The incoming students who comprise the University of Georgia’s Class of 2025 have overcome academic and personal challenges wrought by a pandemic that upended their senior year of high school, but their experiences have only strengthened their commitment to learning, connecting and thriving.
“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted my senior year in both a negative and positive manner,” said Kaylah Percival, who intends to pursue a degree in exercise and sport science. “It was a challenge to learn through Zoom and interact with people, but it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to see things in other ways and gave me a new mindset.”
Leticia Nogbe, who intends to major in data science with a minor in business, described her senior year as “a roller coaster.”
“We never knew how long we would be in school for or if we were all going to be sent home again,” she said. “I also missed out on traditions that make senior year magic, like prom.
“Something that really helped me was giving back to my own community. My marketing class of eight converted our school apparel store into a nonprofit food pantry for COVID-19 relief. We managed donations, packaged them and delivered them regularly to families all over our school’s zone. It means a lot to be able to contribute, and I always enjoy doing so.”
Many paths to UGA
Students spent countless hours researching their options by visiting websites, touring campuses, and talking to friends and family. “Day in a life” videos on YouTube were sometimes part of the mix, too.
“I knew that the University of Georgia was prestigious and had resources available to students,” said James Hawran, an intended advertising major. “Upon doing further research, visiting Athens and making some friends along the way, I became overjoyed with the amount of creative resources. I have toured a lot of schools. I cannot think of a single one that even comes close to the entrepreneurial center (Studio 225) on Broad Street, which I intend to use extensively.”
Honors student Julian Fortuna said the opportunity to join a community of scholars through the Foundation Fellowship and Stamps Scholars program attracted him to UGA.
“I knew the university would provide the combination of financial support, opportunity and community I was looking for in a college experience,” said Fortuna, who aims to pursue degrees in political science and international affairs. “I haven’t been on campus yet, but that’s certainly been the case so far.”
Like Fortuna, intended political science major Camille Weindorf said she was looking for a place to challenge herself and grow academically. She found that and something more at UGA.
“As soon as I stepped on the campus, I felt an overwhelming sense of community,” she said. “It felt like home; I knew I wanted to be a part of this Bulldog family.”