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Quarantine life: Free online learning opportunities

You may be feeling antsy as you suddenly have a lot more time on your hands during the coronavirus pandemic. With everyone around me working from home or in class online, I've been experiencing a resurgence of motivation to work on my own professional development to spend that time wisely. For me, taking an online course or workshop has been a great way to build some structure into my day, learn new skills and feel a sense of accomplishment so that I don't go stir crazy in these uncertain times.

If things are slow at work, or you're temporarily unemployed right now, you may also want to take advantage of this opportunity to fill in any skills gaps or explore a topic of interest to you. Here are a few online resources that are offering FREE virtual courses or sessions right now:

Brit + Co - all online classes are free through March 31st using the code SELFCARE at checkout. They have really fun and creative options, ranging from watercolor instruction, cake decorating 101, calligraphy how-tos, photography tips and editing tools, as well as traditional and digital illustration techniques -- perfect for anyone who wants to pick up a new hobby.

Career Contessa - the entire online webinar library of one of my favorite career-focused platforms is free during the coronavirus crisis. They have something for everyone, covering topics such as job search, work life balance, entrepreneurship, networking, and personal branding, just to name a few. They're also ramping up on content specific to today's needs -- I just participated in a webinar on "Managing Your Career In the Time of Coronavirus" that I found to be enormously helpful. There is another webinar on Friday and a career coach Q&A next week that I encourage you to check out if your job security has been affected by COVID-19.

General Assembly - learn to code for free through the online Dash course that teaches you the basics of web development through projects you can do in your browser. I've tried this before and it's really fun -- definitely worth checking out if you've ever wanted to build your own website.

Ivy League courses - all eight Ivy League schools offer opportunities to audit select courses online for free, known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Free Code Camp makes it easy to sort through the ~450 offerings by organizing them by type: Art & Design, Business, Data Science, Education & Teaching, Health & Medicine, Humanities, Programming, etc. In particular, the "Happiness" course from Yale, called Psychology and the Good Life, is getting a lot of well-deserved attention right now (I'd personally love to take this myself!).

MasterClass - free live Q&A sessions with leading experts are now available to non-members and members alike. The first session will be held today at 3 p.m. ET, featuring Chris Voss, former lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI, who will be taking questions related to the art of negotiation during this time of social distancing. Follow them on Twitter @MasterClass to stay informed on future sessions.

Remember, everyone is reacting and adapting to this challenging and stressful situation in different ways, and there are no right or wrong way to process what is happening. Do not feel like you need to be "productive" if you are not up for it right now. This is a time to first and foremost focus on your mental health and well-being, so do not stretch yourself too thin for the sake of padding your resume or *being trendy* if it doesn't feel right for you. However you are spending your time during quarantine, I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and practicing self care.

Lede photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash


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