Over the past couple of weeks, students have had to adapt to a situation that no one had seen coming. Due to the complexity of the environment we are currently in, there is no real telling when the lockdown for the Coronavirus will be lifted. Some people say that it will only last until the middle of the summer, while others make far reaches towards even the start of next year. The general consensus seems to be that we will be stuck inside for the summer, and because social distancing is an important part of helping the effects of Coronavirus fade faster, here are some tips and resources to expand your skills and work on improving your resume so that by the time the lockdown is lifted, we will be better prepared than ever to resume our academic activities!
Free Online Courses
Desperate times have called for many changes in people’s lives, destabilizing any plans we might have had for the future before the pandemic. Internships or jobs may have gotten cancelled, or at the very least, moved online, which is not the easiest transition. Because businesses around the world are understanding of this situation, there are a lot of feel-good stories on the Internet about how they are contributing to their community’s welfare. Local restaurants offer free care packages for those in need, and grocery stores are doing their best to minimize contact between customers to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Likewise, many organizations online have offered courses for students to utilize at this time to try to learn beyond what they are required to.
edX is an online nonprofit organization that provides free access to different courses. Many top universities around the country such as Harvard or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have offered to put their courses online for students to learn for free over the summer. They can be found at edx.org, where they are organized by categories such as Computer Science or Humanities. If you want to try to transfer these credits from completed courses onto your transcript, you can look into that more by reaching out to the edX support center. However, there may be an associated fee, and not many courses are provided under this program. Utilize this program to expand upon skills that are not necessarily required for your major. Branch out and widen your individual toolbox so that employers will see you are dedicated to improving, growing, and adapting to all sorts of situations.
There are various other online learning platforms such as Coursera or Udacity. However, it is difficult to get teacher feedback in these courses, and you usually have to pay for a certification. You can take these courses by auditing them, which is having access to the content without being able to have your assignments reviewed. However, you can also apply for Financial Aid for each individual class. While you may have to wait a couple of weeks to hear back from them, it is totally worth the effort if it is a class you really want to explore. With more time on our hands, I encourage you to explore these sites to see if there is an offer you really want to take up!
As we all may have experienced by now, Virginia Tech provides a lot of free resources for students to use. One of such that you may not be familiar with is LinkedIn Learning, which was previously known as Lynda. Virginia Tech partners with LinkedIn Learning to provide us a premium membership with unlimited access to courses, salary or career insights, certification that you can directly transfer onto your LinkedIn profile, and more. You may be surprised to see how many courses there are for even the narrowest of interests. Use these courses to learn a completely new skill you may not have had the time to explore before, or develop the ones you have already been working on during your time at Virginia Tech.
Another great resource provided by Virginia Tech is Rosetta Stone, which many more students may be familiar with. Rosetta Stone is an online learning resource for many different foreign languages. By logging in with a Virginia Tech PID and password through the University Libraries website, students can have unlimited access to any language on Rosetta Stone, not limited to Spanish, French or German. Learning languages is a very unique way to use your time, and can be very rewarding. Ever thought about studying abroad someday? Focus on learning the new language now to be better prepared in the future! As our world becomes more globalized, employers love to see diverse individuals who are able to communicate with a wide variety of people.
Always know your CWIB friends are there to support you! Reach out to members, friends, or classmates about starting a book club related to your major. Don’t discount the benefits of reading a good book, especially one that covers issues in your field. You will have a better understanding of real-world practices and gain confidence reading about success stories which will help you enter the next school year ready to go.
The Coronavirus lockdown has undoubtedly cancelled many plans for students. However, we can make the best of this time by honing in on our skills, which can be learning a new one or further developing our strengths. By using the resources provided above, you can tackle your lockdown with a great sense of productivity and more useful skills you never thought you would acquire before.
By: Gyu Ri Kim