By Liz McMahon
To incoming students at the University of Baltimore, Welcome.
Welcome to a college where you can find your people. Whether you just got out of high school, recently retired from 50 years of hard work, or anywhere in between, that will happen here.
Some college slogans are cheesy, exaggerated, or just irrelevant. Here, we stay true to ours: “Knowledge that Works.”
At University of Baltimore, you’ll find full-time and part-time students, working full-time jobs, raising full- time families, and living full-time lives. While we are here to obtain education and skills to advance us in the workplace, a lot of us are already out there working hard.
Careers and part-time jobs aside, UB gives students the chance to get involved. Take it. Maybe your friends keep telling you how funny you are, and you’re ready to check out the Improv Club. Perhaps you have an interest in policy, and want to participate in the Student Government Association. Or, maybe you’re an aspiring writer looking to get a chance to share your words with your college community (hint: The UB Post). There are so many more organizations to pique your interest; I’ve only mentioned a few.
Whatever your field of study, just know that you belong. As I write this letter, I am reflecting on my entrance to the University of Baltimore. I was a full-time restaurant manager, nervous about going back to college but anxious to finally get my degree. After years of restaurant work, I was growing tired of knowing my potential as a writer but not putting it to any good use. I fantasized about getting published one day, but I feared I’d always be waiting tables and never get the opportunity. I also knew that attending a traditional university was not the right path for me. I needed to be at a place where I could continue to work and manage my personal life while expanding my academic experience.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, I’m set to graduate in May. I’m just around the corner from finishing my degree in English, with a Professional Writing focus. My first semester, I took a journalism class. My professor in that course became my mentor. She helped me get an internship at a local lifestyle magazine, and now I regularly freelance for them among seasoned professional journalists. I’ve had the chance to be a Staff Writer for this very publication, The UB Post, where I’ve interviewed people all over Baltimore and written about everything from food, arts, and culture to local politics.
Brag-fest aside, what I mean to say is that UB has opened doors that I thought I might have been closed to me. I’ve made friends with simi- lar interests, and friends with totally different life experiences. The UB community is so diverse, I really believe that every individual, no matter their story, can find not only a safe space, but a place to grow. My professors have gone beyond teaching classes to actually training me to be active in a career I am passionate about. All I had to do was show up.
Here’s hoping you keep your eyes open to the opportunities around you. If you’re anything like me, they’ll make themselves known. You may or may not be a “traditional student,” but you are welcome here.