The relevance of pursuing an undergraduate degree amidst the pandemic

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Uncertainty, despair, and even a basic fear of continuing with our lives as we used to before the pandemic persists, as the conversations about the new normal, color-coded risk levels, and economic reopening continues.

Academic institutions will have to delay face-to-face instruction at all educational levels. But the world does not stop. The new school cycle is about to begin or has already begun at some institutions with the support of information technologies, via virtual mode.

Given the uncertainty on what the future may bring, many students who are about to enter higher education believe that it is better not to venture into anything new; others, however, consider that this is the perfect time to get a degree.

The pandemic and its economic effects will pass, and the requirements of skilled professionals will increase in a hastened way. The problem with declining enrollments is that if a smaller cohort of students starts their undergraduate education now, then in four or five years we will see a deficit of the skilled professionals that the industry requires, says Dr. Dalia Chávez, Director of the CETYS University School of Engineering, International Campus in Ensenada.

The professor and researcher emphasizes that a number of prospective professionals are thinking about delaying their university studies due to different factors associated with the contingency. “The impact of this decision will affect not only university enrollment this Fall; the impact will be felt further. Employers will see the effects down the road as this crisis may extend for years,” she said.

Specialists and analysts argue that developed countries will need around three years to overcome the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, while countries like Mexico will need ten years.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative to rethink strategies and innovation plans. It is a fact that Mexico and the world will need well-prepared professionals more than ever to face and overcome the crisis.”

It is true that for many, starting a career at this moment could be extremely hard due to the challenging economic situation; thus, the professor suggests searching for options and not giving up. She considers that, despite everything, the actual scenario favors resilience and facilitates learning new technologies, developing skills that become competitive advantages that will improve the student’s abilities to overcome any obstacle, this in addition to the fact that the job market will be robust.

“Not only the new normal but Mexico and the post-pandemic world will need better-prepared engineers, administrators, psychologists, lawyers, designers, etc. It is better to cope with the crisis by being prepared, with knowledge, and above all, understanding that we can contribute to better the situation. Let us remember that solutions and research emerging in the fight against the pandemic are due to people who studied and prepared formally,” concluded Dr. Dalia Chavez.

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