• Kathleen Lees

Omicron: Learning (Virtually) During the Pandemic

Updated: Jun 16


As the Omicron variant surges, I notice that fewer students are attending in-person classes at Clayton High School. While it’s mandatory to wear a mask during class, it’s also understandable why some students might be nervous about coming (if frigid temperatures alone weren’t enough of a deterrent–especially depending on how some students get there.)


That said, I notice a lot of events in the St. Louis area are now canceled and some shops and restaurants are closing. It at least appears that Omicron may be less dangerous, (particularly for those who have received a Covid-19 vaccine and booster,) than the Delta variant (though it remains highly contagious).


The beginning of 2022 may seem a bit like the prior two years, at least at first; hunkered down at home and outside. There’s still so much scientists don’t know about the virus. Yet the great thing is that we still have so much accessibility to learning no matter what's going on. While we may be stuck at home away from our favorite places, we can take advantage of online resources to learn and to grow: that way, no time is ever wasted.


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi.


What’s Free?


The Library

The library has so many wonderful books and journals, as well as the option to check out a computer if you don’t have one. First thing’s first though–if you don’t have a library card, you have to get one.


Start by filling out the registration form online, and then walk into one of the 15 branches specific to the St. Louis city area. (If the branches are closed due to the pandemic, call for more specific instructions.)


In addition, there are curbside and walk-up services at many library branches, so you can request books online through a specific library’s website, and then pick them up with no-contact delivery.


Meetup

There are some fantastic Meetup groups in St. Louis (and everywhere!) While it may cost something to attend an event or start your own Meetup group, it does not cost anything to view Meetup groups. Oftentimes, if it is your first time checking out a group and there is a fee, an organization may waive the fee for potential new members. Just ask!


YouTube

I can’t count how many times YouTube videos have saved me when I needed help. There is so much free information on YouTube as well as experts that you can subscribe to. Chances are, if you look on Google for something you need help with, there is a YouTube video (for free) where someone has made a detailed video explaining what you're looking for.


What Has a Paywall?


LinkedIn

LinkedIn Premium is $29.99 per month. I find that a bit pricey unless it’s incredibly helpful. Fortunately, they have a 30-day free trial, which I just joined last night. (Remember to mark your calendar a few days in advance to turn the paid subscription off in case you don’t want it. You must sign up with a credit card or PayPal. )


That said, they do offer many courses that you might find useful. (See below) I plan on checking out some during this trial period. (I’ll let you know whether I end up staying with the premium option or not in a separate post.)



SkillShare

SkillShare is $15 per month. I did not sign up for this one yet, but it has a one-month free trial. And one of its learning channels focuses specifically on writing! (See picture below)

Another treat is that it also focuses on less business-oriented matters as well, including things like animation, design, and illustration.


You must sign up with a credit card or PayPal. Just don't forget to cancel before the two-month subscription date.



Creativebug

Creativebug is another option. It has a two-month free trial with an $8 monthly subscription after. Creativebug primarily offers arts and crafts classes, but it's always fun to try something different than just career-focused work (like knitting, drawing, or painting.) I haven't checked this one out yet either, but I think I might.


You must sign up with a credit card or PayPal. Just don't forget to cancel before the two-month subscription date.


Learning During the Pandemic

I think a lot of people feel like the last two years have been wasted because there's so much that's not available. You cannot travel freely or, perhaps, even visit your favorite restaurant. Maybe your favorite restaurant or music venue even closed, permanently. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of control over things like that. (Even worse, maybe we can't see friends or family who live far away. Maybe we even lost someone.)


What we can control is that we can keep learning and take joy in our new findings.



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