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Why Education Matters in Times of Crisis…and Always

National trends indicate a slower than usual college application season for the fall 2021 academic year*. While not surprising given the economic, emotional and academic challenges of the pandemic, these trends are of concern. An individual’s, and quite frankly a nation’s, best path to continued growth and resilience is a solid infrastructure in the form of the education of its populace. While priorities may shift momentarily to cope with pressing needs that cannot be deferred, the most reliable path to sustainable progress is higher education – a long-term investment in your future. We are all aware that education can come in many forms, from formal instruction to lived experiences, historically, higher education has provided both by encouraging creativity, expanding knowledge of the world and one’s options within, and in the process, providing an opportunity for significant growth.

These times of crisis will not last so we need to be prepared when the veil of uncertainty and instability lifts. While the path of least resistance might be to go directly to a 9 – 5 position to provide an immediate revenue stream, it is important to put a plan in place to achieve your long-term professional and personal goals. This means not abandoning thoughts of higher education altogether, but rather, revising your timeline. Perhaps you cannot start college now because of your current circumstances. You can, however, set targeted goals and work towards achieving them. For example, a goal to start college within a year, or to start now but part-time, and then make the transition to full-time studies when the time is right.

Although you might need to scale back your plans momentarily, maintaining focusing is key:

  • Articulate your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.

  • Prepare a realistic timeline for meeting these goals.

  • Do not be discouraged if you need to adjust your timeline due to unexpected setbacks; instead, regroup and forge ahead with a renewed sense of purpose.

These steps will provide a chance to look beyond your current circumstances and create an action plan for moving ahead. Keep in mind that while the foundation laid by your education can take you as far as you dare to dream, sometimes it can take you much, much further.

Now is the time to envision a brighter future, and how your education can take you there.


Stephanie Bingham, PhD is an academician with more than a decade of experience teaching, coaching, and mentoring undergraduate students.

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