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Jonathan Cornelissen Shows Power of Education in an Economic Slump

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When the economy turns turbulent, many people become fearful of losing their employment and being unable to find a new source of income. While this fear is understandable, it also need not be reflective of reality for those that are equipped with knowledge of how to overcome difficult economic times. To aid our readers in this pursuit, we turned our attention to one of the most time-tested strategies for thriving while job prospects become murky — education. To help us explore this concept, we also looked to work by Jonathan Cornelissen, a leader in the field of data education.

Professional background

One of the reasons Jonathan Cornelissen makes for a helpful resource in this discussion is that he’s the founder of DataCamp, a popular online resource for learners seeking to improve their data literacy. The platform has become a go-to destination for anyone who feels a background in data education may help them perform their job responsibilities more effectively or might improve their access to employment opportunities. That idea has been borne out by employers themselves, who often pay for their employees to have access to the platform’s resources. When employers are paying out of pocket to improve the knowledge base of their employees, it’s a good indication that the knowledge is likely contributing to their bottom line.

That understanding of how a background in data science helps employers and employees alike is why the tech entrepreneur makes for a valuable point of study during an economic slump. Part of his inspiration for creating his learning platform was the observation that data was an important part of the economy and was set to increase in importance over time. He also saw that there was a lack of resources designed to help improve the data literacy of individuals and organizations. In creating his data learning platform, he showed an understanding of a broader concept that can be useful for any individual seeking work — improving one’s educational foundation in a field with growing demand can be a key part of finding quality employment.

Data demand

The tech entrepreneur’s insight that data was set to play a greatly expanded role in the economy turned out to be prescient. This makes the field a good point of study to illustrate how educating oneself in the right concentration can pay off down the line. At the time that the data scientist first conceived of his platform, data was already an important part of the economy — researchers, government institutions, business leaders, and more were all using data to help achieve their goals, so the power of data was no secret. However, what many people didn’t anticipate, was the extent to which data was set to grow in availability due to the ongoing development of one powerful piece of technology — the internet.

As the internet has become an integral part of modern life over the past few decades, its ability to gather data has grown exponentially. This data can come from many different sources, such as a person’s online habits, social media presence, or purchasing preferences. Armed with this type of data, businesses and large organizations can gain an invaluable understanding of the population groups they are trying to serve and can work to improve their ability to engage in those efforts. As such, this explosion in data has helped to drastically improve the ability of an entity to fulfill its mission. This fact has made data science a key part of the modern economy and has greatly improved the employment prospects of individuals who have bolstered their skillset in this area through educational resources.

Formal and self-education

When improving one’s level of education during an economic slump, there are generally two paths that can be pursued — formal education and self-education. Many people instinctively turn towards formal education, such as an undergraduate course of studies or a graduate degree. This method of learning can give an individual a solid foundation en route to a new career path and can help provide them access to an institution that can provide career assistance after a degree is obtained. For some learners, this level of institutional support can be a key component of their success.

Formal education, however, comes with some downsides. Perhaps the most glaring is its expense. While there are varying levels of costs associated with institutional learning, tuition rates, in general, have been trending upwards in recent years which has made it necessary for many learners to take out loans to pursue this type of education. In contrast, self-education resources, such as online learning platforms, can often be much lower cost and help to pinpoint the exact skills that an individual may need in order to pursue a new career. This can be especially relevant during times of economic uncertainty when taking on debt may lead to increased levels of financial insecurity.

Supplementary networking

When discussing education to improve one’s job prospects, it’s important to also touch on the role of networking in gaining employment. While an individual pursuing an institutional education may have access to employment resources that can help them find work, a learner engaging in self-education may not. For these individuals, finding job prospects may hinge on effective networking, such as attending career fairs, seeking out informational interviews, and working with recruiters. This type of networking can help individuals showcase their improved set of skills to those in a position to make hiring decisions. This can ultimately lead to a new job down the line.

While the prospect of losing one’s employment can be frightening, especially during times of economic uncertainty, it need not leave one powerless to improve their situation. Education can be a key component of ensuring continued access to employment when it seems as though many organizations may not be hiring. Looking to the example of Jonathan Cornelissen can be instructive in this time, as his work to anticipate demand and improve educational opportunities in the area of data science has helped millions bolster their job prospects. Further study of the power of education to improve employment levels can make for an impactful ally when the economy seems poised for a downturn.

From television to the internet platform, Jonathan switched his journey in digital media with Bigtime Daily. He served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for Bigtime Daily by writing about the tech domain.

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Science

University of Health Sciences Antigua Professor Discusses the Benefits of Psychedelic Medicine on Mental Health

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Dr. Manuel Flores is a man of science. Being a member of the scientific community, he is always open to new ideas and searching for the emergent truth. 

“I know everything can be proved through science,” Dr. Flores explains. “Human beings think we know everything, but we don’t. A thousand years ago, people saw lightning, and they thought God was mad at us.”

As an award-winning educator, accomplished healthcare professional, and a professor at the University of Health Sciences Antigua, Dr. Flores is leading a study to determine the benefits of psychedelic therapy on mental health. “With science, you need to have an open mind,” he says. “The scientific community has always been open to new ideas. For decades, they have demonized psychedelic substances in our culture. I’m pleased to see that the public seems to be more open.”

Dr. Flores is correct about a growing openness to new information on drugs. According to a survey conducted by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a vast majority of adults in the US, UK, and EU say that they consider psychedelic drugs — such as psilocybin-containing mushrooms — less dangerous than other mind-altering substances like alcohol, tobacco, opiates, and other substances.

