Graduates, HuntsvilleShannon & Tiffany

Recent Therapeutic Massage graduates and childhood friends Shannon and Tiffany opened their own massage practice, Elements of Nature, in October 2016.


Tiffany: “It’s something we both wanted since we were kids. We used to talk about opening up a natural healing center and when we found out Virginia College offered Therapeutic Massage we were like, ‘Hey, cool! That’s the first step on a very long road.’ So we went with that to see what we could learn and didn't even know there were so many benefits, much less, everything you have to learn about it.

When you first graduate, you’re like, ‘Wait a minute, what do I do with myself now?’ So that part is really scary, but our instructors had really great encouragement and really good ideas on how to do it.

It’s been trying and fascinating at the same time. It’s definitely a lesson in patience and definitely being positive because it does get kind of slow. It can get a little discouraging when no one is coming in. The good thing is that we have the support of the team that taught us. You know, every time we were getting down, they were like, ‘Guys, don’t give up. We know what that’s like.’

You have to go out and work hard to find a customer base. School isn’t there to have a full clinical class for you anymore. You learn how to put your ego aside and ask for help. Because your method is not right for everybody and everybody is not the same. It’s not about the dollar, it’s about what you can do for someone else.

Virginia College has gone above and beyond. They told us that this was going to be hard, but they also let us know that they would be there for advice whenever we may need it.

“You have to go out and work hard to find a customer base.”

The first teacher I had was Ms. Ogle, and Ms. Ogle intimidated the mess out of me. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can not do this.’ And she told us, ‘I am the cold water shock, this is not going to be a cakewalk but it’ll be worth it.’ You know what? It was true. Regardless, she made sure we knew our stuff. She became our best ally. The intimidation part, I am glad that I dealt with it.

You don’t know just how much taxes bite you in the butt until you start having to do them. They make you weigh out your everyday decisions, like, do I want to buy makeup this evening or do I save that and store it away because I know that our licenses need to be renewed next year?

“Stay positive. Don’t give up. Trust yourself. Ignore the naysayers.”

They taught us this in school and it was like, ‘OK, whatever,’ but now it’s real. Like you actually have to do this, someone is not just telling you about it.”

Shannon: “Take the chance to get to know the people you meet in school every day, they will one day help you. It’s definitely hard sometimes, but it’s a good thing we have each other to get through it.

Stay positive. Don’t give up. Trust yourself. Ignore the naysayers. People will tell you you cannot do it. People will work for someone else. If you have that fire, do it. It’s hard, not going to lie, but it’s worth it. It’s yours, don’t let go of that. It’s yours, it’s your baby and like a baby you have to nurture it.”

We’re in this togetherRead More of Our Stories

Angelica, Birmingham“I was laid off from my job back in 2014. It really deflated me.”

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Calvin, Birmingham“I’ve been out of high school for 36 years.”

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Kennedy, Huntsville“Cosmetology is always something I’ve liked since I was little.”

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Are you a Virginia College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!