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The Class of 2024 Begins a More Typical Year As the academic year began, the Class of 2024 participated in multiple in-person events that allowed them to network and learn more about the many resources available to them at W&L.

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As the Class of 2024 arrived this fall at Washington and Lee University, many arrived optimistic that their second year would yield a more typical college experience than their first.

Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person activities on campus, including the first-year class picnic, were canceled out of an abundance of caution. Now, with more than 98% of the campus vaccinated, the Class of 2024 can participate in more in-person activities on campus.

“I came into this school year wanting to make up for lost time and lost opportunities,” John Lee ’24 said. “I am grateful for having the opportunity to come on campus last year, but it was an abnormal school year, and I feel like I missed out on a lot. It was important for me to start my sophomore year on the right note and set the tone for a year full of discovery and growth.”

On Sept. 8, more than 100 members of the class participated in the SophoMORE Program. The event put sophomores in front of faculty, staff and upper-division students to remind them of the opportunities, resources and support available to them on campus. It is an annual program for sophomores that has occurred since 2013.

“The SophoMORE Program is designed to help students hit the ground running as they prepare to navigate opportunities and challenges throughout their second year at W&L,” said Kyle McCoil, dean of sophomores at W&L. “This year’s program was perhaps even more meaningful given how unusual the first year was for the Class of 2024.”

Hayley Andrews ’24 eagerly signed up.

“I was not quite sure what all to expect out of the program, but it definitely exceeded my expectations,” Andrews said. “Last year, being partially virtual made it difficult to form relationships with professors, so hearing that we would have an opportunity to have lunch with a professor was a huge draw and my favorite part. I was able to connect face-to-face and on a new level with a professor I had never met. It is something I will value for a very long time. Having those sorts of interactions is what W&L is all about.”

Lee also gained some valuable insight from W&L staff.

“As part of the program, we discussed the value of a liberal arts education, listened to a panel discussion about opportunities for student leadership, received a networking presentation from the Office of Career and Professional Development, and met with faculty in our areas of study,” Lee said. “I particularly enjoyed the networking session with Dean John Jensen [W&L’s dean of career and professional development]. Networking is a crucial skill that I will be using for the rest of my life, and it is never too early to start.”

On Sept. 14, the Class of 2024 participated in a make-up class picnic and group photo, an event typically held during their first year at W&L.

“The class photo was another fantastic chance to make up for lost opportunities,” Lee said. “It was a great event hosted by Student Affairs and the Office of Alumni Engagement, and I was able to hang out and catch up with my fellow classmates. But more importantly, having the class photo felt like a sign of things starting to get back to normal. I continue looking forward to the more normal year ahead.”