In this blog post, I’ll share the saga of the Class of 2022’s Ring Delivery, from its initial conception to its pandemic cancellation to its surprising revival. I’ll also share my experience going to two different classes’ Ring Deliveries (2022 and 2023), which I had the opportunity to attend because of my gap year.
But first, some history: MIT began its class ring tradition just under a century ago in 1927. The nickname “Brass Rat” emerged in 1929 to reflect the prominent beaver on the bezel of the ring — a design element that has persisted to the modern day. MIT students traditionally receive Brass Rats in the spring of sophomore year at a formal event called Ring Delivery. I’ve always viewed Ring Delivery as a rite of passage. It’s a celebration of reaching the halfway point on the path to receiving an MIT degree.
The Class of 2022 (my original graduating class before I took a gap year) was supposed to have our Ring Delivery in Spring 2020. Due to the pandemic, Ring Delivery got pushed back a few times and then cancelled, which was pretty sad. Then, in a surprising change of plans, the Class of 2022 organized a Ring Delivery event, which was held last weekend at the Boston Park Plaza.
Table of Contents:
Ring Premiere (Feb. 14, 2020)
Ordering My Ring (Feb. 19, 2020)
Postponement #1 (Mar. 17, 2020)
Receiving My Ring (June 1, 2020)
Postponement #2 (Jan. 11, 2021)
Cancellation (Sept. 17, 2021)
Rescued by the Class of 2023 (Oct. 10, 2021)
“Ring Delivered” Emerges (Fall 2021)
Ring (Finally) Delivered (Feb. 13, 2022)
February 14, 2020
For each class, a Ring Committee (also known as just “RingComm”) is formed. RingComm is tasked with designing their class’ Brass Rat and organizing all of the associated events (mainly Ring Premiere and Ring Delivery). Ring Premiere is the first big event held by RingComm, in which they unveil and explain the new Brass Rat design.
I went to the Class of 2022 Ring Premiere in my sophomore year, before COVID-19 had left its mark on campus. It was probably one of the last big, unmasked events I attended. It was held on Valentine’s Day evening, which felt fitting; one of the common jokes about the Brass Rat is that it marries you to the Institute. I loved all of the different elements of the ring design and how they came together to make a unique but very recognizable ring.
That night, we also found out when and where Ring Delivery was going to be held: April 19, 2020 at the Boston Park Plaza.
Ordering My Ring
February 19, 2020
A few days after Ring Premiere, I joined a long line of 22s in Lobby 14 to order my Brass Rat. There were a few forms to fill out and measurements to be taken. I filled out the forms while I waited in line. I ordered two rings: one stainless steel ring for daily use and one gold ring for special events. There were so many different colors to choose from. If I could have ordered one of each, I would have.
March 17, 2020
In March of 2020, MIT undergraduates were asked to leave campus due to rising COVID-19 cases in Boston. It was a surreal and scary time.
The Class of 2022 got an email from RingComm on March 17, 2020, just two days after I had packed up my dorm room and left campus. The email stated (unsurprisingly) that “due to the current circumstances Ring Delivery will no longer be happening this April.”
I remember reading that email. I was sitting in my childhood bedroom, emotionally exhausted from how much change was happening all at once. At the time, many of us still thought COVID-19 could be eradicated through a few weeks of social distancing. The email reflected this optimistic view, stating that “we will be having a Delivery event this fall.”
As time went on and the pandemic continued well into the summer, the possibility of a fall Ring Delivery seemed less and less likely. MIT ended up only inviting seniors (the class of 2021) back to campus that fall. The vast majority of 2022s wouldn’t return to campus until February 2021.
Needless to say, Ring Delivery didn’t happen that fall. And even if it had happened, I would have been away on my gap year.
Receiving My Ring
June 1, 2020
Even though we were scattered across the globe, RingComm managed to arrange for our rings to be delivered to us. I’m grateful this was made possible, because the rings helped me feel some amount of connection to MIT in my time away. They were a reminder of the lively campus I once knew.
My rings arrived in the mail on June 1, 2022. I opened up the package at the kitchen table and showed my two rings to my family. I also took lots of photos of them.
I didn’t wear my Brass Rat much at first. Part of me didn’t see the point of wearing jewelry of any kind since I spent most of the day working a remote internship. The ring felt heavy on my hand and distracted me when I was typing. I put my rings away in their boxes.
I ended up getting more comfortable wearing my ring over the following months. I started looking forward to putting on my Brass Rat for in-person events. In the spring, I lost some weight and had to change which finger I wore my ring on to prevent it from falling off. I now wear it on my middle finger, instead of the traditional way of wearing it on the fourth finger.
