UConn’s Class of 2024 is like no other. There’s a lot they didn’t get to do (proms, graduations, first-year welcome parties), but let’s take a look at who they are as a group and what, as individuals, they’ve already done and — undaunted — still plan to do.
This group of 5,750 first-years is more diverse than former classes — 44.7% are nonwhite; about 18% have Hispanic/Latinx backgrounds, and about 7.5% are Black. They are highly accomplished in terms of high school ranking — more than half graduated in the top 10% of their high school classes. And circumstances have forced them to be more flexible and resilient than classes before them — rolling with every change and pandemic possibility thrown at them and then showing up in Storrs, Stamford, Hartford, Avery Point, and Waterbury ready for anything.
Most of all, they seem overwhelmingly grateful to be here, on actual campuses and virtual campuses among friends and friends-to-be — even if the experience looks a bit different than what they pictured a year ago.
Like so many first-years before them, they wrote their admissions essays and imagined those first weeks in college. They pictured crowded classrooms, parties, and games, dorm rooms with roommates, and gift boxes filled with Husky-emblazoned mugs and tees — but certainly not face masks. And while this class is already iconic for reasons they’d rather were not a part of the picture, their essays — submitted shortly before “Covid” and “pandemic” became part of our daily lexicon — are a reminder of that recent social-embracing past and also the not-too-distant future, a future full of those heady college daydreams and all that ambitious career planning coming true. Here are excerpts from just a few of our favorites.