A Look Back at the Great Class of 2022

Starting off their Princeton careers in a rainy Pre-Rade, the Class of 2022 showed they were not afraid of a little adversity. In fact, throughout their time at Princeton, they exhibited perseverance, resilience, and strength, not least when the Princeton Bubble burst in 2020 with the start of the pandemic, throwing the class into chaos.

However, the truth is that the Class of 2022 is not solely defined by their experiences with COVID-19. The Class of 2022 is a diverse group of people who were brought together in one of the University’s most selective years (only upended by last spring’s admissions cycle) with 1,941 students admitted out of an applicant pool of 35,370. At the time, this applicant pool was the largest in the University’s history.

Upon admission, 24.8 percent of students intended to enter the BSE program, and, of those students, 48.3 percent were women, 17 percent were first generation, and 11.2 percent were legacy students. Recruited athletes represented 11.6 percent of the class.

Although the makeup of the class may have changed, with some members joining the Class of 2023 and some members of the Class of 2021 joining the class, Commencement has finally come, and this year’s Reunions, the first in-person one since 2019, will surely be one to remember.

Header Art by Ashley Chung and Noreen Hosny


Year One

Freshman Year.

Although the Class of 2022’s first year may have seemed ‘normal’ compared to its successor, it was still far from uneventful. Even before the school year began, the first-years made their mark when their unique rowdiness got them banned from eating clubs by the Interclub Council just a few days into Frosh Week.

The historic moments did not stop there. That year, the class experienced Princeton’s first Bonfire since 2013 after the football team remained undefeated in the Ivy League. Students sipped coffee from the newly-founded Coffee Club — now a beloved campus spot — for the first time ever while they scrolled through the first and most popular iteration of Tiger Confessions. Students also faced the tribulations of the now-infamous ‘Campbell Crapper’ as the culprit evaded discovery.

That year, the Princeton community also demonstrated its unrelenting capacity to push for change. Students joined hundreds of thousands of fellow students across the country to urge leaders to act on the climate crisis, gathered at community-wide town halls on behalf of the “Ban the Box” movement to remove the conviction history question on Princeton’s application, and camped out in front of Nassau Hall to protest the University’s Title IX practices. University Trustee Bob Hugin ’76’s run for U.S. Senate sparked widespread campus discourse, as anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic rhetoric from his time as part of the Tiger Inn Club leadership resurfaced.

On campus, students fought to change the room draw lottery process after two students discovered that larger draw groups were more likely to receive earlier draw times and that ordering was the same across 2018 and 2019 for those in the same draw groups — directly refuting claims made by Housing & Real Estate Services. Those participating in room draw this year can thank Adam Chang ’20 and Yang Song ’20 for the changes their investigation brought to the system.

It was a year like no other, and yet would still prove to be the least tumultuous year of the senior class’s experience. At the end of the day, no student could have been prepared for what hit them the following year.

Banner photo courtesy of ODUS

Football on Fire

Year Two

Sophomore Year.

Sophomore year was a year of growing activism on campus. In September 2019, Princeton saw arguably one of the biggest climate strikes organized by students. A month later, the Davis International Center bulletin board in Frist Campus Center was transformed into a Lennon Wall in solidarity with pro-democratic movements in Hong Kong. Within the same academic year, around 100 students, professors, and community members gathered outside of Frist to protest against the Indian government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enacted on Dec. 11.

Such activism was admirable in a time of profound losses due to COVID-19. The sophomore class saw one thing after another taken away from them. First, gone was the excitement of being able to search up a precept crush on Tigerbook. Not long after that, the original platform where students could bond over the good, bad, and ugly of the Princeton experience — Tiger Confessions Facebook group — was shut down. In light of the increasingly uncertain COVID-19 situation, the Ivy League canceled all spring athletic events. Meanwhile, internships under the International Internship Program also got canceled, disrupting summer plans of many sophomores.

However, hardly any day could be more disruptive than March 11, when the University sent students home for the remainder of the semester. Friendships abruptly severed, plane tickets booked a few days before departure, immense uncertainty about the future of their Princeton career, and an inevitable mental health crisis became the remnants of sophomore spring.

Within the same year, sophomores also experienced monumental transformations to Princeton’s academics that generations after took for granted. Starting from October 2019, all course communications shifted from Blackboard to Canvas as we now know it. After eight decades, Princeton decided to organize finals before winter break, enabling students to have a truly restful holiday season. Then, in light of backlash from parents and students, the University extended the pass/D/fail option to all undergraduate spring courses.

