COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Keziah Lewis said the last six years were not what she pictured for herself as a little girl.

One day she was going into her junior year at the University of Cincinnati living the campus life. Then suddenly, she said she was living a life filled with twists and turns.

Keziah said there were moments when she felt like finishing college was not in the cards.

Keziah said she has finally found herself again. Saturday she will walk across the graduation stage and be awarded her diploma.

Nearly six years ago at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, the course of her life and her family’s life changed. Keziah is one of several people who were seriously injured from a malfunction on the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair in 2017.

Her boyfriend, Tyler Jarrell, died.

Following the accident, Keziah spent months in the hospital, endured 12 surgeries and abruptly stopped her college life at the University of Cincinnati.

“It really hurts sometimes I think of the parts of me that have kind of died or that I don’t really see in myself anymore,” Lewis said.

But Keziah said she is not going to let a tragedy define her.

“I think that it was kind of like a new beginning in a sense. I feel kind of like a phoenix a little bit,” Keziah said.

After the accident, she took a few years off from college. She said she went back to work at her nine-to-five job she has worked at for years. Then the pandemic happened and something in her mind changed.

“I think it was actually during the shutdown when everything like my job was shut down for a good month or so, and there was nothing really to do, and I actually started reading,” Lewis said.

“Every time I pick up a book and I read a story I think wow but what if this would happen what if this could be the ending it inspires me to kind of branch off and create a whole different world in a whole different situation with my own. And so that’s one of the reasons why I got into English creative writing as a major in the first place.”

Keziah said that’s when she picked back up her pen and started writing again.

She enrolled in online classes at UC. Eventually, once life got somewhat back to normal, she started going to classes on campus again once or twice a week.

Her mother, Clarissa Williams, is calling this a story of faith, hope, and perseverance.

“Embrace this journey that you’re on the sky’s the limit for you and you are an amazing person. I call her my heaven on earth,” Williams said.

Keziah said she turned in her final assignment Wednesday morning. She will join the rest of her graduating class Saturday for the official ceremony. She has earned her degree in English creative writing.

“I am so stoked, ecstatic. I do cartwheels and backflips inside every time I think about it,” she said.

Her loved ones have been celebrating all week. Keziah said she never wanted to make a big deal about her graduation, but her family said that is not going to happen. They are calling Keziah “kind of a big deal.”

Keziah said she feels like she has finally found herself again.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Lewis said. “I feel like if six-years-ago me would look at me now, it would be kind of in awe and shock because I feel like I have grown to a point where things that used to bother me and things that I thought I would never be able to do or get past or move past they don’t affect me as much and I feel like I’ve kind of I don’t know just expanded my mind a lot on so many different aspects of life.”

She said she is not forgetting about the past, but rather building on it.

And Tyler, the person she physically lost that day, Keziah said she knows he will be with her every step of the way.

“I feel like he’d be so happy and so excited. Yeah… I think he would definitely be proud of me,” she said.

Keziah said next she is considering eventually getting her master’s degree.

She hopes to one day publish her own book.