I’m a creature of habit. Everyday, I go to bed at around midnight and wake up at around 8, have my first cup of coffee, water my plants, play with my cat a bit, and take my time to go to the office while basking in the morning weather. 

As for just about everyone, it’s safe to say my routine has been slightly disrupted. 

Take yesterday, for example: I played the Sims ’til three AM (hello, 10 year old Nicki, didn’t know you’d be showing up!), took a shower, went to bed, woke up at 10:30 almost missing a work meeting, had pizza for breakfast and cereal for lunch, which happened to be at 4 PM. It is now almost 6, and in about 15 minutes I’ll be putting my mask on (ain’t nobody got the cash for that 80K fine) to go to the kiosko around the corner for the chocolate I’m missing in order to bake me some brownies. It’ll be the first time I leave the house in a week. I’m looking quite attractive right about now, aren’t I? 

Yesterday notwithstanding, I am trying to insert a semblance of a routine into my habits. No, I have yet to master that when it comes to my sleeping schedule, but I have been trying to do a bit of movement everyday; read, write, and paint a bit (anything for some time away from a screen), and tend to my garden (#privileged, I know, but it’s only because I temporarily moved in with my mom). I even decided to finally take those UX design classes I had been wondering about for so long… Only to find out the school I had my eye on was offering them at heavily discounted prices. Hurrah! Where am I going with this? Several institutions are offering a myriad of online courses/classes/workshops/you name it at heavily discounted, or often free, prices, and we should definitely take advantage of it, if we can (and our mental health, mood, etc., allows for it). Here’s our list – from expensive (but still discounted) and international, down to local entrepreneurs: 

1. MasterClass

I think everyone knows about this one by now, but MasterClass is offering a 2×1 on their usually very pricy (or at least, for me) membership. You know those Instagram ads that keep on popping up with messages like “Learn acting from Natalie Portman” and “Learn photography from Annie Leibowitz?” That’s MasterClass. Grab a friend and make the best of this. Maybe you’ll become the next famous person on the other side of an Instagram ad.

2. Ivy League Universties Galore

Ah, to be a Harvard alum… but who’s got that kind of cash? If this doesn’t apply to you and you’re able to spend 200K on tuition, good for you (also FYI I’m single, in case you were wondering), but if you’re wandering around the same tax bracket as I am, here’s a list of over 400 free Ivy League university courses for you to lose yourself into. You can find anything from computer science to poetry – Enjoy!

3. Coursera

Coursera is making a bunch of their courses free of charge, and since they’re a pretty well established (ahem) online learning platform, you know they know what they’re doing. In case you were wondering, *I* signed up for Chinese for beginners. Neat, huh?

4. For Coders: Pluralsight

Being the huge nerd I am, I have always been tempted by coding – I know absolutely nothing about it, but all those black screens with white letters á la Matrix seem awfully mysterious/tempting. Is this the time I do something with this? Well, I mean, Pluralsight (great coder’s resources, in case you were wondering) is offering free access to over 7,000 courses and videos throughout April, so why not? 

5. For SEO Nerds: Moz Academy + Blue Array Academy

Delve into the obscure world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO for friends) and understand what exactly do all these weird acronyms mean with Moz’s Academy courses – free of charge ’til May 31st. In addition, why not find trouble and make it double with Blue Array Academy’s SEO Manager course? Usually completely unaffordable (over 1,000 dollars – boy, bye), they’re making it completely free over the next three months. Now that’s good value.

Now, all of those are very good and fine, and I definitely recommend you sign up for a course or three because hey, why the hell not? However, you may be looking for something less massive, or you may be looking for something that’s not quite a class so much as a chance for you to learn something while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Hell, perhaps you’d like to help an entrepreneur out during this quarantine (and if so, you need to check this article out). For all that and more, here’s a few less famous but equally valid learning alternatives – enjoy: 

1. Art Workshop: Theater is Paint That’s Theater – to Center Ourselves and Calm Our Collective Anxiety

Visual artist Juan Reos and actor/director/musician Julián Rodriguez Roma put together a visual arts/theater research lab that, while usually taught in person, is looking to take advantage of every online medium available to investigate this new, strange time we’re inhabiting. It consists of four online encounters starting Saturday April 18th, and is aimed at any and all artists looking to add new tools and concepts to the way they experience their craft. Email them at juanreos@gmail.com / julianrodriguezrona@gmail.com

2. Make Up Lessons: For the Next Time We Go Out (?)

If, like me, you’re stuck inside with giant bags of make up that are currently sitting unused in your bathroom, this may be the time to up your eyeshadow game with an online lesson or three. Check out Julia Mosler’s Instagram for an amazing make-up artist to fill your feed and scope all her online courses here.

3. Djing Sessions: For Your Next Dance Party

Another option – DJing! DJ Asteroide is conquering the online world with DJ lessons that cover both the more technical aspects as well as music criteria to keep in mind when leading the next quarantine dance party from your living room.

4. Vogue Femme Dance Lessons: Also For Your Next Dance Party

Sign up for some amazing Vogue lessons with @Andy.Andinxs – adding some movement to your routine can’t possibly hurt, and who’s to stop you from looking fierce while you’re at it?

5. Burlesque Classes: For Dance Party Vol. 3

Absolute stunning human being Yani Giovanetti is taking over Instagram for the only IG live you’ll actually want to watch – burlesque lessons. Now, she knows that not everyone has all they could wish for at home in order to take a burlesque lesson, but don’t let this deter you – join her in her lessons and let her help you transform the shabbiest nightgown (or even a regular pair of jeans and a t-shirt) as if she were Cinderella’s fairy godmother herself.

6. All Things Gardening: For When We All Leave the City & Move to the Middle of a Field After This Pandemic

Plant queen María de las Plantas is certainly not lying idle during quarantine, and every two or three days, she pops a new question on her Instagram feed – “Hey – would you guys like to learn a bit more about xxxx?” With overwhelming affirmative answers, she’s taken to uploading a bunch of really cool plant content ranging from how to take care of specific plants, to how to create your own gardening pesticides, and what to look for when crafting your plant watering schedule. Learn how to give nature some love and watch how nature gives it back 🙂

7. Nail Art Wonder For When Your Mandala Coloring Book’s All Done

For some bizarre reason, my nails haven’t been this healthy in a while – they’re growing long and strong as I haven’t seen in months. Even funnier – I’ve talked to a few friends and I’m not the only one. Is the doing less things that causes this? Unclear, but if there was ever a time to take a nail art class – this is it. Check out Penny Nail’s online courses on the matter, ’cause she’s clearly an expert.

You’ve made it this far! We appreciate you! There’s only one more thing to say at this point: aside from signing up to all these wonderful classes, you are also allowed to do nothing. This is a very stressful time for everyone, and whether we acknowledge it or not, we are living through collective trauma. If you feel like getting creative and learning something now, that’s awesome, and if you don’t, that’s awesome too – don’t let anyone pressure you into “being productive.” Stay safe, cats and kittens, and see you when this is all over! 

– La La Lista (L)