Brown’s 1,756 first-year undergraduate students began their first term at the University on Wednesday, Jan. 20

“Surreal.” That’s how first-year undergraduate Briannah Cook described her arrival at Brown less than a couple of short weeks ago.

Beginning their Brown experience is exciting for first-year students in any school year. But for many members of the undergraduate Class of 2024 — whose start was delayed until the spring term to help the University manage the density of students on campus during the pandemic — it has been hard to believe that they have arrived.

Their wait is finally over. While some first-year students have opted to study remotely this spring because of health and safety issues related to the pandemic, Brown welcomed 1,566 members of the Class of 2024 to College Hill beginning on Jan. 9. And all 1,756 first-year undergraduates — including those living on-campus and studying at home —began their first semester classes on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

But the Class of 2024 began making inroads into the Brown community long before today.

In the fall, they took part in the College’s First Readings program — which this year focused on Brown’s own, pioneering “Slavery and Justice Report” — and had the opportunity to enroll for free in a remote course of their choice. They connected with peer and faculty advisors in the newly-remote Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program, participated in community-building programs led by groups like the Community Dialogue Project and the U-FLi Center and joined virtual events run by countless student-led organizations. Many even launched their own unique initiatives, aimed at facilitating conversations and community engagement from afar.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Class of 2024 for their first full-time semester,” said Dean of the College Rashid Zia. “True to the spirit of engagement and exploration of our Open Curriculum, our first-year students began writing their Brown stories ahead of their arrival. They took the first steps in their academic journeys this fall and engaged remotely with community members who will help them shape those journeys over the next four years. We look forward to witnessing all that they can and will achieve now that they are fully immersed within our community.”

In the following profiles, first-year students from around the country and world shared the wide-ranging passions that drive them, the Brown connections that they have already made, and the possibilities that excite them as they embark upon their first full term at the University.

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