As the graduating class walks out of FitzRandolph Gate in a few weeks, undoubtedly facing more uncertainty about life beyond the Orange Bubble, they will look back at their sophomore year and hopefully be reminded that not all hope is lost.

Banner photo courtesy of ODUS.

COVID-19 Timeline
COVID Contemplations

Year Three

Junior Year.

Junior Year was off to a turbulent start for the Class of 2022. Just a few weeks before the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the University reversed its previously announced plans, meaning that juniors were no longer permitted to live on campus in the fall semester. The class saw itself scattered across the world and faced a loss in its numbers as some took a leave of absence to join the Class of 2023.

As spring bloomed, so did the hopes of students making a return to campus after the University invited back all undergraduates, with three-quarters of the class making the journey back. However, the strain of social isolation soured the situation as Social Contract violations piled up.

Despite the hardships of the pandemic, the undergraduate student body used its remaining energy to hold the University and its community members accountable. The American Whig-Cliosophic Society debated its past commendation of Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 amid his involvement with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots. Students gathered to protest in solidarity with MOVE against the handling of MOVE bombing victims’ remains by University anthropologists. And students, along with staff and faculty, on the Resource Committee of the CPUC set recommended criteria for fossil fuel divestment following over a year of activism from Divest Princeton.

The end of the year left campus with a positive outlook for the future. Within the last two weeks of April, things began to take a turn for the better. Students received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, increasingly so as the campus began providing vaccines. Student athletes in track and field, softball, and crew were able to compete for the first time in a little over a year. And the University took an important step in furthering diversity and inclusion in the academic space as the Committee on the Course of Study approved the American Sign Language sequence.

A year marked by unprecedented times set the stage for a year that would hold promise for some sort of return to normalcy.

Banner photo courtesy of ODUS

Divest Princeton

Year Four

Senior Year.

The Class of 2022 returned back to campus for their senior year on a hopeful note. After enduring a year and a half of virtual classes and social distancing, the group came back to campus fully in-person for the first time since 2020. Though mask-wearing and weekly testing were mandated, campus was slowly returning back to normal.

Gone were the days of long-distance zoom calls, time-zone differences, and the Social Contract, in exchange for nights out on the Street, Wawa runs, and Firestone Library study sessions, reminiscent of a time before COVID-19.

The first day of classes came in with a bang, with a tornado warning welcoming students back to the first day of in-person learning since 2020. The beginning of the fall semester brought the University community together again, and students were able to attend the first in-person Lawnparties since 2019. Student favorites such as the Murray-Dodge Café and The Coffee Club reopened after 18 months of closure.

The beginning of the fall semester also brought activism, with Nassau Hall becoming accessible for people with disabilities, the announcement of new accessible transit service, and sit-ins hosted by Divest Princeton.

The class experienced another bonfire, the second during their time at Princeton. However, the fall semester was not all smooth sailing. The semester ended with a few bumps in the road, as a sharp rise in COVID cases reversed the campus atmosphere as students entered the last few weeks of classes. Even though the semester ended with “remote-format” finals and an urge to leave campus at the “earliest possible convenience,” the Class of 2022 finished the Fall strong.

Spring rolled around in a flurry of booster shots and grab-and-go dining, as the semester started off on a cautious note. Indoor mask mandates were lifted after the return from spring break, revealing the full faces of peers that had been hidden away for over a year and a half. Slowly but surely, campus slipped back into normality.

The Class of 2022 prevailed through the hardship and is set to celebrate their accomplishments at the first in-person Reunions since 2019. It’s hard to say what the future will bring, but the Class of 2022 can step through the FitzRandolph Gate knowing they survived through some of the toughest months at Princeton, and came out successfully on the other side.

Banner photo by Angel Kuo, featuring Rachel Myers ’22

Basketball on the Big Stage

Grad College

Grad College.

This year’s departing graduate class saw campus life return to some semblance of normalcy after nearly two years of life and study shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While undergraduate students were met with a large swath of social resources as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, graduate students had to navigate rebuilding a community alienated from University life. As the Graduate Student Government planned formals and happy hours at the DBar (Princeton Graduate Debasement Bar), some students hesitantly opted for smaller gatherings instead in response to frequently changing guidelines. Members of the graduate student community pushed back against the University’s lack of remote learning options at the start of the Spring 2022 semester — a reminder that the pandemic’s effects still persisted.

