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. While leaning on the university’s motto—the way must be tried—Blackwood tells an inspiring story of how she persevered and learned to rely on her faith as she bravely conquered her fears and vulnerabilities to eventually achieve her goal.
College Life of a Retired Senior is the true story of a former bank manager’s experiences as she returned to college in the third act of life to earn a degree in English.
Meet Yvonne Blackwood
Yvonne Blackwood is the author of four adult non-fiction books, Into Africa: A Personal Journey, Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? Into Africa: the Return, and College Life of a Retired Senior: A Memoir of Perseverance, Faith, and Finding the Way. She has also published three children’s picture books: Nosey Charlie Comes to Town, Nosey Charlie Goes to Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes on a Wiener. An award-winning short-story writer, Blackwood has contributed stories to several anthologies, including Human Kindness, Canadian Voices, and Wordscape. She has published articles in magazines including More of Our Canada, Adelaide, InTouch, and Green Prints and has written columns for the Toronto Star, Pride Newspaper, and The African Connection. Blackwood retired after a thirty-seven-year banking career.