By Meghen Jones
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions around the world have found their daily lives at a standstill. For college students, this can be a bit unsettling if you’re accustomed to your on-the-go lifestyle and have maintained a productive daily schedule for the past few semesters. Unfortunately, there are times where circumstances present themselves that are beyond your control, and this is one of them. While it’s probably frustrating that you aren’t able to attend classes, see friends, or party on the weekends, you can still continue along your educational path through online classes.
Just because social distancing has caused a major shift in the way you learn, it doesn’t have to put a stop to your education and personal growth completely. Now is the perfect time to branch out and learn a new skill (or two) from the comfort of your home. After all, skills are better acquired by getting your hands dirty, like when you start that herb garden, for example. Luckily enough for all of us, technology has made it much easier to access an endless amount of resources with a quick Google search and learn at your leisure.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are 6 worthwhile skills that uCribs encourages you to master during social isolation!
You have to admit, you’ve seen more cooking photos and videos lately on Instagram. But, it isn’t any coincidence, since many Americans have been ordered to stay at home and prevent the spread of COVID-19, meaning more people are eating at home, too. And, when it comes to basic skills, cooking has always been at the top of your list. Seriously—now that you’re practically an adult, it’s important to master the basics of cooking, such as boiling pasta, roasting veggies, steaming rice, and grilling chicken.
Due to the copious amount of free time you currently have, you can now reshift your focus from having fun with your friends to learning new techniques in the kitchen. To get you started, we recommend checking out vlogs, like Divas Can Cook and The College Cook. Of course, it’s a slow and steady process, but with assistance from your favorite food vloggers, you’ll become a chef in no time at all.
Writing is one of the most fundamentally important skills that a college student can have under their belt. From writing papers for classes to exercising your creative writing skills in your free time, there are many ways to approach this highly valuable skill. With COVID-19 regulations providing you with plenty of downtime, it’s about time that you release your thoughts onto paper or your computer screen. In fact, many are recommending this as a healthy quarantine activity, whether it’d be through journaling daily or taking time to work on creative projects.
If you are seeking something a bit more structured, The Crafty Writer, DIY MFA, and FutureLearn offer free online courses that will help you tap into your imagination and create something extraordinary. There’s also a multitude of resources available on YouTube for the visual learners in the room. Who knows—self-isolation may help you discover that you’ve been a writer all along!
Most college majors can expect to take a foreign language course as part of their curriculum at some point. Whether it’d be French, German, or Spanish, mastering a new language is challenging yet fun, especially if you’ve had have a short time to pick up the basics. With all the free time in the world, it is the perfect time to take on a new language, or completely master one you’ve been studying.
Thanks to advancements made in technology, there are a multitude of resources available for those looking to expound upon this very beneficial skill, such as videos, PDFs, and even online classes. We recommend apps, like DuoLingo and MemRise, to master the basics. The best part? These apps offer their services for free! No matter the platform or method you choose, you’ll feel accomplished after adding a new language to your skillset.
As a college student, we don’t doubt that you have experienced many stressful moments throughout your journey—especially with the recent pandemic. Unfortunately, too much stress can make it more difficult to sleep or eat, lead to sadness or depression, and lower your immune system’s defenses, which everyone is in desparate need of maintaining right now. Luckily, meditation has been proven to positively impact both mental and physical health in its ability to release you from your typicak worries.
However, most people would agree that meditating is not easy. Like any skill you wish to pick up, it takes plenty of practice, which is at the whole core of the practice of meditation itself. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time or the first 50 times. It is recommended that you meditate with binaural sound waves, which can be found on YouTube, or you can try guided mediation through apps, like Headspace. Trust us—regular mediation means feeling recharged and more in tune with yourself.
When it comes to having a load of free time on your hands, there’s always one solution that you can resort to: painting! As simple and fun as painting may sound, it is definitely a skill that’s improved through repetition and dedication to the craft. Practice make perfect, right? Hey—not all of us are born with innate talent!
Painting can be improved by exercises that push you to go outside of your comfort zone. Watercolor, oil, or acrylic, you will want to get plenty of experience with different subjects, whether it’d be people, landscapes, or objects. It is also helpful to learn the basics of color theory—ie. the color wheel—if you want to teach yourself to transition between various colors. Fortunately, Master Oil Painting offers lessons on painting techniques for free online. By the time quarantine is over, we wouldn’t be surprised if you consider yourself the next Vincent van Gogh!
If there’s one thing that all college students can agree on, it’s that public speaking can be extremely intimidating. It’s already difficult enough to present in front of your peers in class, so when it comes to speaking in front of others outside of the classroom, you tend to have a difficult time. You’re not alone – nearly 30 percent of Americans are afraid of public speaking. Most of these fears stem from the fear of being judged. And, that’s okay!
However, in college, you’ll be expected to speak publicly on more occasions than one. With your newfound time, you can dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to developing your public speaking skills. With tools like Skillshare, a learning platform with online classes taught by professionals of various crafts, you’ll sharpen up your skills in no time! Not to mention, your first two months on Skillshare are absolutely free. Talk about perfect timing!
Whether you choose to master one skill or all of our recommendations, you can never go wrong with improving your skillset— now or ever. Not only are skills important to possess in college, but you also never know how they will help you on the road ahead. Though we may not be in control of our situation during a pandemic, we are still in control of how we spend our time. So, why not utilize this free time and work toward something productive? You can take the first step by learning one (or more) of these 6 useful skills for college and beyond!