Some of the good stuff to come out of this whole pandemic: some families are getting closer, some couples are deciding to stay together rather than divorce (I know, this shocked me, too), lots of artists are offering their products for free (NIN say what?!?!), and lots and lots of educational material is now free. It’s a homeschoolers heaven except for the whole being unable to go anywhere or let your kids play with other kids thing.
Anyway, with all this free stuff available I decided to bite. There are only so many times in your life where the things you want to learn are going to be free to you, so even though the amount of free time I have has not changed one iota (I had two kids who stayed with me all day before the pandemic and now I have two kids and a husband who stay home with me all day), I have still jumped at the chance to take two courses that I would be highly unlikely to take at any other time.
Yale: The Science of Well-Being
The first course is one that I didn’t really expect to get much out of but it sounded interesting: The Science of Well Being. It’s originally out of Yale and is supposedly their most popular course. I can see why, it’s all about happiness and why we think things will make us happy that don’t and why even when we know what makes us happy we don’t always do it. In other words, it’s about how we allow our brains to be illogical even when we know better.
I wasn’t really sure what I would think of this course, and I still can’t give it an overall grade as I’m only through the second week of teaching. What I can tell you though is that, so far, it is absolutely fascinating. Totally and completely. I’ve read a lot of books about happiness and seen some Ted Talks and stuff, but this is a really comprehensive course and it’s easy. You can go at your own pace, so if you have six to nine hours free, go ahead and take the whole course all at once. Or, if you’re like me and are lucky to get an hour here and an hour there, take your time.
You have an entire year to complete the course and unless you want a certificate for having taken it, it’s totally free. Even if you’re super happy all the time, I still think it would be a fascinating course. If you’re like the rest of us, mostly happy most of the time, or even someone who gets pretty blue, I think you will get a lot out of it. And if you don’t? It’s better than watching A Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce on Netflix. I promise.
You can find The Science of Well-Being on coursera or through the article link here.
OSU’s: Master Gardener Vegetable Course
The other course I signed up for is a master gardeners course in vegetable gardening. It is being offered through Oregon State University. I am only partway through the very first part of this course so I feel I have no room to say whether or not it’s wonderful. I can tell you that the very teeny tiny bit I’ve done so far is basic and I haven’t learned anything new YET.
Here’s the thing though, I’ve done a ton of gardening. I’ve read a ton of books. I’ve been lucky enough to work with master gardeners on things. So to say I haven’t learned anything new YET just means exactly nothing right now.
If I look at what’s been covered so far, if I had never tried to grow anything before in my life I’d be super stoked right now. The little bit that’s I’ve done so far tells you exactly what to do. There is no rocket science going on. They are literally laying it out for you: do this, then do this, then do this. They are breaking it down and making it so easy that I have to remind myself “it really IS that easy.”
So if you’ve never started a garden before but you’re super into the idea (especially with everyone talking Victory Gardens like this is a war and not a pandemic) I suggest at least looking into the course. If you start it and don’t like it, no big deal. It costs you exactly $0.00
You can sign up for the vegetable course (and other courses, too, I’m sure) here.
Keep Learning. Stay Curious.
I know it’s super hard not to be a ball of anxiety in the corner of your closet right now. I get it. If you don’t like these two ideas for ways to help yourself through this crazy time, there are lots and lots of other ways to keep your brain healthy and distracted. A Google search for “free online learning” or “free online courses” will deliver you a plethora of options. Something is sure to tickle your fancy and then it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump til we’re out of this and on to the next big disaster. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Keep learning. Stay curious.
~~~That’s one hour~~~