Desperate times call for smart measures.
These days, as we try to stay patient and hopeful while hoping that the Coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdown and self-isolation will end soon, there is a great amount of uncertainty regarding the future. Our first instinct is to safeguard ourselves, our families, our investments, our education and future. This often leads to knee-jerk reactions. Anyone who is uncertain tends to immediately retire into a safe place and the thinking process goes into “safe mode”. This short-term security, can however lead to long-term damage.
The field of education takes a lot of planning. Parents begin to save for an Education Fund the moment they plan a family! We need to understand what effect this short-term thinking in the context of Coronavirus can have on our long-term education plans.
There are some instances of candidates who already have an admission in hand. They are in two minds about accepting the offer. Deciding not to go to a prestigious school like an MIT, a Harvard, or a Cambridge because the world is in the throes of the Corona epidemic, is like throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Some who were planning to apply this year are decided to not apply at all because of the threat of Coronavirus and its fallout.
Why throw away your future when you can still prepare for it? The long-term strategy shouldn’t be discarded through such a knee jerk reaction - seemingly sane in the short term but disastrous from the medium to long term perspective. Rather, this is a time for some really smart thinking that should help you achieve your objective. The old adage, ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ is probably a dramatization which is certainly not true for the contemporary smart individual. Rather, what seems to be apt is a new twist on this age-old saying, “Desperate times call for smart measures.”
You want to study abroad? Think back instead to your motivation for this decision. Why did you want to study there, at a specific college? Go back to the drawing board, or your quiet place, and look back to the original motivation. The answer will probably be the same:
- It’s a great place to study
- It will infuse your personality and perspective with new experiences
- The job prospects after studying at an Ivy League college are undeniably great
- You gain a top-of-the-line brand name which is recognized all round the world
Will this not be true post-Corona?
The COVID-19 pandemic is surely not the last stand of humanity. Life, as we knew it pre-pandemic, will certainly not return to normal in a jiffy. We can also definitely expect sea-changes in the professional world and our personal lives. But these colleges and schools that have stood the test of time and have proved their excellence and integrity over centuries, these will not change.
In the lockdown period, when everything is at a standstill, work on building your profile. Once life is back to normal, what then? Give it your most conservative timeline by which you expect normalcy to return. If you think that education at a top-not college will give you a boost towards your aims, or job prospects, then don’t scuttle your desire or ambition..
Over time, a lot of people have come to the same conclusion. It is a known fact that competition for highly selective education destinations increases when there is higher uncertainty in the world. This happened in the post-Lehman crisis of 2008 and, while this epidemic is much bigger, the impact of this is likely to be the same - admissions to selective colleges are going to become more difficult.
So, focus on making your profile more nuanced. In a changing world, the opportunities are many, and there are no limitations. Take your ideas, and fly with them. Reflect your focused determination to get into these selective schools. Dream higher, and work hard - you shall get into your dream school.