Naysayers didn't stop Shana Sullivan from college and a career

Jul 8, 2011

Left to right: Meschelle Johnson, Manager of Campus Online Coordination; Bradley Robinson, Program Director; Dr. Carolyn Brightharp, Academic Dean; Shana Sullivan; Stephen Burrus, Instructor/ Campus Online Coordinator; Dominick DeLorenzo, Campus President.

"My name is Shana Sullivan and I am a proud graduate of Virginia College in Greenville, South Carolina. I had such a great experience completing the admissions process that I encouraged my cousin to enroll with me.

Upon completing our programs in September 2010, we both obtained an Associates of Applied Science degree in Administrative Office Management. Not only did I reach my goal of getting a college degree but I did it while maintaining a 4.0 average and only missing a few days of class. But my Virginia College journey has not been without some major obstacles.

Before enrolling at Virginia College I worked as an order puller for a local warehouse earning a decent wage but not truly loving my job. I had attempted two other schools after high school but never really found my niche or passion for a certain field. Since I was listening to the naysayers I had almost given up on furthering my education. I was a single mother of two little girls, working a dead-end job, and had some recent legal issues that made me believe that I was stuck in the life I was living. Because I had so much idle time on my hands and no real goals, I found myself in some major life-altering predicaments. Though devastating and overwhelming at the start, they became catalysts for me to envision and achieve more in my life.

One day I heard a radio commercial about the new Virginia College and I immediately grabbed my cell phone and set up an appointment to tour the school that very afternoon. Within a week's time I was fully enrolled, gave my job my two week's notice, and prepared myself to begin class. My parents supported my decision and promised to help with my children in any way possible. I was on my way to achieving my goal…becoming a college graduate.

This transition was not easy. My children couldn't understand why mommy had to cut play time to study, which made me feel guilty at times. I had to adjust my lifestyle because of the drastic decrease in income when I quit my full-time job. I also dealt with the anxiety of thinking I was not capable of doing what I had set out to accomplish. It seemed I was fighting an uphill battle that I could not win.

By my second quarter, though, things took a turn for the better. I formed working relationships with my instructors, improved my time management skills and regained confidence in my abilities to learn new things. I became involved in campus organizations such as The National Society of Leadership and Success and Future Business Leaders of America. Due to my involvement and performance in the classroom, I was chosen for a work study position with the Career Services department which not only helped with the financial aspect but allowed me to fine-tune some of my administrative skills. I also did an externship that gave me real world experience.

I have truly enjoyed my time at Virginia College, Greenville and would recommend anyone to the business program. The instructors are very knowledgeable and concerned about the success of their students and the students in this program are serious about their futures. I am now employed as a receptionist at Virginia College and have reenrolled to obtain my bachelor's degree in Business Administration through the online programs of Virginia College.

I am amazed at the things I have accomplished with the help of a strong support system. I am constantly asked to speak in classrooms or to students thinking of enrolling about how I was able to be successful as a student. My response to them is simple: I never entertained the thought of any other outcome."