SITE: The Value of Education

23rd Dec, 2020

2020 has been a year of unprecedented education and steep learning curves. An education none of us wished for, and yet we find ourselves in this “sink or swim” situation where honestly, we don’t have the choice. So, what have we learnt? 


The threat of a global pandemic, as predicted by many scholars and scientists for years, including Bill Gates, is actually here. We are living it, and it’s awful. We’ve learnt all about viruses, how they spread and the damage they wreak. We’ve learnt about the power of masks, and our hands are red raw from sanitising gel. 


We’ve learnt how interconnected our Global Economies are, and how fragile. We’ve had to evaluate, adapt, re-adapt, and in many cases, take incredibly difficult decisions. Many of us may have found ourselves furloughed or out of work completely, or if lucky enough to still have our job, drastically scrambling to upskill on technology platforms and the many other sharp turns that have been thrust upon us.


It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and no man/woman is an island. We have battled with isolation, loneliness, anxiety, fear, and some have suffered devastating bereavement. Others are struggling with a house-full of children and trying to balance work, educating the kids, and all the while keep the madness at bay. No doubt others are trying to cope with even more dire situations, stuck indoors, with no social avenues to turn to for help.

2020 is a worldly type of education. An education which smashes through classroom doors and broadens our perspectives, on everything. I think Albert Einstein got it right with the following: “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” 

In this day and age, it’s hard to know what exactly we need to learn, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. There has been a barrage of information and while we tried to soak everything up like diligent sponges back in March, April, May… I know we are all most likely a bit weary now. So, it’s time for a more focussed approach!

1) Stop for a minute. Don’t panic.
Take the time to really think about where you are, but also very importantly, where you ‘were’ and if you even liked it. There is no point yearning for the past if actually it didn’t suit you in the first place, so take time to evaluate this. Maybe this is your golden opportunity.

2) Now think about where you would like to go.
What do you need to do or learn to get there? Even if it’s to stay in the same job, I’m sure you know by now that will mean upskilling. If so, embrace that. Take it in bite sized chunks and go from there. Sign up to that online course. Commit to an hour a day. You can do it, but it won’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself, and with others. We are all in the same boat after all.

3) If you don’t know where you want to go, that’s OK too.
Sometimes we don’t immediately have the answers, and that’s fine too. But as Benjamin Franklin said, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” So, pick something. Allow your mind to indulge in a topic that interests it - much like physical exercise, the hardest part is getting off the couch… but aren’t you always glad when you do? The mind is a muscle which needs stretching… allow it an inch, and it will bring you a mile, probably to somewhere you never imagined or dreamed possible.

In 2020 we are both overwhelmed from the education we didn’t expect, and yet hungry for the education we need. For associations, trying to look after our members has been fundamental during this time. Upping our educational content has been a key instrument in staying connected and also helping members to know where they stand, and how to move forward.

What is important now is quality. Information overload and zoom fatigue are real. So, keep the content useful and varied. Keep it pro-active and informative, and finally, Keep It Up! All your readers are in need of something, and each piece of copy has the potential to enlighten or inspire one of your members. 

We are currently fighting a deadly virus, economies in turmoil, and a plethora of personal challenges. Our minds hold the answers. Education will unlock the door.

To end with one more quotation by Nelson mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 

By Sara Hosford, Director of Media & Industry Relations at SITE

Article provided by the Meetings + Millennials after invitation to the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE).
 Meetings + Millennials is a network for future young professionals in the Meetings & Events Industry. SITE is the only Business Events association dedicated exclusively to the global incentive travel industry.

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