Teaching yourself a new skill during the pandemic
This guest blog is written by Nick Arthur from Superprof
It used to be fun to watch a zombie apocalypse show or some sort of disaster film like Sea Fever or The Aeronauts, perhaps shouting at the screen when the actors do something stupid or crazy. Often, we exclaimed – or, at least thought of what we would do if caught in such a scenario.
So, there we were, not so long ago, secure in the knowledge that a disastrous confluence of factors could never upend our lives… until it happened. One day, we were going to school and life was normal. The next, we’re on an extended holiday from school, our parents are home and nobody knows how devastating this pandemic will turn out to be.
Not sure that congratulations are in order but we are now stars in our own disaster epic. Just as you shouted at protagonists of other such stories you watched, it’s time for you to take the actions you might have wanted those heroes to take. There’s not much you can do about fighting the disease but you can certainly take steps to see that you come out ahead on the other side of it. Learning a new skill is a great way to do that.
What are you interested in?
You should consider this time a golden pass to learn about anything you want. Even the academic subjects you enjoy, maybe maths or science are on the table and, even better, you can take your studies in any direction you choose.
How about learning another language? In school, you might be limited to what classes are available but nothing is stopping you from studying the one(s) you want to learn on your own.
Other skills you could learn include:
- Music: learn how to sing, play an instrument or write music; you can also study music history
- Art: learn how to paint, draw, sculpt or design – anything from fashion to jewellery.
- Cooking: find out how you can put your own twist on pad thai, curries and sushi.
- Physical training: from yoga to bodybuilding, learn the science behind proper training methods while becoming a master.
- Crafts: sewing and needlework, pottery, woodworking and origami are all crafts you can learn.
- ICT: learn networking and communications, how to code and develop apps.
- Photography: discover how wildlife photographers differ from event photographers and learn their tricks for capturing the optimal shot.
These are just a few of the fields you might explore. The list of subjects you could study is limited only by your imagination and enthusiasm.
What resources are available?
There are some limitations to learning on your own. For instance, how will you master playing the guitar if you don’t have one?
If you lack a guitar, a sewing machine, a yoga mat, a camera or whatever you need to pursue your passion, you can still learn the theory behind the practice so that, once you do get your hands on the equipment your craft demands, you’ll be ready to go.
We are so lucky to live in a time when anything we want to know is available to us – and not just through books or diagrams, either. We can stream any number of instructional videos on just about any subject. We only need to type the right question in our favourite search engine and comb through the results to find what we want.
If tutorial videos don’t feel like they’d be enough to learn a new skill, a private tutor would fit the bill. Online, you can find a Superprof who specialises in your field of study. The advantage of learning with a tutor over a recorded video course is that tutors will answer your questions and interact with you.
What’s stopping you?
At first, this time away from school might have felt like a treat. We got to game to our hearts’ content and binge-watch whatever was on but, as these shut-downs go on, they’re taking their toll. More and more people are slipping into a ‘what is the point?’ mentality. That’s not good.
You’re the point. This pandemic will end; that’s why you need to keep yourself moving forward. Until it does, you should keep yourself involved and engaged. The best way to do that is to focus on something that interests you and pursue it to your heart’s (and mind’s) content.
Thanks to study materials on sites like Alison.com and the Khan Academy; YouTube tutorials and apps like Duolingo, there’s no limit to what you can learn. So put yourself back on a schedule: go to bed at a decent hour and wake up well-rested, eat a healthy breakfast and get ready to learn!