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Jenny O'GradyDear Retrievers,

What do you remember about your first day of class at UMBC? Were you excited – or perhaps a little nervous – about a particular class? Did you get lost trying to locate your classroom? Or, maybe you were the one helping classmates find their way?

I remember my first day of class at UMBC almost perfectly – because it just happened. Although I’ve worked here for more than a dozen years, enjoying the wit and expertise of many professor friends in an informal way, only recently did I make the decision to take on the role of Retriever student for the first time. The class: Korean 101. So, what was it like, you ask?

As excited as I am to be a student again, I must admit I was scared when I opened a textbook filled with an entirely new alphabet. But, the moment I walked into class and saw the welcoming smile of my teacher, Dr. Krippes, my fears drained away. As we introduced ourselves, I learned this was a class full of students from all study areas, united in their interest of a new culture, and just as nervous as I was.

As we began learning consonant sounds and characters in the Hangul alphabet, I thought of something Dr. Krippes said at the start of class: “I want you to make a lot of mistakes.” (Here, we all laughed tentatively.) “That is how we learn.” (Well, okay then.)

There’s a reason UMBC is recognized again and again for its teaching. Not only are our professors whip smart – obviously – they’re also generous and warm. You’ll see evidence of this throughout this issue, from professors working to better understand the opioid epidemic, to our capstone mechanical engineering class, where students experience the ups and downs of designing for real clients. And, I’m sure you have memories of your own.

Now, everyone enjoys donning a new outfit for the start of school, and UMBC Magazine is no exception. In honor of the new semester, we hope you’ll like our updated look and some new treats in print, and our expanded presence online including more video, Q&As, and perspective pieces. If you’re inspired by memories of your first day of school, we invite you to share them at magazine@umbc.edu. I’ll be sharing my thoughts throughout the semester in the Perspectives section.

— Jenny O’Grady
UMBC Magazine

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