Joi Zieh, Miss Savannah State University 2015-2016, thought she had life planned all out for after graduation. Boy, was she wrong. But she keeps going.
Serving as the 77th queen for the university placed Zieh in a goldmine of networking and exposure to different groups of people. “I’m so so proud to see how she made history by breaking down barriers in being the first Liberian born to become queen of Savannah State University,” her brother Bill Zieh said. This is what life after graduation was suppose to look like.
Graduation took place in the spring of 2016. That upcoming fall was the beginning of law school and the start of a new chapter resulted in moving to a new state for new experiences. This ultimate dream was brutally disrupted when life brought forth a storm of terrifying no’s. Not being able to take the LSAT exam when expected, meant that law school ceased to exist for the anticipated time frame. It took Zieh time to comprehend life because in her mind, she least expected life to gear towards an unknown track.
Life evolved from having a simple red, yellow, and green stop light to a four way stop with a blinking red light not knowing when and where to turn. Dealing with what life dealt, she used the time to study harder for the LSAT. Time for rejuvenation knocked peacefully and Zieh used time wisely to look for an internship for the spring of 2017. Life was aliening itself swiftly and the ball seemed to be rolling with no problems. An acceptance came Zieh’s way when the Congressional Black Caucus Pathways to C-Suite Internship Program decided that she was a great fit.
As the time approached to move on the ball suddenly stopped rolling. Out of nowhere the company that Zieh was set to intern for swiftly decided at the last minute to cancel their internship program. Zieh began to spend more time with God in the midst of all the shut doors. “Her growth in God is beyond amazing. Watching her stay focus on God through all the good times and the bad times its unbelievable,” Bill Zieh said.
The most unpredictable spin happened once her HBCU love, Laurentiis Gaines, proposed to her in front of a large crowd after his graduation this past December. “Never did I think that I would be engaged and planning a wedding fresh out of college,” Zieh said. While some experiences in life come on a later date than expected, others come earlier than projected. One of the biggest lessons so far for Zieh is the attest to the plans of God not being on the time frame of ours resulting in personal acceptance of adjusting to the unwanted while still striving for dreams.
Zieh stated that she wish that she could have taken the time to prepare for random no’s and what if’s her senior year. “If there was one thing that I would have done better, it would be planning for the “no’s” that come with life,” Zieh said. “It was hard going from being the official face of an entire university to having to scramble through the toughness of reality.” The milestone of taking the LSAT is now completed and preparing for law school once again begins. You can now catch Zieh working as a paralegal at an Atlanta Law Firm. While preparing for law school for fall 2017 she is working to gain experience in the legal field along with planning for her wedding.
When life gave lemons, Zieh learned to make new juices instead of regular lemonade. “I have noticed much growth from Joi in the area of self esteem. Though she carried herself well prior to graduating, I sense a level poise that was seldom seen before,” her mentor Randolph Samuel said. The reason the ambition never dies is because her experiences in college prepared her for bumps in the road.
The HBCU experience gave the opportunity to learn the importance of being an African American and a women in the real world. The HBCU leadership experiences granted a platform to expand speaking and presentation skills. “Her desire to work for her community and persistence to achieve her goals shows that she will work her hardest to be that guiding light for those she serves,” her fiance Laurentiis Gaines Jr. said.
Take a look at the gallery below to watch Joi’s college experience unfold up until life now.