by MATT MOLINAR//Associate Editor
[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjunction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]
Less than one year after graduating from South Plains College, Nancy Gonzales was faced with the biggest challenge of her life – losing the one she loves.
Gonzales graduated from SPC in May 2016 with an Associate of Arts degree in agriculture communications. During her time at SPC, she was able to develop lasting relationships with professors who were willing to sit down and work with her.
“I chose SPC because while going to Meadow High School, which is a small community, I did the Texas Tech Upward Bound program,” Gonzales explained. “Doing that made me consider the transition. Going from 17 kids in a class to a mighty 300, I don’t think I could’ve done it. Going to SPC allowed me to meet with teachers more easily available to help me out.”
Gonzales says she recalls her fondest memories at SPC were with Charles Ehrenfeld, chairman of the Communications Department. During the span of three years she spent at SPC, she was able to make memories she will never forget.
“He cares,” Gonzales said of Ehrenfeld. “He really cares. He cared about your success, and if you had a problem with anything, he made the time to actually help you. He encourages you to be successful. Because he has had so much experience, he can easily answer any question you have in his classes.”
Currently, Gonzales works at the Lamesa Medical Arts Hospital as an insurance patient biller. She says she’s currently working on getting the experience needed to pursue the jobs she is interested in.
“I really want to work at the Texas Ag Union, or just any state agriculture business,” Gonzales said. “Ag is something I grew up around and have always known. Most Ag businesses are small town, and something I want to do is expand my career and work for bigger ag producers.”
On Thanksgiving Day, Gonzales’ boyfriend was involved in a motorcycle accident that ended his life. They had been dating “on and off” for eight and a half years. Dealing with tragedy wasn’t easy for Gonzales, but she says her work in agriculture helped keep her distracted from the thought of losing her loved one.
“It was very hard,” Gonzales said. “The way I actually coped with it was by keeping myself busy with work. I’m the president of the Meadow Livestock Association, and around that time we were trying to get things ready for stock shows.”
Gonzales is also a youth leader at her church in Levelland and says that there were many activities that needed to be planned during her time of mourning. This also kept her busy and distracted from the loss, she says.
“Staying busy prevented lots of thinking from happening,” Gonzales said. “I wasn’t really able to sit down and process the whole thing until after work. It was that and a lot – a lot of prayer that helped get me through it.”
Gonzales says that she was able to develop friendships during the time she was mourning. She says she was able to realize who was truly supporting her.
“My best friend, my sister, and more family kept constant communication with me,” she said. “That’s one of the biggest things that got me through it.”
Gonzales advises current SPC students to never give up while pursuing a dream. She says not to let anything get in the way of your goals, explaining that you get out of life what you put into it.
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish,” she said. “It’s your dream that you’re going after and your work that you are putting in. Ask questions, and don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot be something. There are programs on campus that can help you succeed. Go prove them wrong.”