Graduates reflect on lessons learned and ‘incredible people’ who inspired them

Fellow fourth-year students Zara Malik and David Liang joined Mattessich to reflect on their transformative experiences at the College. In particular, they discussed how learning through difficult times enabled 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, a student of economics and political science. “By being here today, we have all demonstrated a tremendous ability to turn fear into optimism and anxiety into creativity.”

In her speech, Malik emphasized the importance of leaning into personal authenticity and vulnerability – lessons she learned at a young age from her grandmothers and worked to follow during her time at the Middle School.

“We’ve found that while it takes courage 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 specializes in psychology. “Class of 2022, as you celebrate today, I hope you will not only remember your accomplishments at this school. I hope you will also remember that it is by accepting who you are that those accomplishments have come true.


Samira Ahmed, AB’93, MAT’93, gave the opening address for the ceremony. A New York Times A bestselling author, the UChicago alum has penned a number of award-winning young adult novels, as well as a recent Ms. Marvel comic book miniseries. In his speech, Ahmed compared graduating from college to the culmination of a hero’s journey.

“You stepped forward into the belly of the beast – those same Quads where you were put through trials and tests,” she said. “You have faced many dark nights of the soul as you sleepless nights before o-chem exams and poli-sci finals. You dug deep, you emerged, perhaps slightly bruised, but stronger, ready to grab your reward and improve your world.

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