Shelby Harris: A home away from home

Shelby looks off in the distance outside of Jermaines

Shelby Harris: A home away from home

Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 2:15pm

Autumn is coming to pass, winter draws closer, and the Gunnison Valley is getting much colder as the nights get longer. It's a change from the Arizona deserts for Shelby Harris, a 20-year-old junior here at Western, but after living here for a few years she's started to acclimate.

While Harris is a Tucson, Ariz. native, she says she doesn’t much mind the snow; she actively skis and snowboards when time allows. She does, however miss the regular, more temperate seasons of her home state.

“[Tucson] was a good place to grow up—as a parent it would be an easy place to live," Harris said. "I liked growing up there—it doesn’t feel like home now that I’ve lived up here for two years … I step into [my parent’s] world. It’s not my world anymore.”

Despite the distance Harris is still incredibly close to her parents: “I live here in Gunnison [full time],” she said. “My sophomore year, my parents bought a house in town—they love it up here.”

College, for Harris, is a stepping stone toward greater successes in the future, as is her job at a bed-and-breakfast, The Ruby of Crested Butte. She likes greeting people and seeing them smile, but this isn’t the work she wants to follow for the rest of her life.

Western's small size and the academics drew her here and pulled her away from enrolling at Arizona State University, a popular choice among her peers. Western is a challenge, a new climate in a small town with small class sizes and personal connections with her instructors. Harris said she wouldn’t have gotten that at ASU.

“It would’ve been too easy,” she said.

“Everyone’s parents push them to go to college, but I wanted to go to college. It’ll make me seem more qualified for my job. I want to be an event planner,” she cracked a smile. “You can go a lot of different ways with that …. Or I’ve been thinking about working for a mission organization, leading trips.”

Harris is devoted to her future, determined to do right by the world; but she still makes plenty of time to have fun and relax. If there’s a game of frisbee or a ski slope that’s open during the winter, you can catch her there.

“I love sports,” she said. “It’s what I do for fun. I can’t just sit down and do nothing—I’ve always done it!”

Story by Mason Albrechtson. Photo by Mason Albrechtson.