Her university discovery

by Keisha Bell

Are you courageous enough to pursue your dreams?

Meet Loni Love, a woman who traded working as an engineer to become a comedian, actress, talk show host and author. Born July 12, 1971, in Detroit, Love earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University.

Some people enter college with a plan of study. They know what career they want to enter and are determined to stay on course. For others, the plan upon entering is not as concrete. It is understood that graduating is the expectation, but “in what” is the nagging question.

For many, university life is a time for self-discovery. No one will contact your parents if you miss class. Curfews are not in effect. How you spend your time is your business.

For those entering college, especially right after high school and living on their own for the first time, it can be both a scary and exciting experience. It creates an environment that challenges you to answer the age-old question: “What do you want to become (really) when you grow up” while reminding you that you have four years to find an answer.

After graduating from high school, Love worked on the General Motors assembly line. This experience sparked an interest and was the reason she chose to major in electrical engineering. It sounded like a solid plan for getting out of the projects where she was raised. She entered her chosen university with a plan.

While at Prairie View, Love made a discovery that would change the trajectory of her life forever. She entered and won a stand-up comedy competition. The whooping payout of $50 would end up being more valuable than anyone would realize on that day. Love continued to perform stand-up comedy frequently.

Initially, after college, Love worked as an engineer at Xerox in California for eight years. Simultaneously, she continued to do stand-up after work in clubs and became a regular at the Laugh Factory.

Then Xerox had lay-offs and Love made a significant career decision. She resigned to prevent someone else from losing their job and used that time to pursue her passion vigilantly.

Comedy became her new full-time job. Society would have frowned upon such a decision, but Love discovered herself and life presented her with an opportunity.

In 2003, Love started her comedic career and was the runner-up on Star Search. By 2009, she was named among the “Top 10 Comics to Watch” in both Variety and Comedy Central.

She continued to cash-in on opportunities that came her way throughout the entertainment industry. She has appeared in films, television shows and dramatic theatre plays. Love has received numerous comedic recognitions and has authored a book. Currently, she is one of the hosts of the syndicated daytime talk show The Real.

Love is an example of what is possible if you take time to truly answer the question, “What do you want to become, really want to become, when you grow up,” and take risks in making it a reality.

The road is not always easy, but are you bold enough to pursue it? Life is a university. What are your discoveries?

Keisha Bell is an attorney, author, and public servant. www.emergingfree.com

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