Guest Column: To the Class of 2022

A Class of 2022 tassel charm sits on top of a graduation cap (Photo illustration by Sam Semerau).

Akaiia Ridley is a senior History major from Albion. 

To the Class of 2022,

We did it. We made it through 4 years of college and are getting ready to graduate. I know a lot of people come to college for different reasons. One of those could be to learn, or to go to parties (that we did and didn’t have) or to make friends (the ones that came and went). 

For most of us, it was to gain a high enough GPA to get a good job after graduation; or to get into that graduate school that only reads the first five applications anyway; or maybe to impress their parents or their parents’ friends or more specifically their parents’ Facebook friends. Most people think of GPA and think of grade point average.

Yes, the grades earned in classes accumulated into one number that determines your fate for the rest of your life…wrong. Not everyone’s life is meant to be placed on a numerical scale. I decided that I want to give a new meaning to having a good GPA that applies to everyone: Growth Patience Attitude 

Growth: How many of us are the same person we were when we walked across the Goodrich Chapel stage at matriculation? I can say I am not. I was just ready to leave and go to whatever frat was having a party. Be honest with yourself. Everyone can look back and say they are probably embarrassed by their freshman year self. If not anything else, how many people actually like their ID photo?  We have been through many situations, both socially and academically that we had to grow from and I think it takes an exemplary person to acknowledge that they are a different person and I think growth over grade any day. 

Patience: Our class especially, because we had two of our four years during a pandemic. A pandemic. Patience was a big requirement during this time. We had to be patient with the world which was trying to figure out everyone’s next move, we had to be patient with our professors who were learning how to teach online—something they never had to do. We had to be patient with our parents who wanted us to come home early just as much as we wanted to be there which was 5%. And we had to be patient with ourselves knowing that it was going to take time to adjust to a new normal that we didn’t realize would be continuous. Which with that leads to

Attitude: Our mindsets were going to need all the help they could get. This was the time to decide whether we wanted to be positive and make the most of it or be negative and complain 24/7. I mean, most of us did both.  You can’t change the circumstances but you can control how you respond to them. But the people getting ready to walk across the stage, I believe, must’ve let the positive outweigh the negative and that says a lot to me. 

So congratulations to the students who excelled with the highest GPA you can get! Experiencing growth, being exceptionally patient and having a positive attitude. We did it, Class of 2022. 


  1. Great words of wisdom, Akaiia! You’ve always made Albion proud. Best of luck to you as you move on to your next journey.

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