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My 2020 Grad Story: Golden

Shelby Shaffer and two friends.
Rebecca A. Eckland

This semester, TMCC is celebrating our graduating class of 2020 in a big way. Even though we have postponed our commencement ceremony until the Fall, we are so proud of our graduates who will still earn their degrees when the spring semester ends on May 16.  

These news stories demonstrate how our graduates have faced challenges and persevered to complete their degree program even in the face of COVID-19. Each student was asked to provide one word for their journey. TMCC student-athlete Shelby Shaffer calls her journey  “Golden.” 

Overcoming Obstacles

Shaffer playing on a soccer pitch.

Shaffer was a member of the inaugural women’s soccer team at TMCC.

Playing for the inaugural women’s soccer team was one of many highlights for TMCC student-athlete Shelby Shaffer who describes her journey—both on the field and in the classroom—as one that’s been “golden.” 

“Every time I arrived at an obstacle in my life, I felt like this was the pathway of where I was meant to go,” she said. 

In addition to playing a huge role at midfield, she also formulated an offensive strategy at TMCC for her professional future. Shaffer, who will graduate with a Liberal Arts degree, will return to TMCC in the fall to complete an Associate of Science in Business, a dual focus that she intends on continuing when she moves on to UNR where she will work toward a dual major in business and Spanish. 

“I’m very interested in running a business one day—or working in finance. With Spanish, there are so many opportunities available,” she said. Her long term goal? “My dream has always been law school, and that little extra push of having a second language would be helpful in getting me there.”

Shaffer also enjoyed her communications classes, which was an unexpected surprise. “I really didn’t know what to expect [before the class started], but it was basically just focused on speaking in front of others, and I discovered that I actually really love doing that,” she said. 

One of the First Student-Athletes at TMCC

Shaffer playing soccer.

Playing in front of family, friends and fans on TMCC’s field are among Shaffer’s favorite memories.

Her most memorable highlights come from the TMCC soccer pitch where she played her favorite sport in front of family, friends, and fans. “Playing every single home game for TMCC [was probably the best moment of my time here.] Getting to know the athletes on the women’s and men’s teams was also very fun. Having that camaraderie was amazing.” 

In addition to finding new friends on the field, Shaffer was awarded for her excellent play by Region XVIII All-Conference honors, which named her as All-Region 1st Team player. Additionally, she was named TMCC’s Team MVP for the women’s soccer program. 

This semester, she took time away from the soccer pitch to focus on her studies and working two jobs, which she admits was one of the most challenging things she’s done. However, keeping her focus steady on her academic goals helped her to weather the considerable workload.

However, her character and drive made a big impression on the TMCC community. "Shelby is a great example of a Northern Nevada product who decided to attend TMCC to get a college education and play soccer,” said TMCC Athletic Director Dr. Tina Ruff. “She will be successful in whatever field she chooses because of her perseverance, she is a fierce competitor and an incredible leader. It was wonderful having her be a part of the inaugural women's team and we are proud of her accomplishments on and off the field."

Advice to Future Grads

To future graduates, Shaffer advises to keep working toward their dreams. “If there’s a bump in the road, just keep trying to endure and pursue your dreams,” she said.  After all, that’s what she did, and she is pleased with her academic and athletic journey so far. 

“Every little obstacle in my life has turned out to be the path where I was supposed to go… and it’s taken me where I should end up. That’s why this journey is ‘golden.’ It’s been a blessing in disguise, and honestly, I’ve loved every minute of it.” 

Join us in celebrating TMCC’s Class of 2020! Visit TMCC’s Facebook page for live interviews with our graduates, and updates about their incredible journeys.