The world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused economic meltdowns and social disruptions. The famous economist and nobel prize-winning economist, Robert Shiller, recently wrote that there are two kinds of anxieties that the world is currently combating.
First is the medical anxiety. As we hear about the large numbers of cases of COVID-19 in all parts of the world, we are all concerned about the health and well being of our loved ones. At the same time, there is growing concern about the dire economic impact of the ongoing pandemic. Falling stock prices and colossal financial losses continue to stoke economic uncertainty around the globe.
Given that these anxieties continue to soar in tandem, professionals across industries are being compelled to prove their mettle in difficult times. Let’s look at some examples of how professionals in different industries are learning:
- Software and Data Analytics: John Hopkins University came up with a new interactive website to represent information and track cases globally. At the same time, students from Mahindra Ecole University created a platform where the number of cases in India can be represented for each district.
- Healthcare professionals: Healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and hospital management have been working tirelessly to help people who have contracted the virus. At the same time, health administrators are trying to plan screening and testing camps across India.
- Researchers in Pure Sciences: Be it the development and testing of new vaccines, or understanding the biochemistry of the Sars Cov2 strain (that caused COVID-19), or manufacturing ventilators and test kits as quickly as possible, researchers in pure sciences are busy trying to understand, learn and find solutions.
- History and Geography: Historians are trying to look at the history, understand the documents existing around earlier outbreaks like the Spanish flu so that we can take lessons from there and use them to battle the current pandemic. Some have even compared the current lockdown and migrant worker walks to those like we faced during the partition. At the same time, people in the field of Geography are trying to understand the impact of geographical conditions like weather, humidity, etc. on the transmission.
- Managers and Entrepreneurs: Those in the domain of business are trying to keep their businesses afloat, they are learning constantly and are trying to provide various services to their clients through digital channels.
- Economists, Financial Analysts: These are the people who are trying to make estimates of the global financial losses, understanding trends, understanding how finances can be allocated better and are trying to make predictions for the future.
- Teachers and Professors: All your teachers and professors are learning constantly. They are taking classes online. They are compiling notes online. They are learning to manage the students on virtual platforms. They are trying new and updated methods to bring the concepts to you so that your learning is effective.
If you notice, the virus is forcing everyone to learn and adapt, irrespective of which industry we work in. You will also be entering the industry very soon, and there are a number of things you can learn to be better prepared for it:
- Online courses
Depending on your area of interest, you can do various courses on platforms like Coursera, Edx, Class Central, Udemy and so on. You can learn a new concept in maths or you can learn about the history of the world. You can also learn psychology, chemistry, data sciences, finance, economics or even about the environment. These courses are by professors from top colleges like Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and many more. On most platforms, you can do them for free, all you need to do is audit the course and you are good to go.
- Learn a new skill
Whether it is learning to dance, learning to draw or learning to cook, or even a skill such as time management or the skill to communicate better. Not just those, it could also be anything from learning software like Excel or Photoshop to learning to code. You can learn the skill using tutorials which are available online. You have the next few weeks to understand how you can improve, create a plan that you wish to work on and implement it.
- Learning a new language
It is believed that learning a new language not just improves your problem solving and memory but also improves your logical reasoning and the way you connect with people. Why not start learning a new language? All you need to do is decide which language you wish to learn, install an app like Duolingo or Babbel and commit to learning and practicing every day.
- Preparing for Your Entrance Exams
A number of you have entrance exams coming up. There are two common things that are tested in each entrance exam irrespective of the subject they test – Memory and Problem-Solving. These are the basics. It is good to learn how to learn better, to understand the applications of the concepts you are learning and use them to solve factual and numerical problems. Solving sample papers, practicing within a time frame are all steps that take you closer to solving real-world problems once you enter college and then the industry.
- Reading books and/or articles
Studies by Sussex University suggest that reading for as little as 6 minutes in a day can reduce your stress levels by up to 68%. Sometimes it can help you relax faster than music or a cup of hot chocolate. This is because when we are reading, our mind is actively engrossed in a literary world that is away from the stressors of our daily life. Not just stress reduction, reading is also known to improve empathy, to build imagination and to improve abstract and logical reasoning. Improvement in language and vocabulary are added benefits. Read something that you enjoy reading, it helps in more ways that you would believe!
- Virtual Internships
Last but not the least, you can also learn to apply your skills by pursuing a virtual internship. Different organizations are offering internships online where you can work from home. You can apply for something, even at the school level, and pursue the internship, understand the work that you are allocated and contribute. In this process, you will not just learn the intricacies of the work you are doing but also build communication and employability skills while adding to your resume.
And, most importantly,
- Learning Self Care
All of us, believe me, each one of us has some or the other struggle within us. We are constantly critical of ourselves, constantly trying to improve, to match the standards that we set for ourselves. Maybe we can use this time to stop and appreciate ourselves for who we are. Each one of us can use this time to start learning to better care of your own self. This could be something as small as writing down your thoughts every day, making tea for your own self, ironing your own clothes or even using a heart-shaped soap.
The novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 does it’s job irrespective of the country, geographical conditions or host conditions – it gets transmitted to cause the disease.
The lesson from this virus itself is that no matter what the conditions, we must keep learning and adapting!