Bored? Skills to Brush Up On During Quarantine

With Thanksgiving and winter break fast approaching and COVID-19 cases spiking up day after day, some of us may be getting ready for a month of doing not much of anything. But personally, after a week of binging TV and sleeping in, I'm ready to carpe diem again. A great way to do this is by building some skills over vacation—both fun skills and technical skills that can impact your career in the best way.

  1. 1. The Artistic

    paintbrushes in pots on a table

    Digital art and art in general have seen increased reception since the start of quarantine. You can pick up some new artistic skills, like painting or embroidery (the TikTok videos make it look so easy!). If you're into digital art, you can download apps like Procreate or Adobe Fresco and brush up on your drawing abilities. Procreate, in particular, is a great program for creating sticker designs. If you're looking into starting an Etsy or RedBubble side hustle, this is a skill you definitely want to build!

  2. 2. The Academic

    Black woman writing at computer desk writing in journal notebook write natural work corporate african

    Lots of websites offer free college-level classes, ranging from economics to philosophy to the science of the coronavirus. I'm currently taking Yale's Financial Markets class, offered on Coursera, for free! Another great website is Harvard EdX. While it's understandable that after a draining semester more classes might not sound great, but these classes are self-paced. Not to mention, you get the chance to take classes you otherwise aren't able to, whether it's because of prerequisites, your own major requirements, or just lack of space in your schedule.

    If you want to pick up a specific skill, CodeAcademy is great for learning to code! Computer science is now a super popular major, and there are more resources than ever to develop basic skills for those who have no background.

  3. 3. The Career-Focused

    Forage, which used to be branded as InsideSherpa, is one of my personal favorite websites for career development. It offers a whole bunch of programs in partnership with real companies, like Boston Consulting Group or Accenture, that introduce you to real-life work. You can get a certification out of it too, which students can post on LinkedIn to demonstrate all they've learned. Forage also has a network of recruiters who can see the progress you've made in the programs and reach out to you based on your skills. And did I mention it's free?

  4. 4. The Practical

    baking ingredients on a table next to a cupcake tray

    If you're considering practical, everyday skills, I'd recommend spending more time cooking and baking! I've been trying my hand at a bunch of new recipes because I know that one day I'll be on my own (without my mom's cooking and without the money it takes to sustain daily UberEats). Your attempts may be disastrous sometimes (I've been making the same browned butter chocolate chip cookies for months, but for whatever reason, last week they turned out rock hard), but if you keep at it, you'll have a lifelong skill that'll save you from all the restaurant and takeout bills.

It's great to just take breaks and actually vacation during break, but if you ever want to be productive, these are some useful skills to build on! A month is a long time, and if the alternative is just listening to your family talk about politics, then...

I definitely recommend working on these skills over break!

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