The Covid-19 pandemic and numerous technological advances have made attaining a degree in higher education more widespread, as well as accessible to all. People who must work to maintain a standard of living have the option to attend class virtually, at their convenience. Within the last five years, degrees are being offered online that could only be previously acquired through in-person attendance. The nature of the pandemic has also forced many schools to shut down, making an online education more and more prevalent.
Zaina Gohou is a model, actress, and a sustainability research advocate. Although the scope of her career requires immense travel, she was able to recently obtain her degree in Sustainable Business Strategy at Harvard University. Gohou has always had an unrivaled passion to pursuit higher education, and given the current climate of the world, she strongly emphasizes the need for others to do the same.
The pandemic has forced everyone to be confined to their homes, leaving little opportunity for people to have a physical presence at various universities, evidence by most schools around the U.S. virtual to help their students keep up with their courses. When staying at home, people were given a lot of time to re-think what is really important to them, giving them the ability to make a decision on what they really want out of life. Gohou took this time to reflect on the concept of sustainability, as she was given a new approach to life after learning about how industries adapt to becoming more sustainable.
She began to think about what role she could play to speed up the process, as well as create awareness about possible ventures to encourage sustainability through different avenues. She had an idea to develop a company that is making sustainable products like plastic-free toothbrushes or reusable cups, as well as various progressive products in Africa. Gohou learned that there were many obstacles that presented themselves that could impede the progress of such sustainable ventures, such as: workers’ rights, transportation, packaging, weight, logistics, among many others. She had a strong desire to streamline such business ventures from the ground up, creating the potential for sustainability from all angles.
Gohou believes education is of paramount importance to help people achieve their dreams, as she believes that going outside one’s comfort zone and empowering others can be a great contribution to the ever-changing world we live in. Gohou is keen on education as she has firsthand knowledge of its vast power, having already attained a degree in psychology from the University of Mannheim. She is a firm proponent for impactful conversations among people, educated conversations from a diverse range of people that can lead to change and discovery. She believes that the education is critical in making the world a better place. When people begin to have such conversation, they open their eyes to things they previously could not understand, as they are given the chance to look at the world from another’s perspective. This creates an understanding that may previously not have existed, fostering relationships among those who may never have had them. These people can then share what they learned from people of other backgrounds and incorporate it into their daily lives. Without education, this would never have been possible.
Education can become an arduous task when it is online, regardless of the fact that online education is more affordable and accessible. It presents great hurdles because the focus and motivation required is often more difficult to sustain online, as opposed to being in an interactive classroom with fellow students, as well as a professor. It is much more difficult to focus on learning remotely because it limits the conversations among students that can lead to thoughtful breakthroughs, such that are not possible remotely. Such interaction is integral as it can pave the way for new beliefs and thought processes, and helps people attain a greater understanding of the subject.
Gohou says that a world-class education is not the biggest factor to attaining important knowledge, as a plethora of resources can be utilized to self-teach, mainly reading and listening to various podcasts. She believes that being avoiding scandalous journalism is also of great importance when attempting to properly educate oneself. There are many great informative online resources that take a neutral stance on subjects, videos, articles, and more. This is a great source for educating oneself about what is going on in the world today, and how to see it from an unbiased perspective. Such sources have greater appeal, content, and knowledge for those truly seeking to educate themselves about a certain subject.
Gohou cannot understate the importance of understanding what impacts our mainstream society, and the glaring need to create feasible substitutes. Gohou seeks to continue her self-enlightenment, as well as create methods for the betterment of society as a whole. She wants to create a safer future for society through education for years to come.