The Hub Tracey Clarke: An educational pursuit

AU is incredibly proud of the commitment and perseverance our incredible learners show us. We see it every day, and we’re blown away by your profound ability to juggle so many important tasks.

Has AU helped to transform your life? From a mother’s perspective, this is Tracey Clarke’s story.

Pursuing something new

After a decade of building a successful and enjoyable career as a realtor, I decided it was time to pursue something new. In 2013, at the age of 40, I had my first and only child.

Real estate worked well with a young child as it afforded me the luxury of making my own schedule and staying home with my son. However, by 2017 when my son was starting school full-time, I did not enjoy the late nights and weekends away from him. I have always had a passion for learning and working with children, so I decided to return to school once again to obtain my degree and make a career change into something that gives me more time with my son while my desire to work with children.

A flexible schedule

I had already achieved several college diplomas over the years, and I discovered I could transfer some of my college credits towards a degree through Athabasca University. The flexibility of studying and completing assignments on my own schedule was also extremely attractive. Now that I had a few “free” hours throughout the day while my son was at school, I could work away at some courses. I started out with one course at a time and found it manageable. I then decided to “up my game” and jumped feet first into a full-time workload. At the very same time my son started having struggles with his long school days. This led to us reducing his school hours to half days restricting my study time. In addition, I was still working as a full-time realtor and was experiencing an extremely busy spring market. Study time ended up being extremely limited, but a reliable and supportive partner helped to make it all possible.

Tracey Clarke holding her Bachelor of General Studies degree from Athabasca University

“ I was determined to finish my degree as quickly as possible and was able to achieve that goal this past March – in just under two and a half years! ”

– Tracey Clarke

Full-time demands

It has been challenging working full-time, being a full-time mom, and for the most part, engaging in full-time studies.  I was determined to finish my degree as quickly as possible and was able to achieve that goal this past March – in just under two and a half years! It has been extremely demanding juggling work, studies, volunteering, and parenting, not to mention the unexpected colds and flu bugs that always hit at the most inopportune times. I wanted to ensure our family life was affected as little as possible by my studies, so I only worked on them when my son was at school or in bed.

Returning to school has been an extremely satisfying experience. I have grown tremendously both personally and academically in such a short period of time. It has pushed me to my limits, shown me how much more I can handle, and how much better I can become ­­– while hopefully at the same time being a great role model for my son.

Tracey and her son wearing bunny ears for Easter with a friend standing between them
Tracey Clarke and her family celebrating Easter.

A teacher in the making

After I completed my Bachelor of General Studies (with distinction) at Athabasca University, many more doors opened for me. Not only did this instil confidence in me and what I could achieve, but it was a tremendous stepping stone. In February of this year I was accepted into the Bachelor of Education Program at Queen’s University. Not only have I achieved many of my academic goals, but in 16 months I will be on my way to achieving my career goal – helping children achieve their educational goals.



  • May 8, 2020