Joi and James Davis’ love story didn’t begin as Buckeyes, but their bond has grown stronger as they’ve gone through their Buckeye journey together.
The couple first met at a church youth ministry camp in Zanesville, Ohio. “He handed me a piece of paper with his name, phone number, and address on it. I kept it for a long time after,” Joi grins. “I had just graduated from high school so I was getting ready for college. He started writing letters and our relationship just blossomed from there.”
A few years after dating, the couple got married in 2004. Over a decade after having kids, they decided to pursue their college education. “When the kids got older we started to discuss our future career aspirations,” James says. “It led us to The Ohio State University at Mansfield. Joi started first, then I enrolled not long after.”
James began his career in the social work field, while Joi previously worked as a Head Start assistant teacher while also running her own event planning business. She says, “Working towards a degree shows our children that it is important to accomplish your goals.”
“We lean on each other a lot,” Joi explains. “He and I learn differently, but we come together to support each other as we work to accomplish our degree.” James and Joi also work together as student diversity coaches on the Ohio State Mansfield campus.
“She is my best friend so if I’m having a hard time with my academics, she steps in and reminds me not to be so hard on myself,” James says as he looks at Joi and grabs her hand. “She sometimes has to remind me to calm down and pull myself together,” he laughs. “She’s a very big help to me but I’m also a help to her, and that’s why going through our college experience has been such an amazing experience.”
“We share our #BuckeyeLove by wearing a lot of hats on campus,” James says of their involvement at Ohio State Mansfield. “Being involved on campus has impacted us tremendously. We are able to share our knowledge and our experience with our fellow students.”
As non-traditional students, they are able to help other students not only with school work but also with life lessons. James explains, “When I see younger students or freshman come in and they are having a hard time, I let them know it’s going to be alright.”
Joi helps fellow students also by sitting down with them, listening and providing guidance. “Sometimes I feel like the aunt, where students can come to talk to me about anything. They are not always talking about academic problems either. Sometimes they come to me to get life advice.” “I know that being here on the Mansfield campus has helped me, especially as a student of color. James and I can help link students who may be having trouble adapting, and seeing us succeed on the campus helps them on their own journey.”
Joi will graduate in 2020 with her degree in Education while James plans to graduate a year later in 2021 with his social work degree.
Source, Photo: The Ohio State University at Mansfield