They were on a school-sponsored trip with their professor, volunteering in the medical tent. They thought they were going to be treating marathoners' sprained ankles and blisters.
But that changed quickly when the bombs went off. Soon they were helping those injured in the blasts.
"It was a very loud noise," said Alicia Canzanese, "something you had never quite heard before."
"Some people rushed out," said Jennifer Lipman. "And there was screaming, some people running past the doors."
"There were people, medical staff, rushing victims into the medical tent," recalled Hayway Chiu.
The students had no idea what was going on. But they quickly shifted gears mentally and emotionally along with the rest of the medical volunteers.
"You didn't feel safe yourself, but then you also had to deal with this," said Lipman.
"Nothing can quite prepare you for what you saw that day," said Canzanese.
"There were never open injuries like what we saw," said Chiu.
Despite the unknown and the shock of what was coming through the tent doors, the students said they were surprised how well they responded.
"I just put on gloves and grabbed some supplies," said Chiu.
"You can't all be scared," said Lipman. "You have to do it."
"There is no way of knowing how you're going to react or predicting," said Canzanese. "I guess I was surprised at how well I could appear calm so I could calm down people in the tent."
It was a day they will never forget: a difficult day, but one that left them with a new sense of surety as they prepare to start their medical careers.
"If I can do that, then I can definitely deal with other things," said Lipman.
Temple has arranged for group and individual counseling for these students to help them deal with everything they saw and experienced.