CHARLOTTESVILLE Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia School of Medicine Class of 2027 gathered with faculty, friends and family to celebrate their White Coat ceremony Friday evening, a ceremony where the students receive their coats that they will see some of their first patients in. 

“Now it’s starting to get serious. We got our white coats dawned on us today, which means we can see patients. I think that brings together the true meaning of medicine, which is helping patients,” said Benjamin Harris.

This year’s new class is composed of 160 students from 29 different states. Though the road ahead is destined to have long nights in the library and hospital, students have already accomplished so much prior to being here. 

"I did a lot of research in neurodegenerative diseases. I did Alzheimer's research in my undergrad, and then I took a year and a half to do glaucoma research,” said Brenan Cullimore.

Students have been attending classes through the past few weeks, but this ceremony marks the first time they get to work with patients hands-on.