Class of 2022 valedictorian wearing graduation cap and gown on Lafayette campus

Saide Singh ’22

Major: English; history minor

Co-curriculars: Posse Scholar, McKelvy Scholar, Resident Adviser, EXCEL Scholar, Writing Associate

Post-graduation plans: Pursuing a Ph.D. in English at University of California, Santa Barbara, in the fall

Describe your senior year in three words.

Hot girl semester! A massive shoutout to Megan Thee Stallion for coining the phrase ‘Hot Girl Summer,’ which inspired me to create a Spotify playlist during my freshman year titled ‘Hot Girl Semester.’ More than uplifting women-penned songs, the phrase is a constant reminder to take care of myself so that I can best show up for the people I love. In other words, a ‘hot girl semester’ means indulging in fun and adventure.

What does being valedictorian mean to you?

An acknowledgment and nod to my friends, family, and professors who have always championed me through my studies.

What’s your favorite Lafayette memory?

After receiving a Posse scholarship, I visited Lafayette for the first time in April 2019. When my Posse and I stepped off the bus, I remember Dean Matt Hyde standing on the steps of Markle Hall and saying, ‘Welcome home.’

What’s the most impactful class you took?

Although I only had six semesters at Lafayette, I have tried my best to take classes with Prof. Randi Gill-Sadler. Of the four classes I have had with her, I can confidently say that every single class has impacted me, inspired me, and given me the necessary tools to critically think about the relationship between colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism. Prof. Gill-Sadler continues to inspire and champion all the work I have done and will continue to do as I pursue my Ph.D. I would simply not be the scholar I am without her.

Who was the most influential person during your time at the College?

Prof. Megan Fernandes has not only been an incredible adviser to my honors thesis, she has guided me through the arduous process of graduate school applications. She has given so much of her time, energy, and commitment in the form of editing, encouragement, voice memos, text messages, emails, dinners, and coffee chats, all while teaching incredible classes and inspiring so many other students here at Lafayette to think beyond.

What will you miss most about Laf?

I will miss being in the same ZIP code with all of my friends and doing work in Pardee.

Describe your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.

As a rather introverted person, it takes me a little bit of time to connect with people, and finding and creating my own community here at Lafayette has not always been easy.

What do you wish for your fellow graduating classmates?

Do what you love. Not only in your career, but in your everyday life.

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

Breathe and have fun.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with upcoming seniors?

I am absolutely not qualified to give any advice, but I want to remind you it is absolutely OK to be unsure of what you want to do after graduation. However, always keep an open mind, start giving yourself options, and make plans that align with your future goals. At the beginning of my senior year, I was studying for the LSAT and knew that I really wanted to be out on the West Coast. Though I do not get to live out my Elle Woods dreams, I still get to be out in California, and now I get to study Indo-Caribbean poetry and literature. I could not be happier.

How has Lafayette changed you?

The friends and professors I’ve met at Lafayette have shaped me into the person I always hoped I could be when I was younger.

How do you hope to change the world?

I hope to become a professor and teach classes that center Indo-Guyanese women’s poetry, carrying the legacy of Brinda Mehta, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard, and the many other incredible Afro and Indo-Caribbean scholars.

The most important thing you learned about yourself at Lafayette is:

Though my time at college ended a year early, it was also marred by an ongoing pandemic. Staying at home for a year, working in a small vintage camera shop in Brooklyn, and witnessing the city change right before me made me realize that I am nothing without my community and support systems.

Commencement Highlights

Lafayette College's 187th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 21

Video, photo galleries, recording of the full ceremony available

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Categorized in: Academic News, Class of 2022, Commencement 2022, English, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students