Ida Ayalew

Ida Ethiopia Ayalew Chooses to Prepare, and Overcome

Philosophy, minor in Black Studies | College of Arts and Sciences | Student Body President
Graduation Year: 2016

Where is UMKC taking you?

UMKC is taking me all over the world. I did a study-abroad program in Morocco for eight months, and spent four months traveling through Eastern and Western Europe. None of that would have been possible without the support of International Academic Programs and the alumni scholarship I received.

I used to think that everything I believed was the reality of the world, and study abroad pushed me out of that comfortable bubble. Being uncomfortable pushes people to new limits.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I chose it because of the six-year med program. Even though I wasn’t accepted into the program, I came here anyways in hopes of joining the program the next year. But during my time here, I started doing mock trial and fell in love with social advancement and the advancement of people.

“The thing that I love most about UMKC is the endless possibilities. You can accomplish whatever you desire but it is up to you to take hold of the rein and control the direction of the horse.”

What led you to UMKC?

I grew up in Blue Springs, and UMKC is a part of Kansas City culture. I knew if I went here I could have a mixture of a college life and a city life.

How has college inspired you?

College has inspired me to expand my horizons. Before I attended college, I lived a dogmatic lifestyle where I believed that I was the center of the universe and the only thing that mattered was what I believed. Now, I live my life a little more humbly. I now understand that my perceptions, thoughts and views are important, but they are not the most important in the world.

What are your lifelong goals?

I see myself as a professor of Philosophy and Abyssinian History at Addis Ababa University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, encouraging students to challenge authority and the concepts of the misinformed democracy.

In the short-term, I hope to finish a dual Ph.D. in African History and Philosophy, focusing on Abyssinian History in Ethiopia. My parents are from Ethiopia, and my heritage is important to me.

Long term, I want to encourage students to critically think, I want to inspire others with my writings and speech and inspire myself. I want to be happy.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

The most important thing I have learned since entering UMKC is to find comfort in my own company. We humans live all our lives always trying to achieve happiness but happiness is a mere byproduct of self-love, self-acceptance and hard work.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

Dr. Adrienne Walker-Hoard explained to me how people in life will always hold you to their standards but to always remember the most important standards are the ones you hold for yourself.

What motto do you live by?

“Preparation is the key to success.” As humanity, we choose our own destinies, and we can do that with preparation. We can choose to overcome the difficulties in our lives, or let them define us.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

The thing that I love most about UMKC is the endless possibilities. You can accomplish whatever you desire but it is up to you to take hold of the rein and control the direction of the horse. Most people in life expect opportunities to fall into your lap, but only a few know that you have to pick up those opportunities and place them there.

The people I admire most at UMKC are Dr. Adrienne Walker-Hoard, La’Nee Bridewell, Rakeem Golden, Keichanda Dees-Burnett, Juan Bettancourt-Garcia and Richard Monroe. All of these people are extremely dedicated to the advancement of UMKC and are extremely hard workers. The thing that makes me admire them is that they continue to strive even though their hard work is rarely recognized.

Are you a first generation college student?

No, I am a second generation college student, but I am a first generation Ethiopian-American.

What excites you?

A really well-written book. Books have the power to change your mindset and show you a different perspective. My favorite recent read is Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon.

Do you belong to any organizations? What gets you excited about working with organizations?

Too many (laughing). I’m the student body president, on the MS Council, a Global Ambassador for the National Academic Office, a member of Golden Key, Mortarboard and TAASU, and I’m a part of the Honors program. When I came to UMKC, I thought I was going to make a huge impact and change the world. What I’ve come to realize is that the small steps I make with these organizations keep me engaged with the community and make the biggest difference.

What’s your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is silence. Silence reveals more than meaningless chatter.

What is one word that best describes you?

Sympathetic. I feel like this word best describes me because it takes power to pity the world, but it takes sympathy to attempt change for justice and equality. Other people’s pain is my pain and it motivates me to liberate myself and others from the unconscious form of slavery we live in today.