Nothing to do? Learn one of these new skills this summer

Illustration of a man dancing to music inside his room
Alexander Hong/Senior Staff

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In the year 2025, you’re catching up with an old friend, and they ask you about your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. You think back, and what do you tell them? 

Some of my friends and family members whom I have connected with while sheltering in place have picked up new hobbies and skills. A friend of mine started baking, experimenting with new recipes every week. Another returned to the piano, expanding on the limited training she received as a child. While you shouldn’t feel pressured by anyone to develop a talent during this time, learning a new skill encourages growth and personal development. The internet is full of opportunities for you to learn. Whether you’re bored at home or seeking self-fulfillment, teach yourself something new while spending more time at home this summer. 

If you want to be a better cook, experiment with recipes you already know

Create your own cooking class with a few recipes from Eating Berkeley. Try one of these delicious upside-down cake recipes. Take the base cake recipe and experiment with new flavors, ingredients or toppings. Baking is all about experimentation, and if you want to learn how to be better, start with some practice. Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube channel produces new videos every week for those looking for a little more guidance.

Are you dreaming of the stage? Start by singing, dancing or performing in your bedroom

From break dancing to acting, the internet is a great place to find resources that will help you develop any skills. YouTube is full of dance, singing or other related tutorials. There are also many sites that offer virtual lessons for a price. To expand your knowledge, research teachers in the discipline of your interest. Follow them on social media, and you might learn something about your new hobby while scrolling before bed. 

Log off and read physical print in a book, newsletter or magazine

When you’ve had enough of screens and eye strain, turn to a book in a subject you want to learn. There are a lot of print books that will teach anything from drawing to coding. Ask friends to join you in an accountability book club. You can pick your own books to read and set a time to come back and discuss what each of you have learned. And when you’ve run out of books to read, reading plays aloud is an opportunity for you to explore literature through acting and recitation. 

Forget coffee breaks. This summer is all about growth breaks! 

After you’ve decided on the skill you want to develop, decide how often and when you plan to learn each day. Then, make a schedule of the times you plan to work. Setting up a consistent routine is the key to mastery. Whatever you do while spending more time at home this summer, make sure it brings you joy and self-fulfillment! 

Hope you all feel inspired to get learning this summer!

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].