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The Pandemic was crazily sudden, and the year 2020 gave us so many surprises. You might have to face unusual challenges in your work and academic careers, plus if you’re not the person to usually have things under control, you might have to add ‘unproductive’ to your adjective list of presenting 2020. Alright, you in 2020 wasn’t the best version. You might have had flipped sleep schedules, several days without Breakfast, night after night binging Netflix series, lost track of time battling on virtual platforms, and gone to bed every night feeling like a failure. If this sounds familiar, you may (or may not) be dying to change your schedule for the coming year and, well, be a bit more productive. Here are 4 ways to go to bed feeling proud of yourself and make proper use of your lockdown period to polish your future Resume. I dare say, “What have you been doing during the pandemic?” is definitely going to become a juicy Interview question in the future, at least for the next couple of years.

Learn a new skillset

Whether you’re still in school or already in the workplace, there shouldn’t exist an excuse to say no to learning something ‘NEW.’ Obviously, if your usual career went remote, you have time that was usually used for socializing and workplace ethics. Perhaps in one week, you spend 40 hours at work, 7 hours working out, and 56 hours sleeping; you have 65 hours left. Stop wasting that time scrolling social media and start learning necessary skillsets for the 21st century that may or may not be related to your career interest. A few examples are ‘Programming,’ ‘Digital Marketing,’ and ‘Graphic Design.’ 

Here, you have free access to Harvard’s Computer Science lectures conducted by Harvard’s star professor. CS50 is the largest and most famous class at Harvard, yet, available for public access.

  • On Coursera and EdX, you can find free online courses in various fields, taught by professors from the world’s top universities, ranging from introductory level courses to advanced specializations. 
  • LinkedIn Learning gives you a one-month free trial where you have access to all courses across the website. On LinkedIn Learning, professionals in their respective fields are offered courses, thus not as student-friendly or beginner-friendly as courses available on Coursera and EdX. However, certain beginner-friendly courses exist, such as Foundations of Drawing by Will Kemp and Programming Fundamentals by Annyce Davis. So, you have to be careful in your course choice. Otherwise, you’d end up wasting your free trial.
  • If you’re into Creatives, Udemy and Domestika offer paid and few free courses of great quality in the art and design industry. 
  • Various types of creatives and professionals share their skills onSkillshare,’ which, similar to LinkedIn, gives you one-month free trial access to all videos website. Afterward, you pay on either a monthly or a yearly basis to have access to course materials. (Tip: if you have a particular teachable skill or talent, you can also sign up as an instructor on Skillshare, upload recorded instructions, and start earning.)
  • There also is MasterClass, where you’ll be instructed by experts in their respective fields. For example, Neil deGrasse Tyson teaches Scientific ThinkingGordon Ramsay conducts classes on Cooking, and Stephen Curry teaches you Basketball. No free trial is present, and you’ll be charged 180$ annually. But hey, you’ll be learning from the world’s best minds; it’s priceless.
  • If you’re a high school senior interested in gaining college credit, I’d recommend Outlier, where they offer you 3 transferrable college credits per course completion from the University of Pittsburgh. The video qualities are an excellent plus; the fees they charge are 80% less than your traditional college classes.
  • A couple of other platforms are Future LearnUdacity, and of course, the good old Youtube.

In such an advanced age, where we’re privileged to obtain such treasures, please do make use of them. If you’re uncertain of which courses you should take, you can find reviews of MOOCs on Class Central and figure out which courses or which platform might work well for you. Class Central also features several other online learning platforms that I have not mentioned.

Start an Online Community

When 2020 was in town, we couldn’t have wished more for it to be over and welcome the new year. However, now that we’re almost two weeks into it, it occurred to me and everyone else that things might probably stay the same for quite some time. That goes the same for finding new acquaintances. You’ can no longer go to your usual socializing events and occasions where you might run into people sharing similar interests as you. Given the current circumstances, your only choice is to get used to online events or even start a community of your own. Creating an online presence is obviously a great way to gain meaningful connections with those within your industry or comrades passionate about causes that also cater to you. This is also an excellent way to exhibit your leadership potential in your resume and job applications.