January 11, 2021
In an email with the subject line “Ring Resizing and More,” RingComm announced plans to have a Ring Delivery the following fall. The email took a much different tone than the one in March, noting that they would “be waiting until the plans for the fall semester are solidified” before making any decisions about the time and venue.
September 17, 2021
At the start of the fall semester, RingComm emailed us to announce that they had “decided to move forward with the plan to collaborate with the Senior Ball Committee on the Senior Ball spring event.” It wasn’t stated explicitly, but this meant that Ring Delivery had effectively been Senior Ball is similar to Ring Delivery in that you put on fancy clothes and gather as a graduating class for a night of music and refreshments. By combining the two events, it was effectively still just Senior Ball, especially since we already had our rings.
After almost a year and a half of pandemic delays, it wasn’t a surprise, but I was a bit sad.
Rescued by the Class of 2023
October 10, 2021
I would have been much more sad about the Class of 2022 Ring Delivery being cancelled if my gap year hadn’t made me a I think of myself as a “social” member of the Class of 2022 (the class I entered MIT with) and an “academic” member of the Class of 2023 (the class I will graduate with). When the Class of 2023 announced they’d be having a Ring Delivery event on October 10, 2021 at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, I was thrilled. The day before, I went to Newbury Street and bought a dress. I also painted my nails, which ended up not being very visible in any of my photos anyway.
The event was wonderful. a 2023-turned-2024 and I arrived to the courthouse and joined a long line of beautifully-dressed MIT students waiting outside. After going through a brief security check, we were in! I have never been in a courthouse and the architecture of this one was stunning.
There was a band playing live music, lots of refreshments, and several student photographers. I went with Evan to the tables where 2023s were picking up their rings. Then, we walked around, taking photos with basically everyone we knew. I enjoyed running into several of my fellow 2022 gap-yearers.
“Ring Delivered” Emerges
At some point during the fall semester, I got a Facebook invitation to an event called “ring delivered,” an unofficial celebration organized by one of my friends in the Class of 2022. It was going to take place in mid November at Walker Memorial, a nice building in the middle of campus.
An update was posted shortly after the “ring delivered” event gained some popularity, effectively cancelling it in favor of an official event that would happen in December. There were mixed reactions to this update, with some people excited that we might have an official Ring Delivery after all, and others being annoyed that our efforts to self-organize an event had been stopped without any definite alternative in place.
Another update was provided shortly after the first, revealing that we would be having an official event! Ring Delivered (which I think is the perfect name for the event) was to be held on Sunday, February 13 at the Boston Park Plaza! If you recall from earlier in this post, the original venue for our Ring Delivery was the Boston Park Plaza. I passed the Plaza several times each week on my way to the gym and was super excited to finally go inside.
Ring (Finally) Delivered
February 13, 2022
On a snowy Sunday afternoon, the seniors of the Class of 2022 came together to celebrate Ring Delivered, our untraditional take on what was supposed to be a sophomore-year tradition.
In my opinion, the delayed timing made our Ring Delivered even more special than it might have been back in 2020. For most of the Class of 2022, this semester is their last one at MIT. Celebrating now as mostly-seniors rather than as sophomores felt like a celebration of all that we’ve been through and all that we’ve accomplished together over the last four years. Through impossible problem sets, harsh Boston winters, and all the pandemic-related challenges of our MIT education, we managed to achieve pretty remarkable things.
The event itself was beautifully organized. The Boston Park Plaza is a gorgeous venue, the food was really good (they had fruit kabobs!), and of course all the people were awesome. I loved running into so many familiar faces and seeing my friends all dressed up.
I also this is not a confession snuck in my non-2022 boyfriend. If he sneaks me into the 2024 Ring Delivery this spring, we might be some of the only MIT students to attend three different classes’ Ring Deliveries. Notably, this would also probably be the only academic year in MIT’s history to have three different classes’ Ring Deliveries.
My Brass Rat is a reminder of how special my time at MIT has been and how lucky I am to be a member of such a wonderful class of students. I’ve never met a more determined, brilliant group of people as the Class of 2022 and I’m grateful for all the memories we made together. I was surprised at how many emotions I felt at Ring Delivered when people shared their post-MIT plans, which ranged from graduate school, to new jobs, to just taking time to travel and explore the world. I’m so excited to see what everyone will do next. I’ve never been more proud to share a Brass Rat with the Class of 2022.
- stainless steel back to text ↑
- Senior Ball is similar to Ring Delivery in that you put on fancy clothes and gather as a graduating class for a night of music and refreshments. By combining the two events, it was effectively still just Senior Ball, especially since we already had our rings. back to text ↑
- I think of myself as a “social” member of the Class of 2022 (the class I entered MIT with) and an “academic” member of the Class of 2023 (the class I will graduate with). back to text ↑
- a 2023-turned-2024 back to text ↑
- this is not a confession back to text ↑