Student Interview with Dr. Catherine Wright

Do You Believe in Coincidence?

Student Interview with Dr. Catherine Wright
Dr. Catherine Wright

Have you ever experienced an event in your life, which made you feel terrible and made you think its end of the world? Maybe a case where you felt like you were almost done with one of the most important occasions in your life, and something came up that made you either start all over again or quit what you were doing?

Well, I believe that in life, everything happens for a reason. I do not believe in coincidence.  It happens in order to make you who you are.  Things happen so you can learn from your mistakes and become stronger.
I will provide evidence for my belief through the college dropout story of my favorite communication advisor at Mason, Dr. Catherina Wright. Wright is the faculty director of the Milan, Italy study abroad program, as well as the Advising Coordinator for the Communication Department. This is a story that tells how her unfortunate college experience became a miracle change in her life.

When first attending college, Wright felt stuck as a meteorology major at a school in Omaha, Nebraska.  "I hated what I was doing. I hated my major, but I felt trapped,” said Wright.  At the time, she did not seek guidance from an advisor about how she felt.   "If I had known how important advising was when I first started college, I would have been in a much better position to finish."

Another mistake in her college career, was leaving a few general education classes to finish during her senior year.  Her financial aid left her a few thousand dollars short in paying for her classes. Wright had maxed out all student loans, grants, and scholarship money and because she didn't have a "real" job, she could not apply for another loan to cover the amount needed to pay for everything. 

Her parents were not in a position to help her either, so she had to drop out. "Even though I had to drop out, it made me realize it is not a race. It doesn't matter when you get it done, just that you do,” said Wright.
“It was the worst summer I had experienced because I was only 27 credits short of graduating and I was almost done with my major,” said Wright.  This experience forced her to move back home with her parents with a $12,000 debt and no degree. 
After marrying her husband in 1990,

Wright knew she wanted to go back to college. She knew that meteorology was NOT the right major for her.  She had thoughts of pursuing a degree in either Sociology, Psychology, or Communication.

Another dilemma came about when her previous credits would not transfer to the new school she was attending.  Wright went from only have 27 hours to graduate to almost 60.  This simply created another obstacle along her journey to graduating.

After taking a few courses, she quickly fell in love with communication.  From then, there was no turning back.  She took almost every communication class they offered.

Her final undergraduate degree was something similar to a Bachelor of Individualized Study. In 1992, Wright earned a Bachelor of Science in a Personalized Program of Study with a concentration in Business Communication from Phillips University.

Wright said that she really did well once she knew what she wanted to do. After that, she went on to get her Masters in Mass Communication from Texas Tech University and her PhD from Regent University.
In our interview, Wright gives some tips for students; “What I want students to know is that even if you have to take time off, or that you have drop out, or if you have to pay for your own college, it is worth it,” said Wright. “Paying off the student loans, even though I had no degree, was hugely depressing...but I did it!” she exclaimed.

Wright goes on to say, “There's no "easy" major, it's the one that works well for you personally that makes it easy for you."

The fact that she had to drop out was never a coincidence. It happened for a reason and brought her to where she is today as professor, advisor, mother, and a wife.   Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.