer­sity as a nor­mal part of the com­mu­nity, he said.


Ruby Messent, 12, Emma Richard­son, 12 and Jes­sica Richard­son, 12, spent time at Waikato univer­sity.

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