College Life of a Retired Senior

A Memoir of Perseverance, Faith, and Trying the Way

Seven years after she retired from a lengthy career in banking, Yvonne Blackwood surprised her friends and family by returning to school at age sixty-four to pursue an English degree. Her purpose was fueled by four powerful reasons—to add texture to her writing; to ward off dementia; to enhance structure in her life; and to inspire her two young grandsons to continue their education after high school. But as she stepped onto the campus of Canada’s third-largest university, Blackwood had no idea of the hurdles she was about to face.

In a retelling of her journey into a new beginning, Blackwood details how, after enrolling in York University, she struggled to maintain her established lifestyle, attend class with hard-to-connect-with millennials, and face a series of challenges that included two strikes at the university, a campus lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shocking health diagnosis in her final year of studies. Blueink Review writes "...Blackwood’s appealing attitude and resilience keep readers turning pages, rooting for her success. Ultimately, this is an inspiring story of an older woman’s quest for knowledge. A Reader’s Guide is included to spark discussion."

Author's Notes

The adage that says people come into our lives for a reason and a season is oh-so-true. Influencers sometimes appear like genies without warning or explanation. We must recognize them and decide if we want to follow the path they try to lead us. I believe Olga was my genies. 
My life was going great when I attended the inaugural meeting of a new writer’s group in my city. Olga and I were the first to arrive. We introduced ourselves and swapped copies of one of our books. At the end of the second group meeting, Olga pulled me aside.
“I finished reading your book and enjoyed the story very much,” she said. “You know what I would do if I were you?”
“What?” I asked abruptly. I detest people who offer advice when not asked for. Besides, she didn’t know me well. 
“I suggest you do an English degree at the university. Your English is good, but I have that degree, and it helps me greatly to add texture to my writing. It will do the same for yours.”
I pondered the idea for several months and eventually registered with a university to pursue an English degree. What I didn’t know was how much the pursuit of the degree would inform me, challenge me, satisfy me, and drive me to consider giving up on more than one occasion. 
College Life of a Retired Senior is the story of my college journey.

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