Liz Angela Tillias

Liz Angela Tillias

Patience and Consistency Will Win the Race, Not Speed


— by Sade Teel

Born and raised in Haiti, Liz Angela Tillias made her way to Valencia College in Spring 2022, in hopes of starting the race to fulfilling a lifelong goal of attending college.

Liz said since she was a little girl, she had high hopes of graduating high school at the age of 16 and to start at a four-year university in America immediately afterward.

“I joked about attending Ivy League schools, when I had yet to learn where they were located and what I wanted to study,” said Liz.

With her goal in mind, Liz did in fact graduate high school in Haiti at the age of 16. However, Liz said she did not attend her high school graduation because she was still dealing with the death of her grandmother – and because conditions in Haiti were unsafe at the time.

“I was defeated and after graduating high school, stayed home for nearly six months because of immigration issues,” said Liz.

Liz said the delay weighed heavily on her because she always envisioned herself attending college quickly.

To create light from a difficult situation, Liz said she used the six months as a time to heal from her grandmother’s death, figure out what she wanted to study and strategize her next move.

“I don’t regret not starting college immediately,” said Liz. “That is how it needed to be.”

Liz eventually made her to way Orlando, Fla., because she had family nearby and heard about Valencia College through her cousin, who is a Valencia grad.

Liz decided to enroll, and her grit immediately became apparent. After only one year at Valencia, Liz joined many campus organizations, including Model United Nations, Valencia College Seneff Honors College and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I don’t know what I would have been able to do without my passage to Valencia,” said Liz.

As a full-time online student, Liz had to learn how to juggle her coursework and time management, a skill she said she did not possess before attending Valencia.

Through her involvement with campus activities and clubs, Liz earned the Global Citizen distinction as part of the Global Distinction program at Valencia College. The goal of Global Distinction is to prepare students to live and work in an interdependent and multicultural world while having the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of a competent global citizen of the 21st century.

“Being born and raised in Haiti, I grew to love politics,” said Liz. “So, this distinction means so much to me because it helped spark my internal passion for international affairs.”

Liz said she always thought she wanted to become an engineer, but during her time at Valencia, she found herself being proud to be Haitian and decided to study international affairs.

“Valencia has profoundly changed my life in many ways,” said Liz. “I am ready to become a global citizen and give as much of myself to the global community.”

Liz graduated from Valencia in May 2023 with her associate degree and has applied to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Florida International University in hopes of starting in the fall.

“Two years ago, I thought life was a race that required super speed,” said Liz. “However, I have learned the importance of patience and consistency during my time at Valencia. At 18 years old, I know now that those qualities, rather than speed – will win the race.

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