When Lville Alumni Talk, Students Listen

Angel Xin ’26 in Opinions | May 5, 2023

Lawrenceville prizes its alumni network. Alumni events range from Hong Kong, London, New York City, San Francisco, and many other cities worldwide. The alumni magazine, The Lawrentian, is published on a quarterly basis, informing the alumni community of changes at Lawrenceville in order to preserve a close relationship with graduates. From Broadway actors to renowned professors, many Lawrenceville alumni have thrived in their respective careers and can provide valuable insights to current students about their journey after Lawrenceville. Given the scale and prominence of Lawrenceville’s alumni network, increasing the frequency and depth of alumni visits could better inform current Lawrenceville students about the transition to college and professional life.
Currently, Lawrenceville hosts alumni career panels and workshops to increase this student-alumni connection. At the career panels, alumni from similar career fields talk about their careers and journies after Lawrenceville. Each career panel covers a different field, and with panels spanning from law and government to STEM, students can meet and listen to alumni involved with all their areas of interest. In addition to the career panels, Lawrenceville hosts individual alumni workshops, in which returning alumni speak on subjects that interest them, aiming to give current Lawrentians exposure to topics outside of Lawrenceville’s curriculum. For example, Constance Small ’01 hosted a workshop on Financial Literacy, which taught current Lawrentians about organizing their own wealth. 
Unlike other visiting speakers, alumni can empathize more with current students because alumni have borne similar struggles and felt the same desire to thrive within the Lawrenceville community as current Lawrentians. They lived through a similarly fast paced schedule and understood what it was like to balance athletics, social life, and academics at the School. Although Lawrenceville has changed throughout the decades, especially after Covid-19, Lawrenceville students can still relate to visiting alumni. For example, listening to Kristen Rainey ’97 address the importance of sleep at School Meeting resonated with me more than if another speaker, unfamiliar with the rigorous schedule and late studying nights of Lawrenceville, spoke on the issue. Through acknowledging the lack of sleep she received during her time at Lawrenceville and the challenges she encountered trying to embrace the opportunities at Lawrenceville, her presentation felt more genuine and applicable to my life. 
For me, her presentation drew my attention because I was able to reflect deeply when listening to her words. I felt validated through our shared experiences. These speakers serve as role models and mentors for Lawrenceville students still unsure of their futures. Furthermore, alumni can often create presentations that are more appealing to current Lawrentians. Alumni speakers sat in the same seats as current students: they understood what students were eager to hear, and they wanted to give back to the community that molded their characters. 
In the future, Lawrenceville can still improve its new program of alumni speakers. Namely, the School should increase the frequency of alumni panels, and prioritize one-on-one, personal interactions between alumni and current students. Career panels could be expanded to gather alumni in their old Crescent and Circle houses to exchange conversations with current students, taking advantage of the School and house connections between both parties. In addition, Lawrenceville should host career panels on a monthly basis, rather than once per term; more frequent opportunities will strengthen the connection between the groups by not only introducing a more diverse group of alumni but also teaching students how to connect with professionals, easing the relationship between students and alumni. Furthermore, once per term meetings can be difficult to attend. These panels usually take place between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM on weekday evenings, often conflicting with other extracurricular activities like Orchestra and club commitments. More frequent career panels will give more students the chance to attend and will normalize alumni-student interactions. This change will ultimately allow more alumni to share their experiences, give students more information about life after Lawrenceville, and strengthen the Lawrenceville community.
Graduating from Lawrenceville marks only the beginning of students’ careers. Alumni have already made this transition and have progressed in the professional world. Alumni represent a valuable resource; they can teach students the nuances of specific careers and the lifestyles they require. They can provide information not included in college recruitment emails or job descriptions. To utilize this resource, it is crucial that Lawrenceville increase the amount of alumni exposure. From making career panels monthly events, to opting for alumni speakers during the School Meeting more frequently, Lawrenceville will grow into a stronger community.
In order to offer current Lawrentians more opportunities to connect with alumni, it is crucial to increase the frequency of alumni exposure. From making career panels monthly events, to opting for alumni speakers during the School Meeting more frequently, Lawrenceville will grow into a stronger community.