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Southeast Missouri State University

Jackson Native Keeps Busy and Dreams Big

College of Liberal Arts - Mass Communication

For Tiffany Thomas, the time she’s spent at Southeast has opened a world of possibilities and helped her make friends from around the globe.

Tiffany, a native of Jackson, Mo., is a mass communications major focusing on journalism. Although she didn’t start college until 10 years after graduating from high school, she’s not letting anything hold her back.

“I still don’t know for sure exactly what I want to be ‘when I grow up.’  But one thing I definitely know is I want to be happy with my work,” she says.

Tiffany is taking advantage of everything Southeast has to offer. Outside her job at Kent Library, her favorite moments at Southeast are the times when she’s found herself doing something outside her comfort zone.

“I never imagined I could have done things like giving a speech at a public event, winning writing contests, or designing a book cover for a class project,” she said.

This past ----- she worked as an intern with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department.

“I compiled information about the history of the fire department. The project is still ongoing, but it was a great hands-on experience. It helped strengthen my social network, as well as gave me some wonderful experience for my resume,” Tiffany said.

Thomas likes to keep busy. When she’s not spending time with her husband of 14 years and their five cats, she participates in a variety of hobbies.

“I love writing, photography, music, gardening, watching movies. I also enjoy swimming and racquetball, even though I am terrible at both,” she says.

This semester, she has also made the time to do volunteer work with  international students.

“I have met some amazing people and made great friends from lots of different places around the world. I love talking with my new friends. They’re a blast,” she says. “Even though it may be a few years before I’m able to go to all of those places, talking with them makes me feel as if I have seen a part of that place already. There is so much you can learn from people who are from a different background and culture than your own.”

Tiffany says she would like for students to know that a college degree is important, but it might not be the most important thing you take away from school.

“When you’re going through college, don’t just go along for the ride. Don’t go through it with the attitude that you’re only here to get a piece of paper with your name on it,” she says. “Step out of your comfort zone, and realize what a great opportunity you have to try things you might not otherwise get to experience, like joining the fencing club, watching a rugby match, taking a taekwondo class, or watching a performance at the River Campus.”

According to Tiffany, “My time here has made me more confident and more open-minded. It has helped me discover how much I like to try something new, and that is a tremendous learning experience. I have developed a valuable network of friends and mentors. Most of all, my time at Southeast has taught me to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”

Tiffany doesn’t intend to slow down once she graduates. She has plans to travel the globe and to work on a master’s degree. She’s interested in teaching English as a second language or possibly attending law school.

“I am not sure yet which one I will do, or at least which one I will do first!” she says.