LION SPOTLIGHT - TIFFNEY SULLIVAN - I could have been anywhere, but I’m here!

Posted by painewebmaster | 09/12/2014 03:57 AM

Photo Caption: Tiffney Sullivan ’15, Senior
Major: Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations
Hometown:  Greenville, South Carolina
Former Miss UNCF
ADP Research Assistant
Tom Joyner Foundation Scholarship Recipient

Similar to an incandescent caterpillar, my journey at Paine allowed me to simultaneously sprout into a butterfly. When I first arrived as a bright-eyed freshman, I immediately felt the love and warmth of this institution, and I knew this was the school for me. My journey at Paine would be the start of something unfathomably great in my life, and in my first year of classes I became submerged in student activities and equally acquainted with academic rigor. I am a natural born leader, but Paine helped me to become a leader with a purpose that’s driven by the force of turning possibilities into a reality. 

During my sophomore year, my life came to a screeching halt when my mother was involved in a serious accident that nearly cost her life and the simple world that I once knew became instantaneously complicated in a blink of an eye. The college dream that I once dreamed of living was shattered, because I had to leave school to run my household and take care of my mother in her absence. I must admit, I was discouraged and often questioned whether returning to school would be an option for me. Luckily, on my brief hiatus I received an opportunity to work for a nonprofit organization as an intern through the United States Department of Agriculture where I learned about operating small businesses.

My faith would not let me give up, and I re-entered the following fall at Paine. This time, I was on my own and the luxury of having my parents to fall back on financially was not an option. I was determined to live out my dream of receiving my degree, so I picked up two jobs and a full time academic schedule. There were people around me (faculty and staff) who made sure that I would stay the course. There were administrators and staff in the Office of Institutional Advancement that opened doors for me and made it possible for me to financially continue my education. 

I took a work-study position at Paine and immersed myself in Public Relations training in the Office of Communications and Marketing.  I volunteered in several campus organizations and had the great opportunity of becoming Miss UNCF and also secured a prestigious ADP Internship. Being in the Media Studies department inspired me to create entrepreneurial ventures including an online series through YouTube as well as a style and beauty blog named “The Beauty Beholder”.

This journey has not been easy, but my family eventually became restored and all of the pieces to the puzzle made a beautiful picture. Many mentors have helped me to become who I am today, and I could have been anywhere, but I’m here at Paine College pursuing my dreams. May 2015 will mark the end of a chapter that was incredibly necessary to create the woman that is standing and thriving today.