Class of 2019 joins the Herd

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Reed Widdoes, Contributing Writer

As the University springs into the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, the campus is once again populated by the eager, often confused, and fresh faces that make up the new first-year class. Don’t be fooled by their lost looks or stumped stares. Even from their onset, the Class of 2019 has made ripples in the University history books. Students from the first-year class went through an admissions process unprecedented for the University, both in terms of the quantity of applicants and the difficulty of admission. With 10,967 applicants for a mere 2,718 spots, this year’s first-years are the most competitive class to ever walk through the Christy Mathewson Gates. And coming from 37 different countries across the globe, they will bring new perspectives to an increasingly diverse student body. Not only does the Class of 2019 truly make a good first impression in the numbers, but after hearing their stories, there is no doubt they will live up to (and surmount) their expectations.

One of the popular shifts in scenery for Class of 2019 students is a move from the Big Apple to rural Lewisburg. Grevelin Ulerio ’19 is one of these first-years. Ulerio lives in McDonnell Hall and is a member of the Languages and Cultures Residential College. Many students choose to live in one of the residential colleges to experience a unique living and learning environment. Ulerio said she decided to join a residential college because she “wanted to be surrounded by different cultures, just like I am at home.” Ulerio plans to major in Psychology, and is enrolled in Psychology 100 this semester. She hopes to “one day leave a impact” by helping children through her psychiatric work.

 The University is proud to boast a strong connection with its alumni, and accordingly the Class of 2019 features many legacy students, all of whom fell in love with the school just like their relatives did years ago. Meg and Katie Westrum ’19, twin daughters of alumni Deborah and John Westrum ’86, represent just two of the many children of alums in this year’s class. Meg and Katie, who hail from outside of Philadelphia, weathered the storm that was the college admissions process, and are overjoyed to spend four more years together at their parents’ alma mater. Meg said she is “happy to be able to experience what her parents describe as the best four years of their lives, but is excited to create uniquely personal memories.”

Finally, it would be unfair not to recognize the many students that flew overseas and travelled across borders to join the University community this fall. Ikmal Azman ’19, a native of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, endured a 22-hour flight prior to his move-in. Worse, he says, was the 12-hour time zone difference, which made his adjustments understandably difficult. After a long and tiring acclimatization, he is happy to have settled into a normal routine for the school year. Azman is a member of the Humanities Residential College and plans to major in Chemical Engineering. 

“The school work is hard, but it is nice to have such great professors teaching. It makes the whole process easier,” Azman said. 

Outside of his schoolwork, Azman is a member of an intramural soccer team, and really enjoys sharing his culture and learning about others. He is ecstatic to continue meeting people from the various countries represented in the Class of 2019.

While these are just four students from the University’s new class, the diversity they show is a microcosm of the class in its entirety. Students have come from far and wide, either across an ocean, a country, a state, or a street, to make the Class of 2019 the most exciting one the University has seen. From dance, to mathematics, from football to stand-up comedy, this class can do it all, and they are ready to show it.

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