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

A rendering of the proposed development at the intersection of Leon Avenue and Water Street. (Contributed)
Massive Leon Ave development coming back to Kelowna council

The towers would stand at 24, 28 and 42 storeys, the largest of which would be the tallest building in the city

Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
November temperatures warmer than average in Kelowna

Kelowna won’t see much in the way of rain or snow until around Dec. 10

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna’s Stuart Park outdoor ice rink opening delayed

Recent provincial health orders have again shifted the city’s strategy regarding the popular rink

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Rutland IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Most Read