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Starting Now: How Olga Rediscovered Her Passion in Retirement

posted by Savannah on Wednesday, 26 February 2020

It’s never too late to start 

Learning without limits. This is the Oxbridge motto, our promise to students. Why? Because we believe that there should be no barriers to education – whether it’s time, age, location, access or prior knowledge, nothing stands in the way between you and learning with Oxbridge.  

Our student, Olga

Meet our student, Olga!

That’s why our student Olga Mylona enrolled with us in January 2019! At 61 years old, living in sunny Greece, Olga enrolled on our Complete Bookkeeping, Accounts and Payroll ICB Bundle.

Once a busy-bee, always a busy-bee 

“I am a retiree. I was a flight attendant for 22 years and I spent two years as payroll staff and bookkeeper. Taking time out, I stopped working for maternity leave twice. When I retired, I felt exhausted from simply not being as busy as I was used to! I knew I wanted to go back to work and be active. Enrolling on the Oxbridge ICB Bundle was just the right move for me.” 

From the Philippines to Greece; from bookkeeping to flight attending 

Olga’s education began in the Philippines, where she was born and raised. She added, “I graduated in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Accounting at the University of the East in Manila. I was in my 3rd year of a 4-year bachelor’s degree when I began working in payroll at a management firm. However, I resigned from this job to devote my whole time to my final year and finishing my CPA (Certified Public Accountant) review. 

Olga as a Flight Attendant

Olga enjoyed her time as a Flight Attendant

Whilst I managed to finish the review, I didn’t complete the CPA National Board Examinations. I decided to leave for greener pastures and joined the last batch of recruits for Saudi Arabian Airlines as a flight attendant. This was a deviation in my career and my life. No regrets. I met my husband there. Now we have two children and I recently became a grandmother to a wonderful baby girl.” 

As life presented different pathways, Olga seized every opportunity and tried different careers before finding what eventually felt right. Motivated, she further explored her interest in bookkeeping working in the accounts department of a multinational shipping company in Greece, circa 1983. Yet the office experience let her down… 

Olga reflected, “I worked there for just two days! Hating being stuck in an office, I went back to work as a flight attendant instead- this time for the Olympic Airways in Greece. I worked there until I retired; I never returned to bookkeeping but always had an interest in it. Life just turned out differently.” 

Returning to bookkeeping 37 years later 

It wasn’t just her career that inspired Olga to enrol with us. She felt compelled to keep her mind fresh in the modern world. She said, “I wanted to keep myself intellectually active and try to be integrated again in the workforce of today’s online technology.” 

But why Oxbridge? Well, we caught her eye: “I’d been looking on Google for ways to go back to school. Then, an Oxbridge advertisement attracted my attention while scrolling through Facebook. All I needed was a refresh course to be able to cope in today’s industry. Oxbridge offered the chance to get that from home.”   

I wanted to keep myself intellectually active.

Despite the long gap from bookkeeping, Olga has confidence in her abilities: “At almost 62 years old, I still believe I am capable of much more and want to follow my passion. I enjoy submerging myself in technology. Now I rely on my computer. It suits me that I do not have to be in a designated place at a definite time to execute my job.  

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to meet colleagues and I’m eyeing for an apprenticeship to spend time with more people. Wherever it takes me, considering my age, I’ll be grateful to have the opportunity.”  

Distance learning in Greece 

Olga in Greece

There is so much beauty to explore in Greece!

Home learning suited Olga as it gave her the added confidence to progress at her own pace. Living in a beautiful part of Greece, Olga breaks up her studying by walking along the seashore with her dog and dining out with friends.  

“When I started my course, I covered at least one unit a week and submitted one assignment a week. Still, I kept this up for at least two months and then slowed down when my granddaughter was born. However, a day does not pass without me browsing relevant topics.” 

Being able to study with Oxbridge has completely changed Olga’s retirement plans. Now, she views distance education as a blessing, something that keeps getting better: “Home learning is today’s conformity to technology that keeps upgrading. It is an outreach to remote places where once unreachable. I say to everyone: grab your opportunity now.” 

Improving existing knowledge 

The bundle we offer covers everything from accounting for VAT in a bookkeeping system to reconciliation and determining the correct about of tax deductions. Olga found the topics that improved her understanding of the latest software most helpful.  

Olga insisted, “I already had a strong understanding of bookkeeping. What I needed was a better understanding of modern computer systems. My course is teaching me how to access new bookkeeping software, something I did not study back in my university days (decades ago).”  

I feel confident to go back to the workforce! Studying again at my age has given me a wellbeing boost.

Module 1.7 of the ICB Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping is called ‘Understand the Importance of IT Systems in a Modern Bookkeeping World.’ This module has a focus on computer safety and the importance of keeping a secure system. As a qualified Bookkeeper, you need to be able to protect yourself from the threat of cyber-fraud.  

“I revived my basic knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting. Also, I learned how to use and understand computerized bookkeeping which is easy as A B C. Now I feel confident to go back to the workforce! Studying again at my age has given me a wellbeing boost. Of course, I look forward to passing the remaining exam so I can land a job, regardless of being a retiree.”   

Overcoming challenges by #StartingNow 

There’s nothing more rewarding than dinner out after a long day of studying!

“The most difficult or challenging part of my learning journey is my being a non-UK resident because I cannot easily attend related seminars and ICB gatherings. I believe that in the UK, I could already be working as an apprentice in the workforce. But I appreciate the opportunity to learn via Oxbridge and be connected with UK experienced ICB tutors.” 

One thing that many of our students have in common is curiosity. It’s this curious nature that drives them to pursue more knowledge – they find a way regardless of any barriers or setbacks. Olga said herself, “continued learning is what I am passionate about. Discovering new technologies is exciting.” 

It’s about finding that determination to achieve and acting on it. By committing to #StartingNow, you action the steps needed to reach your goals. For Olga, “Starting now means no one is too old for school. Starting now means equal opportunity, regardless of where anyone comes from or what stage in life you’re at.

Your time may not be the same as my time, but we share the same determination and quest for knowledge. That’s because starting now is about starting when the time is right for YOU.” 

One truly inspiring woman 

If given the chance, home learning will make us all better.

Olga raised her two children in Greece.

When asked what her biggest achievements are, Olga said it’s her two children and granddaughter. With a big heart and a passion to live life to its fullest, Olga has developed self-confidence and boldness. She avowed, “I fight for what is right, I adapt to situations and I survive, I never give up.” It’s this fearlessness that has led her to new career and learning opportunities all through her life. She is an inspiration for all our students. 

What advice would Olga give to you? “Returning to education later in life will make you feel younger and happier. You should never feel like it’s too late to learn something new.” 

When Olga joined Oxbridge, she embarked on a two-year bundle course which she is currently halfway through. She has performed excellently so far, having passed one of two examinations with flying colours. We are proud to share her learning journey with you, to showcase our students who are passionate about learning.  

As an international student of Oxbridge, Olga gets to experience the limitless benefits of home learning. She said, “I would like to thank Oxbridge and everyone who has been instrumental in my learning for this opportunity. If given the chance, home learning will make us all better.”  


Do you relate to Olga’s story? Have you been inspired to leap into learning? We are here to help you take the first step. Browse our selection of distance learning courses or give us a call on 0121 630 3000 to chat with one of our friendly course advisers.