Fellow fourth-year students Zara Malik and David Liang joined Mattessich in reflecting on their transformative experiences in the College. In particular, they discussed how learning through difficult times has empowered them to face future challenges head-on.
“The Class of 2022 embodies both the spirit of our generation—that of nonconformity, resilience and boundless creativity—as well as the hope and optimism of all generations before and after us,” said Liang, an economics and political science major. “By the virtue of us being here today, all of us have demonstrated an awesome capacity to transform fear into optimism, and anxiety into creativity.”
In her speech, Malik emphasized the importance of leaning into personal authenticity and vulnerability—lessons that she learned at a young age from her grandmothers, and worked to follow during her time in the College.
“We discovered that while it takes guts to stick to your beliefs, it takes even more courage to admit when you’re wrong or when you’ve changed your mind,” said Malik, who majored in psychology. “Class of 2022, as you celebrate today, I hope you won’t just recollect your achievements at this school. I hope you’ll remember too that it was by embracing who you are that those very accomplishments became a reality.”
Samira Ahmed, AB'93, MAT'93, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address. A New York Times bestselling author, the UChicago alum has written a number of award-winning novels for young adults, as well as a recent Ms. Marvel comic book miniseries. In her speech, Ahmed compared graduating from the College to a culmination of a hero’s journey.
“You stepped forward into the belly of the beast—these very Quads where you were subjected to trials and tests,” she said. “You faced many dark nights of the soul as you pulled all-nighters before o-chem exams and poli-sci finals. You dug deep, you emerged, perhaps slightly bruised, but stronger, ready to grasp your reward and better your world.”