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Oregon State Everywhere: Taking the road less traveled

Psychology student’s decision to return to school online has made all the difference

Oregon State University Ecampus psychology student Tracey Campion sits next to her dog, Poppy.

A variety of support resources have helped Tracey Campion throughout her time learning online with Oregon State, including an Ecampus student success coach – and her dog, Poppy.

By Tracey Campion
OSU Ecampus psychology student
Oct. 24, 2019

Becoming an OSU Ecampus student was a very cohesive and grounding experience for me. Deciding to finish the degree I had started many years earlier brought my life experiences together in an unexpected way.

Initially, the spark to complete my education had come from arriving at one of those road-less-travelled crossroads that prod you to make a decision and keep you stuck there till you do.

That spark hit me when I was working in Mexico at one of my lifelong entrepreneurial, self-employment projects. This particular project was nearing its end, and I found myself looking back at a lifetime of creating my own work. I realized that I was getting older and feeling less inclined to start new projects from scratch.

I had taken all the big risks I was willing to take, and at the crossroads I felt a yearning for a more cerebral type of work. I realized that while I had always brought community into my work and found ways for it to be meaningful occupation, I wasn’t truly contributing as much as I wanted to.

Graduation on the horizon

As a new college student 25 years earlier, I had declared psychology as my major in hopes of becoming a counselor or therapist. It was a cherished goal that I had not been able to follow.

This is what brought me to Oregon State’s online bachelor’s degree program in psychology.

I will graduate in December with my degree in psychology – not with a view of pursuing a master’s degree and becoming a licensed therapist after all, but with another goal in mind.

As a way to gain exposure to what being a therapist would be like, I had found a clerical position at a large, private counseling agency in Portland. The experience there gave me valuable personal insight. I found that I loved being behind the scenes working in a support role and – after a promotion – running a clinic.

Following the thread

I had owned and operated a print production company, a restaurant, an art gallery, a jazz club, a house-flipping business, a house-cleaning business and more, and in all of these endeavors there was a thread.

I had always been drawn to coaching employees or clients in some way. Whether they wanted to start their own restaurant, open a music school or buy their first home, they needed help from someone who knew how and who could be an ally.

I’ve always loved that role, and it has become clear that I should be practicing as a small business self-employment coach. But I was struggling with the idea of it after spending so much time working toward becoming a therapist. I needed a coach!

My Ecampus success coach, Bethany Ulman, became my sounding board and ally, and the concept began to fall into place.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology could not be a more fitting education for a coach, and I am so appreciative that the OSU Ecampus program was available for me to return to school online as an older, working student from outside the country.


The Oregon State Ecampus staff thanks Tracey for submitting her unique, inspiring story to share with others through the Oregon State Everywhere campaign.

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