Mare McHale is a student at Okanagan College. (Contributed)

Mare McHale is a student at Okanagan College. (Contributed)

Okanagan College student hits the books after writing a book

Mare McHale published a book in January of this year about her family’s journey over the last five years

Tyler Finley – Okanagan College

Every challenge presents a new opportunity and for Okanagan College’s Mare McHale, returning to school last September was yet another twist in 2020 that she hadn’t planned but also an opportunity to invest in her future.

“So much has changed this year, but having time at home means reflecting on where our family could be after the pandemic passes. In that lens, going back to class just made sense,” said McHale.

“When I was taking those first steps of applying to OC, I was in contact with about five or six staff members and every single one was super helpful and kind. I have been blown away by the service and availability.”

McHale is a former journalist and radio announcer who owns her own social media marketing company, Redhead Mare Media. While she has been a Youtuber for several years, she was thrust even further into the spotlight when her husband, Jeremy, took his own life in 2017. This tragic loss threw her into a spiral of survival as a widow and single mom of a son with special needs.

She published a book in January of this year about her family’s journey over the last five years. Titled Finding Your Cape: How to Course Correct and Achieve Greatness When Things Don’t Go As Planned, the book has become an Amazon bestseller in the grief, mental health and happiness categories.

READ MORE: Okanagan ChristmasFest back for a third year

In the midst of her mental health advocacy work though, McHale found herself wanting to draw upon more than just her own experiences.

“There is value in having an education. Credentials demonstrate that you understand the foundation of the issues,” she said, adding that people often turn to her for information and advice given her experiences.

“I always refer people to their doctor and the health resources that are in our community, but I also want the knowledge and coping tools that the professionals have for myself.”

She is working toward becoming a registered psychologist and is completing her first two years of university studies at Okanagan College with an Associate of Arts Degree. Once that program is complete, she will transfer her credits to complete a Bachelor’s of Social Work, followed by a counselling psychology master’s degree.

It is a long educational road to take, which will likely involve graduate school as well. But in McHale style, she is taking the changes in stride – laughing about being a mature student who needs a back pillow and ergonomic mouse pad.

“Studying at home gives me the flexibility to be available for my son when he needs me, and my instructors are giving us creative assignments to showcase our learning. I critiqued a pop culture song in my Gender Studies class and just produced a video for another assignment,” she said.

“Going back to school has been a great experience. I wish I could complete all of my studies at OC.”

For those looking to follow in McHale’s footsteps, Okanagan College’s Associate of Arts Degree transfers to 11 different universities in B.C. alone. Find out about the Associate of Arts here.

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan soccer alumni’s long road to becoming pro


Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
Follow me on Twitter

Okanagan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

Penticton’s Landmark Cinema has closed for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic.(Google Maps photo)
Get a true home theatre experience with take-out popcorn

Landmark Cinemas in Penticton will be opening their concession stand for take-out orders

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Lauren Shular shows the Apexico Tshirts she designed and is selling
UBC Okanagan student says ‘if can’t go to Mexico – head to Apexico’

Apex family have designed fun Tshirts that are flying off the cabin shelves

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist rushed to Kelowna General Hospital after collision

The collision occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Gerstmar Road

Most Read