  • One particular way you can pull this idea off is finding a topic or two you’re passionate about, gathering teammates, and writing a blog on it. Afterward, you’ll naturally be required to obtain graphic designers, editors, and even a website creation team if you’re thinking of hosting a domain dedicated to your blog.
  • Similarly, you can initiate social clubs for language learnings, doing art, or form a team for your passion projects such as teaching underprivileged kids worldwide.
  • In this season, it is also highly recommended to use Social media to help and encourage Coivd-19 victims and survivors

    Volunteer and Make an Impact

I cannot stress enough how vital manpower is mostly during this crisis. There are many online platforms where you can use your skills to help those in need and make a difference where it matters. Sites like Chezuba and Catchafire connect you with Non-profit NGOs in developing countries that are doing wonderful and great work improving others’ lives. On those platforms, you’ll be able to find a variety of projects ranging from annual report writing to website developments. Online volunteering is a great way to help others and make an impact just from your living room. You can also reach out to your local organizations to specifically assist in fighting the Pandemic. I doubt anyone would say no to an extra pair of hands, so don’t be shy; go ahead and ring them up! Not to mention, you’ll be gaining invaluable experience and at the same time polishing your skills on whatever projects you were entrusted with. However, you do not necessarily need to have prior skills to take on a project. Some tasks are as simple as ringing up old people who live alone and make sure they are doing fine.

Start making money

This is rather a sensitive topic as we all know how hard it has been to land one single job ever since the Pandemic has been declared. Millions of people went jobless, and millions were rejected from applications despite their overqualifications. I hope I do not sound so privileged and immature by my subtopic. Perhaps, we were all carried away by our qualifications, and it’s time to start back from subzero. An entry-level job is still better than having none assuming that is your current state at the moment (as this article is dedicated to those who were not proud of their 2020 selves.) As a recent high school graduate and incoming college freshman, I started from scratch in this job search process. The two topics I mentioned above will serve as stepping stones to this job-hunting aspect. When I talked about necessary 21st-century essential skills, I mentioned art and design, which helped me find my first job without external influences. My actual job with external influences as being a private tutor, which I received offers based on my high school results.

  • I started working as an artist on Redbubble around September 2019. Several other alternatives of Redbubble are EtsyZazzleArtbase Artmo, etc. Some of these websites allow you to upload your own designs, and the company is in charge of printing them on products desired by the customers worldwide; then, you earn a partial commission if someone makes a purchase on a product with your design. You are not, however, guaranteed to make big money on Redbubble. It does depend on your designs and your prior social media influence with your art. I’m an amateur artist, and currently, I earn around 300$ per month from a couple of my Redbubble designs if that can give you a sense of what you can make.
  • If you’re a native English Speaker, you can sign up as an English Instructor on Language Learning platforms that teach English to non-native speakers. Well, I suppose this does not limit to ‘English’ speakers. If you’re also a speaker of a relatively known language, you can find yourselves jobs where you can teach your mother language to learners around the world.
  • Remember the Online Learning Platforms I mentioned earlier? Some of them also allow you to become an instructor, with a couple of them requiring prior experiences and verifications. In contrast, others let you start uploading video instructions and earn right away.


I must note I only explored ‘the professional ways’ to make your new year worthwhile, completely ignoring your mental well-being. Next time, I will focus my article on hobbies and recreation. You do not necessarily have to use up your time on being ‘Productive.’ At the end of the day, your mental well-being is the most important. Do open up to your loved ones if you’re feeling under the weather. At the same time, reach out to your long-distance friends via zoom and catch up on everything you missed.



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Honey Htun
Honey Htun

Currently in her gap year, Honey is a Science enthusiast who aims to major in Physics for her higher education. When she was just in middle school, she proved her love for Science by publishing her school’s first Science Magazine. As an artist and an aspiring physicist, Honey dreams to become an effective contributor and communicator of science who can inspire the general public through her contents and art.

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