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

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Police report outlines latest efforts to fight North Okanagan sex crimes

The local RCMP sex crimes unit has been involved in a number of investigations so far in 2021

Rutland Senior Secondary School. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Two Rutland schools exposed to COVID-19

Interior Health confirmed exposures at Rutland Senior Secondary and Pearson Road Elementary

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Members of the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus sing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Vernon choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

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

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read