Linda Lovie, who has her own independent practice as a financial advisor, has fostered a life-long love of art that began early in life thanks, in a small part, to classes she took at TMCC in the early 1970s. Back then, classes were held at the Stead Air Force Base and, if they were evening classes, at the local high schools. After all, the Dandini Campus hadn’t yet been built, and the community college had only recently been established. The drive to the barracks where the buildings was “magical”, she said. “It was like history was coming out of its walls.”
Lovie, who had moved to Reno when she was 15, faced feelings of disconnection to her new home where she knew nobody, especially at first. “I had to leave my friends and my first boyfriend behind. As you can imagine, for a 15-year-old my friends and family were my world,” she said. Lovie would graduate from high school when she was only seventeen years old.
“I didn’t know a single soul at graduation,” she said. Because she was so young, she couldn’t go to work right away, and so started taking classes at TMCC before her eighteenth birthday to gain education and skills that could help her to find her professional career path. Yet, what she found at TMCC went far beyond workforce training.
“The college offered me a way out of the depression I was in and a way to feel like I could accomplish something. I enjoyed the challenge of classes and the feeling of improving myself. I started to meet people, found things to get excited about and changed the direction of my spirit,” she said.
Learning New Skills
Among all the classes she took at TMCC, several still stand out to her. The most vibrant is a photography class in which Lovie and other students learned to take and edit pictures for commercial and other marketing purposes. “What a different world… because back then, you’d use a blue line pencil to edit photographs. Now, it’s all done on the computer, not by hand.”
Lovie remembers an assignment in that photography class that required that every student select a specific color and take a roll of film of images that featured objects with only that color without using a color swatch as a guide. “Well being an artist and very well attuned to mixing colors, when I got my roll of film back, the instructor asked me if I’d had something to help guide me, but I didn’t.” Lovie appreciated learning the nuances of photography, taking pictures inside of pictures, and making an image “speak.”
Beyond taking classes that fed her passion for art and creativity, Lovie also took bookkeeping and business classes that provided the foundation for her professional life. “I earned a General Business degree and those classes definitely gave me a good idea of what it takes to build a business, a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ planning that has to happen first,” she said. As a financial advisor, she walks entrepreneurs through some of these “behind the scenes” steps to building a business, which include building a solid client base, and having a solid financial plan to move forward and support the business’s growth. “That’s the reason a lot of businesses fail. So, yes, it’s nice that I have that background knowledge that I learned at TMCC,” she said.
Meeting Students in the Community
It’s hard to imagine a world without community colleges, but until the early 1970s, that was a reality for Nevada. Lovie remembers the innovation and convenience offered by education that offered alternative times and locations for nontraditional and working students.
“There was obviously a need for people to be able to go to school in the evenings, because when you’re working, you can’t just take off work to go to class,” she said. “TMCC offered all these evening classes, and that was really nice. And then somebody at the college thought to ask ‘how can we make this more convenient for folks?’ So they used the high schools during the hours when they weren’t being used for other students to make the classes more easily accessible.” She even had her mother take some of the art classes with her too, which are some of her fondest memories now.
Lovie also remembers another aspect of her classes that she appreciated: they were affordable.
“I mean, I know when they started building the campus on Dandini, I thought, well, good for them! And they kept the prices down so people could afford to do it. You could take classes for fun as well as get a degree. And they made the classes and the degrees transferable, so it wasn’t just a waste for one class or something that only existed at the college.”
Understanding Your Passion and Profession
Lovie became an independent business owner in 2010, and has been in business for over ten years. She continues to advise entrepreneurs on economic and business-savvy ways to build their businesses. Even though it’s important to bring your passion to your profession—no matter what it is—Lovie said that community college is exactly the right place to get started.
“It’s really important to take your core classes and to get a feel for what really attracts you, and what you have an inclination toward in those classes. So many people—the majority of clients who come to me—have a bunch of debt and they’re not even in a career that is making use of their degree. So, I think if a person focused on their core classes, they could really get a feel for what might be their true calling, and in the end, that will help you to find a better career path,” she said.
Business and art classes are what drew Lovie to TMCC, and those two disciplines continue to be major parts of her life. As a financial advisor, the business classes have paved the way for her to be successful in her career. And as for the art: it continues to be a lifelong passion.
“Art is my balance, and how I keep my sanity,” she said, remembering another lesson that came out of her time at TMCC: that your passions don’t always have to be your profession. Sometimes, it’s best they don’t. After she completed her degree, she contemplated becoming a graphic designer. When life took her in another direction, she said it was an unexpected blessing.
“Had I turned that passion into a job, I would have hated it. It’s different when you’re doing something for fun versus when you’re pressured to do it to make money,” she said. And while the line between personal and professional passion might not be easily discerned at first, education can help students to find the difference between the two. Being open-minded is key.
“Be open, check it out, break it down into bite-size pieces, and you will reach your goals,” she said.
TMCC 50th Anniversary Celebration
As a part of TMCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration for the 2021-2022 academic year, we will be highlighting the success stories of our amazing alumni. Check back with our anniversary website for more details of the ongoing celebration or send your alumni success stories to our Marketing and Communications team.