Motivational speaker EJ Carrion spoke in Sage Hall at UW Oshkosh on March 1 about success during and after college, including starting a new business.
Carrion started his business, Student Success Agency, while in college at the University of Oklahoma. He was recognized recently in Forbes Magazine as a top-30 entrepreneur under the age of 30.
Carrion said students need to figure out what their life and DNA is about, to focus on their strengths and believe in who they are.
“Have confidence in who you are and build your life before you build your business,” Carrion said. “Have the oxygen and patience to allow that to happen so the serendipitous part of life can hit so you can become successful one day. It takes 10 years to be an overnight success.”
Carrion said the best way to be successful is through confidence, and the problem with that is often the lack of self-awareness and understanding.
“I think everyone wants a black-and-white way, so one of the things I say is they gotta live in the gray,” Carrion said. “Understand that chaos is part of the game, like it’s never going to feel good. You’re never going to live it, you make it – so it just then allows people to destress. Like you’re gonna be you and you’re going to win when you win. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe 30 years from now, but just be you.”
Carrion said it was nice to speak to college students because he felt more relaxed.
“I usually do a lot of high schools and middle schools, so speaking with college kids was cool,” Carrion said. “It allowed me to feel more real instead of trying to make them laugh and tell stories and like get them inspired. I felt like I didn’t have to say a cheesy thing; I could just say some deep stuff. I was the most transparent.”
Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Club President Brett Bartholomew said they were very lucky to have Carrion speak because he happened to be speaking in Marinette.
“EJ is definitely one of my great friends, mentors,” Bartholomew said. “He brought me onto the agency when it was kind of a shaky time. But EJ and I have vibed ever since and we’ve become very good friends and we are very similar. EJ has a great message to bring to everyone, and he just does a great job at everything.”
Senior Lacy Fons said she learned it’s important to be more of a people person.
“I like that he said people before profit and to just be genuine with everything you do and everyone you meet,” Fons said. “I’m going into sales, so I’m constantly working with people, and I think it definitely applied to me in that way because he talked a lot about how to treat others and things like that.”
Bartholomew said the event brought knowledge to everyone preparing for the next step after graduation.
“I definitely think this brought the heat and drive for what students need to hear because everyone has anxiety about what you’re doing after school, and EJ kind of lets you figure out what you need to do before,” Bartholomew said. “You don’t need to always plan everything. Like, things just happen.”