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Oregon State Everywhere: Gaining a deep understanding after a tragic loss

A selfie photo of OSU Ecampus student Kristina Tucker, who is pursuing a psychology degree online.

Following the sudden death of her husband, Kristina Tucker began searching for ways to help her four children and herself cope with their suffering. Studying psychology online with Oregon State, she says, has given her the knowledge she needed to heal.

OSU’s online psychology program helps student process grief and tap into new career ambitions

By Kristina Tucker
OSU Ecampus psychology bachelor’s student

Oregon State Ecampus has allowed me to achieve my dreams of earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Being able to learn online enabled me to be a parent to my four children while still completing coursework. Not only have I been able to learn about facets of human behavior and cognition, but this platform also made it possible to participate fully in my children’s lives. The balance of assignments and my personal life was attainable because of the accessibility of the program.

My main passion in life is being able to take care of my children. At the same time, learning what drives behavior and thought has always been something important to me. My hope for the future is to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology, which will allow me to integrate what I have learned and pass on the knowledge to those around me. If I hadn’t been able to earn my bachelor’s degree online, I would have never had the strength and determination to further my career aspirations.

“If I hadn’t been able to earn my bachelor’s degree online, I would have never had the strength and determination to further my career aspirations.”

When I was 28, my husband died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism, leaving me to take care of my children alone. I was devastated, and I didn’t have a college education or a career that would enable me to take care of my children.

After attending grief groups for myself and for my children, I realized that what motivated me to keep trying was that I wanted to understand what happened to our thinking. We all had different degrees of suffering, but I didn’t understand what actually had happened. Grief is an expected presentation of loss, but what struck me as the most significant aspect is that the very essence of who we all were changed.

I wanted to know why, and when I learned that Oregon State offered a psychology degree online, I was determined to earn my degree here. I knew there would be challenges along the way, but I never realized that my pursuit of a degree would give me the knowledge I needed to heal.

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The motivation to understand how and why my thinking and behavior changed pushed me towards completing my degree with OSU Ecampus. The classes were difficult and sometimes it felt overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade anything for this experience. It has taught me balance within my own life, taught me an understanding of mental processes, and most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to further my career aspirations. And that will allow me to take care of my children.

My advice to anyone who is hesitant about earning a degree online is to look within and ask yourself what you want in life. Learning online makes it possible to maintain your current life while working to achieve all that you want for yourself.

It sets you up for success in your future and gives you a foundation to gain insight as you build a career. I am forever grateful for the chance I have had, and I know that without it, I wouldn’t have the courage and determination I now embody.

Editor’s note: Kristina completed her psychology bachelor’s degree requirements online and graduated from Oregon State University.

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