Dear Class of 2023,
The time has finally come. We are now, officially, Harvard graduates.
Like all Harvard students in recent memory, we’ve been inundated with emails over the past four years. But for our cohort,unlike most before it, the emails we received marked life-changing and world-affecting events. As we look back on our time at Harvard, this smattering of emails maps our careers and lives in so many ways.
One of the first notable emails we received from Harvard was the First-Year Move-In email. With the date set for August 27, 2019, we packed up our belongings and lugged them to Harvard Yard. The sun beating down on us, we said goodbye to our families with nervous excitement running through our veins and met our First-Year entryways, our first introduction to the amazing people we would come to know and love at Harvard. We ate in Annenberg together and experienced homesickness together, and these people became our family.
Our bonds strengthened by the day that year — until March 10, 2020, the day an email informed us that we had five days to leave campus. We packed our belongings and left the place and people we had grown to love for the past seven months. Although this email marked two months of online learning, another email arrived that summer notifying us of nine more months of remote classes during our sophomore year.
We still remember the day that we opened that email. The year that followed matured us in a way that not many people experience in their late teens and early twenties. The pandemic changed each of us in different ways. Some of us lived alone, learning how to cope with life independently. Some of us lived with our parents, returning to our childhood bedrooms. Some of us took the year off, finding ourselves by pursuing our passions in life.
But all of us faced great loss or grief of some kind.
About one year later, we heard news of another Move-In Day, this time staggered over a week for the start of our junior years. We returned to campus with even brighter smiles and even more joy seeing friends we had not in over a year. It was bliss.
This past year, we received the email about Commencement. We would be graduating from Harvard College, finally, not only with a degree, but with moments and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Class of 2023, we have overcome challenges, celebrated accomplishments, and experienced events that have altered the course of history here at Harvard. Now, as we set out into the real world, it will be up to us to alter the course of history. Thank you for the amazing memories, and congratulations!
Athena and Chibby
Athena Q. Ye ’23, an Integrative Biology concentrator in Leverett House, is the Class of 2023’s first marshal.
Chibuike K. “Chibby” Uwakwe ’23, a Biomedical Engineering concentrator in Eliot House, is the Class of 2023’s second marshal.