Wright to Fulfill Lifelong Goal on May 4
WILMINGTON- Virginia Wright, a student at the Wilmington location of the University of Mount Olive (UMO), believes that it is never too late to follow your dreams. At age 57, she is finally doing what she has always wanted to do – get a college degree.
A native of Durango, Colorado, Wright found that life got in the way of her initial educational plans. As a single parent, Wright had to focus on raising her son instead of continuing to attend junior college. “I had taken some college courses throughout the years, but not enough to earn a degree,” she said. “I did not feel that I was getting far in my career and felt that there were limited opportunities where I had lived most of my life.” When Wright moved to Wilmington, she felt that the time was right to go back to school. She enrolled at UMO in the fall of 2014 as an accounting major and leadership minor.
Returning to school later in life was initially daunting for Wright. “At my age, it was definitely a scary prospect returning to school. However, it was something I have always wanted to do,” Wright said. “I have had many experiences where I have had more working knowledge than those just graduating college, but I was paid much less, because I did not have a degree.”
Wright currently works at CEPCO, a homeowner association management company, as the client services supervisor. She hopes that her accounting degree will give her more opportunities in the company. “My employers are happy that I am earning my degree and are looking for ways to help me advance within the company,” Wright shared.
Wright has already seen the benefits of returning to school in her current job. “I feel more confident in my dealings with people at work,” she said. “I feel that my opinion carries more weight because of my confidence and knowledge. I have certainly learned more and know that I have more to offer now than I did before returning to school.”
Along with the challenges that many adults face when working full time and attending school, Wright has had to overcome other struggles as well. “In 2016, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to have a hysterectomy,” Wright shared. “I was able to rearrange my schedule to have an online class during my recuperation period so I did not have to lose any momentum.” A year later, a detached retina required another surgery for Wright. She was determined to persist in her educational journey with the help of having online classes. “Even through these challenges, which I could have taken as setbacks, I kept with it and managed to persevere,” Wright continued. “I started this journey and am not going to let anything stand in my way of completing it. When I put my mind to something, I do not stop until I have obtained what I set out to get.”
Having her family’s support has been an important part of Wright’s educational experience. “They are very proud of me for accomplishing a goal that I have had for so long,” she said.
Although her journey has been unconventional, Wright is glad she decided to pursue her dreams of returning to college. “I have definitely discovered that you are never too old to learn and should never pass up any opportunity to do so,” she said. She would urge other adults who are thinking of returning to college to do it. “Don’t wait any longer,” she advised. “You will be so fulfilled and rewarded.”
Wright is set to graduate from UMO on May 4, 2019. With her family there to help her celebrate, she knows she will be reflecting on her “rewarding and fulfilling” journey. “I will be thinking that, finally, I have accomplished a lifetime goal that I did not think I would ever achieve,” Wright said.
Wright is the daughter of Martha Winters and the mother of Jared Wright.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.