“What 2020 taught us is to make plans with a pencil…”

Here is to the start of a new year for the SAYAS blog. Although (or because?) many of us challenged our fates by saying the year cannot be worse than the previous one, for some of us the first month of 2021 brought more negative moments than the whole twelve months of 2020.

With many lessons from 2020, I am starting this year with low expectations but big dreams and high energy for work. But I am making plans with a pencil…and an eraser close by.

A few years ago, I asked a professor that was giving a talk on the future of education and work “so, which are the skills I make sure that my own kids should have?” and she said “ethics and adaptability” [Prof Stephanie, every presentation – a lesson for us, thank you]. How true these words were! In a maybe forceful manner, our world was tested in both. The higher education system even more; as with any big shock of change in conditions exogenous to the system, there were winners and losers. We were not fully prepared and we were not anticipating the magnitude of the shock.

But we cannot talk of a shock anymore. It has been a year that we are in this situation; everybody talking about the “new normal” that is coming next. Well, hello?? The “new normal” is here and we have had time to acknowledge it. Let’s live now within these conditions (not as “unprecedented” anymore) and take it a step at a time. Let’s plan and dream and set high targets as always. Just put them down in pencil and be prepared with alternative plans, and be willing to move into these as though it was the plan from the beginning.


Looking forward to work with the new SAYAS bloggers. More now than ever, we need to listen to each other and try and learn the world from other people’s perspectives.

Cheers to another full round around the sun.

Cheers to be healthy.

Cheers to making an impact with out discussions and our actions. 

Roula Inglesi-Lotz

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