Making the Most of Social Distancing

April 3, 2020

Jim Rachlin

Continuing Personal Growth and Education

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has turned from a distant news topic to a national emergency, affecting the daily lives of millions of Americans. As our government is urging us to stay home and practice social distancing, many of us are quickly developing cabin fever. While it’s tempting to spend the entire day binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook, this is a good time for personal and professional development. And, you’ll be keeping your community safe by staying indoors. Here are a few ideas:

Take an Online Course
One of the most traditional ways to stay mentally engaged is to register for an online class. Many colleges and universities have options available each semester, but there is also an abundance of free online courses available year-round. Websites such as coursera.org and edx.org compile a list of free online classes from top universities around the world. In addition, many of the most prestigious colleges are offering free online courses due to the pandemic, including all eight Ivy League schools. Go to ClassCentral.com to view a full list of over 450 classes from Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania. Whether you are looking for classes to build your resume or to learn for fun, you can find it!

Study a New Language
With the spread of COVID-19, it has become more evident than ever that we live on an increasingly connected planet. Why not take this time at home to learn a new language? It could help you to become more desirable to future employers and give you a new outlet of involvement in our changing world. Fun and interactive websites such as duolingo.com and babbel.com teach different languages to the average person of all ages through reading, writing and audio activities. Users can choose from common languages such as Spanish and French, or less common languages like Turkish, or even fictional languages like Klingon (although that one may not boost your resume). Take advantage of the time to expand your realm of communication!

Tour the World Virtually
You may not be able to get out of the house physically, but Google is making it possible for you to tour the world and explore some of the most premier museums, art galleries and national parks virtually. Museums and national parks are more than a place to learn - they are places of contemplation and calmness - two elements we can all use a little more of right now. Visit ArtsandCulture.Google.com and Earth.Google.com to explore thousands of places around the world, including everything from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum to the Taj Mahal to the Grand Canyon. Why not use this time to expand your cultural horizons from the comfort of your couch?

Take Advantage of Your Local Library
Finally, when looking for ways to continue learning in isolation, don’t forget your local library. Even if the building is closed, your library card can still give you and your family access to a wide range of resources. At the LaRue County Public Library, you can find EBSCO, a database filled with college prep exams, professional development training, and a school center filled with K-12 educational lessons on core subjects.

Additionally, on the Hardin County Public Library website, you will find access to Heritage Quest, an extensive genealogy website, as well as Chilton’s online repair database if you are looking to gain some more practical skills. Local libraries also provide free eBook services with your library card, giving you access to thousands of titles.
Nearly all Kentucky libraries offer a wide variety of journals and search engines through The Kentucky Virtual Library. Here, you can find databases on everything from current business journals, to past and present agricultural information, and even consumer drug information on current medications.

COVID-19 has shaken our nation and world. While it can feel like life is out of our control, we can choose how we spend this unexpected time at home. With today’s technology, the world can truly be at our fingertips, even in isolation. Let’s commit to using our time to grow personally and professionally, closer together as a family, and stronger as a community. We are all in this together, even if that means keeping a safe distance.

Jim Rachlin is a chair of the Workforce Education and Economic Development Committee of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, which serves Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. He can be reached at jim@ltcareercenter.com.

The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail helps match job seekers with local employment and training opportunities. Our business solutions team offers employers of all sizes and industries personalized support to build a competitive workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer.
Program is funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I funds through the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board.
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