Exploring Degree Programs, Finding Herself

Ophelia Griffin chose UMKC and discovered their passion and self
Ophelia Griffin, wearing jeans and a gray sweater, sits on a bench in front of a tree and smiles at the camera.

Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Ophelia Griffin
Anticipated graduation: 2025
Academic program: University College, moving into communications
Hometown: Lee’s Summit, MO

Why did you choose UMKC?

I took a gap year after high school graduation because of COVID. I had a plan for college, but I knew I couldn’t mentally do it under quarantine. I was working during my gap year and some of my friends were going to UMKC. They said it was a great place to be yourself, so I applied and now I’m here! I love it, it’s such a good place to be.

You are currently an exploratory student in University College and plan to major in communications. Why did you choose communications?

I love making connections with people and just talking with them. I hope to be a business manager, or maybe own my own business one day!

What are the challenges of being an exploratory student in University College?

Understanding myself and the type of person I am, coming to terms with what I’m good and not so good at, has been a challenge for me. Just learning about who I am as a person has been a journey.

What are the benefits of being an exploratory student?

Exploring everything UMKC offers has been really cool. I love hearing from other students what they want to go into; a lot of my classmates want to do really cool things that I didn’t even know were possible. I just think it’s great to see people having different interests and exploring their options.

Ophelia Griffin stands next to a bookshelf in the Rainbow Lounge, filled with books to the ceiling. She holds a progress pride flag in her hands with her arms at her torso in front of her.
How has University College inspired you?

I was an orientation leader, and I tell students going into University College that they’ll find out what they’re supposed to do and where they’re supposed to be. The College planted a seed in me and allowed me to blossom into the person that I am. It helped me understand who I am and what I can accomplish here. I love it.

What do you think you’ve learned about yourself since being at UMKC?

I’m a really hard worker and that I try to succeed in everything I can. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to have slip-ups; it’s not the end of the world and I can bounce back.

You’re vice president of the University Theatre Association, a senator in Student Government Association, member of UMKC Democrats and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. What inspired you to get involved in so many organizations?

I have no sense of time management and love saying yes to things. My first year at UMKC, my advisor, Rachel, sat me down and told me that getting involved is key to a good college experience. I’ve met so many people here who inspire me to get more involved because I love having so many connections on campus.

Ophelia Griffin sits in a chair on the right side of the image, reading a book. She's in a large nook that has shelves on two sides of her, filled with displays and props for the student theatre group.
Who do you admire most at UMKC?

As a whole, the theatre group really inspires me. Everyone contributes to making theatre a good, safe place to be. Our president, Hannah, is one of the most hard-working people in the program. She gives 110% and I feel so lucky to be her vice president. I’m just inspired by what she does and how she does things.

What are you most proud of during your time at UMKC?

My grades - I was worried about taking a gap year before starting college. But I’ve realized that I’m a smart and capable person, and my grades have never been better.

Is there anyone who is a mentor to you on campus?

Rachel Hughes, she was my boss when I was an orientation leader. All summer during orientation, she made sure that we had fun and made students feel at home.

What do you hope to take from your time here into your professional career?

I hope to start my own inclusive business one day, mainly because of the experience I’ve had here at UMKC. It’s so diverse and so inclusive to everybody. I want a business that shares the same amount of love for people.

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