While many aspects of University life returned to the way they were, graduate student life also saw some welcome changes. In December 2021, the University broke ground on the Lake Campus. Within the next three years, the new campus will house 600 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Following graduate student strikes at Columbia, the University announced the largest ever one-year increase in graduate student stipend rates. This coming 2022–2023 academic year will see an average increase of 25 percent in fellowship and stipend rates.

As this year's graduate class steps out of the Orange Bubble, they shepherd in a new history for graduate students on this campus. They will return to an increasingly familiar but fundamentally different world — ready to face it with their proven resilience and unwavering wisdom.

Banner Photo by Jon Ort

Long Live the Class of 2022

By Naomi Hess

“Long live all the magic we made
And bring on all the pretenders, I’m not afraid
Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you”

I cannot claim to have written the previous paragraph. The writer is the one and only Taylor Swift, in her song “Long Live.” In a way, Taylor welcomed me to Princeton, when my Community Action (CA) group explored a whole exhibit about her on our trip to the Grammy Museum in Newark, N.J. As a huge fan of her music, it seems appropriate to conclude our time at Princeton through Taylor’s words as well.

The Magic We Made

Our four years here have been magical, largely due to the community we’ve created together.

We attended classes where we learned from world-renowned professors. The academic community motivated us to become better thinkers and learners.

We’ve been surrounded by incredible people from different places and backgrounds. Our greatest learning experiences may not have occurred in the classrooms or lecture halls, but in Murray Dodge Café, at late meal, and in the dining halls. Hours-long conversations with friends and even strangers have made us laugh out loud and rethink our previous views.

We were able to find our own homes within the larger campus community. My circle of friends, fondly named “Old Folks Home” after the Triangle Club song, as well as the amazing people part of The Daily Princetonian are treasured parts of my Princeton experience. The friends we made and groups we belonged to brought the magic of Princeton to life.

Our class made this beautiful campus and town into our home. We’ve experienced shared traditions, from the Pre-Rade in 2018 to two bonfires in honor of our football victories to the two-years-late Declaration Day this April. We’ve become frequent customers at The Bent Spoon, Tacoria, and Hoagie Haven. We’ve gone on spontaneous adventures and late-night escapades, creating memories we’ll cherish for years to come.

Ultimately, we all have our own moments reminding us of the magic of the Princeton community, a community that extends long into the future as we graduate and become Tigers in the wild.

The Mountains We Moved

Class of 2022, we indeed moved mountains throughout our time here. Our class has been instrumental in movements to make the University better than the way we found it.

Woodrow Wilson’s name was removed from the residential college and the School of Public and International Affairs, partly due to the advocacy of our classmates. Members of the Class of 2022 participated in activism for Title IX reform, climate justice, a renewed focus on mental health, and so much more.

Our classmates made their voices heard as they stood up for what they believed in. “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” may sound like a lofty ideal, but if we keep that goal in mind as we’ve done throughout our time here, we all have the potential to move more mountains in the future.

Fighting Dragons with You

The past four years haven’t been easy by any means; we’ve fought a lot of dragons. Princeton is undoubtedly a challenging place. We were tested academically and mentally in our classes and independent work, but we persevered.

Our class didn’t expect to leave campus during sophomore year due to COVID-19. The pandemic was an unwelcome interruption to our academic experience. It was also a source of illness, isolation, and grief for so many of us.

However, in some ways, being apart brought us closer. Together, we lived through an unprecedented event — even if the word unprecedented was used so much that the term became, well, precedented. We put intentional efforts into our friendships and sought out ways to stay connected when we were physically separated. This became motivation to make the most of our time on campus when we could return.

Even with all these dragons, we made it through four years here, and we did it together, united as one class. That’s something to be proud of.

Long Live

Our time at Princeton is coming to a close. But as Taylor sings in “Long Live,” “We will be remembered.” The Class of 2022 will be remembered for our contributions to the campus community and for persisting in our education during a pandemic. No matter what happens next, we can continue the relationships we’ve formed as we make more magic together in the world beyond FitzRandolph Gate. I thank you, Class of 2022, for making the past four years so wonderful. I truly have had the time of my life, with you.

Banner photo by Ashley Chung



Brett Zeligson


Alexandra Hong


Audrey Chau

Claire Shin

Eden Teshome

Sidney Singer

Tanvi Nibhanupudi

Senior Names used on the front cover of this website were compiled from the Res College Facebook on May 3, 2022. If you enjoyed this digital commencement issue, check out our Class of 2022 print issue.

Web design inspired by the Commencement Issue of 2021