Dear Class of 2022,

A Letter to the Class of 2022

When day after day blurs into the same routine, our eyes are red from the Zoom screen, work is piling up, the unread emails are accumulating — we are all trying and some days, that is the only thing we can do. Some days, that *has* to be enough.

May 9, 2022

Dear Class of 2022,
In twenty-two days, we will be standing on a stage together, in front of friends, family and faculty accompanying us — in-person and online. I am so full of gratitude for my time at university. None of our achievements at NYU Abu Dhabi would have been possible without the kindness, generosity and support of the UAE, whose focus on education and emphasis on academic excellence enabled us to live in a safe city like Abu Dhabi and call our wonderful Saadiyat campus home. Today, however, I wanted to take a moment among finals week, Capstone defenses and grad school plans, to thank , my classmates, for the past four years.
I found out about NYUAD completely by coincidence, from a family friend. If any of the tiny moments leading up to that discovery had been even the slightest bit different, I do not know where I would be or what I would be doing at this moment. In a way, I do not want to know. Having attended NYUAD now seems like the most obvious choice in the world — the only one that makes sense to me. My time at this university has shown me not only who I want to be as a person, but also the value of friendships and their potential to last over time and span across continents. The people I met in my freshman year remain some of my closest friends. I have had the chance to interact with people from countries I’ve never been to and who speak languages I’ve rarely heard spoken before. I learned about their cultures, traditions and beliefs — an enriching and unparalleled experience. The stereotype about graduating with friends around the world is true — you really do end up with a couch to sleep on anywhere you might want to go. But what has made our class strong as a community is not only having celebrated achievements. It is the fact that we have faced challenges together.
Graduating during a global pandemic is undoubtedly an outcome nobody could have anticipated. The pandemic has been devastating to many members of our community. It has shattered many of our plans and led us to miss out on certain opportunities which are usually staples of the NYUAD experience, such as studying away or hallmark community events, and, you know… in-person classes. However, as a result of the incredible creativity and dedication from the administration, we were also offered other opportunities which we wouldn’t have previously had, such as the chance to take classes based at other campuses in the NYU global network while living in Abu Dhabi or at home. We managed to keep up with our academics in a way that allowed us to graduate today or, for some of us, to be graduating soon.
As a class, although we have had many shared experiences, each of us also had individual challenges over the past four years. Through Zoom exhaustion and being away from fellow students for many months, we stayed on the path to completing our degrees. Some have suffered personal losses due to COVID-19, while others have been or presently are affected by wars in different parts of the world. Despite all the anxiety, uncertainty and grief, you have carried on. That in itself speaks volumes about the resilience of this graduating class. Difficult moments, while we would have probably been better off without them, have brought us closer. Whether present on campus, on a leave of absence, or graduating off-cycle — we have all shown immense endurance and motivation. I believe that online learning has also taught us that, above all else, we have the responsibility to take care of ourselves. I am proud of each member of our class for trying to balance academics and health and trying to find the best path for ourselves. I try to be the best student I can be, the most supportive friend, the happiest and, as many will relate, the most employable version of myself. When day after day blurs into the same routine, our eyes are red from the Zoom screen, work is piling up, the unread emails are accumulating — we are all trying and some days, that really is the only thing we can do. Some days, that has to be enough.
In a community of talented, intelligent and hardworking people, I know it can be difficult to say “this is enough”. Don’t get me wrong, I do encourage ambition. Dreaming big and working for it are all integral attributes to the Class of 2022. However, after four years of embodying these ideals, I’d like to appeal to my class to, while pursuing whatever your personal definition of “success” is, to have the courage to tell yourself you’ve done enough, for now, and that you are enough, always. Different things are important to us, and we have various plans, whether a gap year, work, or graduate school. We all decide what our priorities are and what success means in our case. Whether that means in ten years having your own company, a family, being a professor, a freelance photographer, or a prime minister. What we have in common is our unique undergraduate background and the undying need to keep trying, even when some days it seems impossible. Now, we just have to remember to be kind to ourselves and one another. I find particularly encouraging a lyric from “Vienna” by Billy Joel, a song which has accompanied me throughout my senior year, a song whose meaning I resonate with and I hope that you will, too. Here it is — “slow down, you’re doing fine, you can’t be everything you want to be before your time”. We are doing fine, just fine, each of us in our different ways. We will reach our goals at different speeds and maybe even formulate new, more valuable goals on the way there.
Dear Class of 2022, it has been an honor and a privilege — and great fun. Wherever we end up and whoever we become, let us keep our violet pride. Thank you and good luck!
Morgane Motlik is Senior Columns Editor. Email her at
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