College students are constantly faced with questions about their post-graduation plans. How does one decide what their purpose should be? How does one become successful?
FiredUpKC, a student-led organization and K-ROO radio program, held an event called The Shift last week to help students answer these questions and get connected to those who have already gone through the professional development journey.
The Shift, which focused on leadership and entrepreneurship, featured local leaders Bo Nelson, Eze Redwood, Mattie Kaar and Jermaine Reed as panelists.
“I just want to say thank you for your support. I’m nervous and excited because it’s been a journey,” said Azikiwe (Zik) Nwanganga, a business administration student and founder of FiredUpKC.
The panelists then asked the audience what they wanted to learn about to ensure everyone left the event with new information that would help them through their professional journey. Finding purpose, achieving success, dealing with rejections and networking were the most prevalent topics.
As CEO and founder of Thou Mayest Coffee, Nelson says you sometimes have to ask yourself questions to see how much you really want something.
“Don’t cheat yourself. You have to do something. Create your own path,” he said when asked how to handle being in a rough patch.
Other panelists talked about perseverance and following their ambitions.
“When you know what your passion is, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t,” said Reed, a former KC councilman. “You don’t know unless you try.”
After the event concluded, students stayed to network and talk to the panelists.
“It was good to hear from successful individuals in the city who have already leveled up professionally,” said Sidney Saunders, a studio art major. “Everyone has a different come-up. The most important thing I learned is to always be myself.”
Other students said the event gave them more ambition to go after what they wanted.
Computer science student and aspiring entrepreneur Mohamud Abdi said this event makes him want to work harder.
“Always go after what you want. They all stated that those stops in the road aren’t the end of the world,” said Abdi. “You just move on to the next thing.”
Carolyn Kover, a recent UMKC graduate, said she came to The Shift to support Nwanganga but left with pointers about networking.
“It’s all about what you bring to the table,” Kover said. “Something as simple as where you decide to stand in a room sends a message, and it’s important. You tailor what you say to your audience.”
Nwanganga says the vision of The Shift came after attending off-campus events where he networked with professionals. He then decided to bring that opportunity to campus.
“The Shift is an event where students can talk and connect with people they wouldn’t see on a normal day,” said Nwanganga. “I want students to find their purpose, come as they are and leave with at least one word that helps them. Come to be transformed. Find who you can become and find that fire that keeps you going.”
FiredupKC will continue hosting entrepreneurship and leadership events on the last Wednesday of each month.