(WTNH)–While a lot of college seniors may be out at the bars whooping it up with their friends, two Quinnipiac students chose a different way to spend their last year at school. They moved into a home for the elderly and spent nine months with people three times their age.
It was a first-of-its-kind, experimental program that started back in September as college students arrived for the first day of school at Quinnipiac.
Two students didn’t move in with their friends on campus, but chose to live in Wallingford in the Masonic care assisted living community. After nine months, today was move out day. Joe Huberman, a Quinnipiac student, couldn’t believe how fast the time went.
“I was just talking to my friend and he said you can never waste a hug. As I was saying goodbye to him, and that is something…you always hear little things like that every day,” Huberman said.
They reminisced between the tears and hugs as two Quinnipiac student say goodbye to a room full of seniors. Not senior students, but senior citizens. Tia Kozar decided to live in the Masonicare Community side-by-side with with the 70, 80 and 90-year-olds.
“I think it was a much better time spent and it was actually funny some of my friends are like, ‘Where can I sign up for this next year?’ I’ve had friends in for bingo for everything, they spend more time here than we do anywhere else,” said Kozar.
Alice Mill Leighner lives at Masonicare Wallingford and helped in the selection process for the two students.
“I thought it was great, they liven the place up and they brought a new perspective and they were always friendly always upbeat,” she said.
Move-out day was emotional, but as the seniors partway with the seniors, it was clear that each made the other’s lives richer, and better and stronger. Tia promises to visit often, as she has family in Wallingford.
“Who better, they know, if you have been married for 60 75 years clearly they’re doing something right,” Kozar said.
Joe also plans to return, but also take with him the knowledge she learned in this experience as he heads off to a career in elder care.
“I also learned a lot from them, they were my friends but they were also my mentors, and they were collaborating with me. I shared laughter with them, I ate with them, I did all these things with them, and it was just so rewarding,” Huberman said.
This one-of-a-kind program is so popular, Masonicare says they already have students applying to live here next year.