The Class of 2013 on Lawrence

Rachel Young

Every year, as the senior class graduates and moves on to bigger and better achievements, Lawrence University also welcomes a brand new freshman class of students just beginning their college experiences.
These new students come from all over the world, with unique accomplishments and goals for their time here at Lawrence. This year, Lawrence welcomes some 392 new freshmen into the class of 2013. According to an article posted to Lawrence University News, available at, this freshman class is more “ethnically and geographically diverse” than past freshman classes.
Freshmen are given a chance to discover such information about their own class during one of the most enjoyable events of Welcome Week, the annual speech to the new class that informs the students about the demographics of their class, and some of the many incredible and creative activities that their peers have participated in prior to coming to Lawrence.
Some of these achievements, such as the creation of a new language, “Tha’zh“t’kril,” invented by Ryan Kessler, or the tour of duty served by Chris Schmidt in Iraq, are accomplishments that reflect the powerful drive and determination that this year’s class has to succeed.
Though I did not attend the Welcome Week address, I took the opportunity to interview a few freshmen about their own successes, their plans for their time here at Lawrence, their opinion of the school so far, and how their first week was going. I was very pleased to receive positive and ambitious responses — albeit very late. Freshmen need to learn to check their email more than once a week!
One student, Patrick McCorkle, told me that he is currently writing a book on good and evil, and that his goal is “to become a great writer as well as a politician.”
Another student, Renee Kargleder, told me that when she came to Lawrence to visit, she invented an alter ego named Jumbalaya Jenkins to help showcase her outgoing personality. She said that when she discovered that even with her crazily different persona, people here were still accepting and incredibly friendly, she knew that Lawrence was the place for her.
Freshmen Emily Bablitch and Megan Stark, who were featured along with Kessler and Schmidt in the Lawrence online article, both shared with me their love of the outdoors and how their travels camping changed their high school experiences.
Bablitch said, “The wilderness is my favorite place to be; exploring new territories and new heights.” Hopefully, Bablitch’s time here at Lawrence will allow her to do such exploring on an academic plane as well.
As far as adjustment to college goes, the overwhelming consensus among the new freshman is that even though the transition to living independently and balancing school is challenging, life at Lawrence is awesome!
Freshman Amanda Dwyer said that though adjusting to having people around all of the time can be difficult, everyone she has met here so far has been very friendly. She also said, “[Lawrence] isn’t intimidating like I thought college could be.”
Not one of the freshmen I interviewed said that they had had a bad experience with any student or faculty member during their first week here; on the contrary, they all told me that their experiences here at Lawrence have been nothing but positive and welcoming.
Kargleder, who is a cross-country runner and who was here for preseason, said, “I have been on campus for nearly a month now and I love it — the campus reminds me a lot of home, and that’s good, because I’m adjusting to college life. I have made a lot of friends since I’ve been here and everyone has a wonderful personality. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!”
In my opinion, Lawrence should be proud to receive such a glowing review from its new class, and can only expect more inspiring and intelligent contributions to the community from this year’s class of 2013. And, who knows? Maybe in 10 years, Lawrence will offer a class taught in Tha’zh“t’kril.