The Graduating
Class of


by the numbers


By Sydnie M. Cobb

Notwithstanding Covid-19, Color tests, and the Community Council, the Class of 2022 forged ahead to replicate a social experience similar to pre-pandemic times — though occasionally punctuated by dreaded “I tested positive” texts from friends and bouts in isolation housing.

Though a global pandemic bifurcated their college years and kept many from Cambridge for 18 months, Harvard seniors still managed to undergo a transformative experience in their limited — and socially distanced — time on campus.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported losing their virginity as undergraduates, while 39 percent reported having their first sips of alcohol during their time at Harvard. In addition, more than half of surveyed seniors — 63 percent — reported using marijuana for the first time while a student at the College.

Despite partaking in these “traditional” college experiences, many members of this year’s class flouted Harvard’s very own traditions. A majority of this year’s class opted not to complete the four things — including a plunge into the Charles from Weeks Bridge — every undergraduate “must do” before graduating. Among those that did participate, however, the most popular of the three things was Primal Scream; the least popular was sex in the Widener Library stacks, which only 69 of 422 respondents reported having completed.

Sex and Dating

The Class of 2022 loved love (or hookups). For many seniors, their sexual awakening happened freshman year, with nearly 17 percent of respondents reporting losing their virginity during their first year of college.

Nearly 62 percent of respondents reported using dating apps as undergraduates.

However, despite this affinity for dating apps, a sizable share of this year’s senior class tended to shy away from actual dating. Twenty-five percent of respondents reported being single throughout the duration of college, while a plurality — 39 percent — reported only being in one relationship.

On the other hand, hookup culture was alive and well among the Class of 2022, with respondents averaging four sexual partners. Nearly 10 percent of respondents reported having 10-20 sexual partners throughout college. This figure was higher for recruited athletes and members of all-male final clubs, with more than 20 percent of both groups reporting 10-20 sexual partners.

Drugs and Alcohol

4/20 didn’t just come once a year for Harvard seniors — 27 percent of respondents said they smoked marijuana at least once a month. In 2016, Massachusetts residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

It is no secret that Harvard seniors frequented C’est Bon Market & Liquors throughout their time in college to fulfill all their darty and pregame needs. More than 40 percent of respondents said they indulged in seltzers, tequilas, and everything in between at least twice a week. Though a majority of respondents did not drink as frequently, nearly all — 92 percent — said they have drunk alcohol in the past year.

Tobacco use was more popular among the Class of 2022 than with previous classes. Nearly 31 percent of respondents in this year’s class reported using the substance in the past year, compared to 25 percent in the Class of 2021.

A smaller percentage of respondents — 18 percent — reported using hard drugs during college, a figure consistent with the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. An even smaller percentage — 6.5 percent — reported using non-prescribed study drugs during their time at the College.

A minority of the class spent some portion of the pandemic under the influence of more illicit substances. Seventeen percent of respondents reported partaking in drugs like cocaine and psychedelics over the past year. Only 6 percent said they used non-prescribed “study drugs” like Adderall.

The Four Things

Per Harvard tradition, each undergraduate “must” complete four things before graduating: jump off the Weeks Bridge into the Charles River, urinate on the John Harvard statue, mark the eve of finals season with a nude run called Primal Scream, and have sex in the stacks of Widener Library.

Taking a nude jog around the Yard tended to be the most popular among this year’s class, with nearly 36 percent of respondents saying they participated in Primal Scream. This was closely followed by urinating on the John Harvard statue of which more than 31 percent of respondents completed.

Across the Yard in Widener Library, Harvard seniors spent time on more than just problem sets, projects, and papers. After enduring a dry spell with the Class of 2021, Widener Library saw more action with the Class of 2022, as more than 16 percent of respondents said they got busy in the stacks this past year. Just 12 percent braved the waters of the Charles by jumping off of Weeks Bridge.

Technology and Social Media

After undergraduates evacuated campus in March 2020 and scattered across the world, they kept up with each other through various social media platforms.

Many members of the Class of 2022 seem to have revamped their online personas based on the latest trends. Forty-one percent said they have deleted a social media account since coming to Harvard. Among deleters, 49 percent bid farewell to the vanishing-photo app Snapchat.

Despite controversy, Mark E. Zuckerberg and his social media platforms Facebook and Instagram were favored by the vast majority of respondents. Closely trailing behind these apps is professional networking platform Linkedin.

Despite the ubiquity of social media among this year’s class, a third of respondents reported deleting their accounts on at least one social media platform during college. Of these apps, photo-vanishing app Snapchat — a vestige of many seniors’ middle and high school days — was the most likely to be deleted.

It seems unlikely Harvard seniors will break up with other social media, though, as the majority of respondents reported spending more than 30 minutes per day on Instagram and 15 percent said they spent more than an hour per day on TikTok.