What Are Psychedelics?

Dr. Flores and his team are studying the psychedelic alkaloid psilocybin, a substance found in a variety of “magic mushrooms” which are typically consumed for their hallucinogenic effects. They belong to a group of compounds known as psychedelics, which trigger changes in perception, mood, and thought. When psilocybin is taken, it’s converted to psilocin, a chemical with psychoactive properties.

“Psychedelics produce certain effects on the human mind,” says Dr. Flores. “These are alkaloids that produce sensory effects that don’t actually exist. For example, when taken in large doses, one might experience hallucinations.”

However, after decades of campaigns encouraging the public to “just say no” to drugs, extensive research shows the many benefits that psychedelic therapy has on people with mental health conditions, such as depression and PTSD, especially in areas where other treatment methods have failed. This is because psychedelics have been shown to create new neural pathways in the brain, resulting in the ability to increase serotonin production and unlock new avenues of thinking. As a result, patients are more likely to embrace their present situation rather than past trauma.

“The compound we’re studying, psilocybin, has shown many benefits in people with depression or anxiety when used in small doses,” Dr. Flores tells us. “The doses that were used back in the 1960s were quite large, which causes you to experience hallucinations and the negative effects.”

He continues: “In the 20th century, basically all drugs became demonized, including cannabis. Since the late 80s and early 90s, we have realized that some of these drugs have benefits if they are used properly.” For instance, the positive uses of substances like marijuana in treating cancer patients are well documented. When used properly, cannabis can help cancer and chemotherapy patients revitalize their appetite.

A Brief History of Psychedelics

Using natural substances like mushrooms and hallucinogens — both for recreation and medicinal purposes — predates recorded human history. In many cultures, spiritual leaders such as shamans used them as a means of communication with the gods.

“Historically, [these substances] were used by oracles and other people to predict the future or commune with spiritual deities. These drugs put you in that state where you see things you otherwise wouldn’t see, hear, or feel.”

Dr. Flores believes the demonization of drugs began in the Victorian era. “Culturally, the United States has always been a child of England and the United Kingdom, so the stigma around these drugs had a lot to do with Victorian-era beliefs regarding drug use and addiction.” For example, between the mid-1800s and 1900s, alcohol and drug addiction in the US became heavily stigmatized as a result of conservative influence stemming from Victorian-era England.

“In the 1960s,” Dr. Flores adds, “a very particular group of people that everybody called ‘hippies’ used LSD. When conservative people saw these hippies on LSD doing their dances and movements while using these substances, they became more demonized, and later — as a result of that demonization — completely illegal. So now, when you see somebody using drugs, you don’t see a sick person. You see a bad person.”

While caution is always essential when using mind-altering substances, especially considering the severe ramifications of the misuse of alcohol and drugs, Dr. Flores says that these same drugs possess the potential to do good.

What are the potential impacts and benefits?

According to Dr. Flores, the reason behind his research is that we currently only understand the short-term effects of psychedelic drug use. “We do not know for certain the long-term effects,” he says. “The side effects of these drugs are minimal, but we don’t know what will happen ten years from now.”

Dr. Flores isn’t alone in his work, though. In 2019, a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used psylocibin to treat patients suffering from depression found similar results and benefits of the substance. Additional studies conducted by scientific and medical researchers and professionals at other institutions around the US, such as New York University and Mount Sinai, have also been conducted with the same conclusion. Their findings show that psylocibin and psychedelic substances show overwhelming promise to treat patients with a variety of symptoms and mental health disorders.

Nevertheless, the scientific process of understanding the potential impacts and benefits of long-term psychedelic drug use is complicated, involving observation, hypothesis, testing, and experimentation. Dr. Flores hopes that this process will lead to more peer-reviewed journals and — eventually — an emergent truth.

“It’s critical that we conduct this work without bias,” he mentions. “Science is the best thing we have to prove to our natural world because it is tested and retested, and one day, somebody will say, ‘this is an emergent truth, this is what’s happening.’”

The science community knows that these drugs have benefits for people with certain psychiatric disorders, specifically depression, anxiety, and PTSD. But what about any adverse side effects, like what is commonly referred to as a “bad trip?”

“Because the doses we use are so small, there are no bad trips,” Dr. Flores clarifies. “Bad trips came about because the doses used back in the 60s were high, because people were looking for those trips.”

The Importance of Research, Science, and Asking Questions

Science improves our lives. It makes our technology better and faster, provides life-saving discoveries, and can make us healthier. “It’s important to promote science because it’s the key to a better world. There’s nothing more important than learning and asking questions,” says Dr. Flores. “If you don’t know something, educate yourself, learn about it, and have an open mind.”

In this age of instant Google knowledge and WebMD, a bit of information can be dangerous.

“There’s one thing that doctors say,” Dr. Flores says with a laugh. “I went to college for four years, medical school for four years, and did a residency for three to five years. Then, suddenly, someone Googles something and thinks they know more about it than me. If you come to me, I will educate you, and then you can decide what you want to do. It’s called informed consent. It’s vital to educate yourself and then trust science.”

Dr. Manuel Flores is an experienced doctor who has risen in authority and is now the Dean and Vice President of academics of the University of Health Sciences Antigua. He’s an award-winning educator, superbly-rated senior academic administrator, and accomplished healthcare professional with over 18 years of experience in medical, clinical, and health science education, student, and patient-driven environments. 

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