The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caught almost all of us off-guard. As news of this new virus strain emerged, governments worldwide began discussing precautionary measures to contain it and buy time for vaccine development. Eventually, more and more countries, including the Philippines, imposed lockdowns.

On March 17, the Philippine government implemented a “Community Quarantine” in Metro Manila (later extending it to provinces). People were urged to stay home, and many establishments, except drug stores and grocery stores, temporarily closed. Businesses able to function remotely swiftly shifted to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.

Fortunately, my company had been practicing WFH since early 2019, making the transition smooth for us, especially in my department. We were equipped with the knowledge and experience needed. However, due to mall closures, most of our brand’s outlets also temporarily shut down. Two weeks into the quarantine, our company had to suspend operations.

A snippet of how my Work from Home takes place.

This period posed challenges for me, as I’m someone who thrives on staying productive every day. If I’m not working, it doesn’t feel like “my” day. So, I attempted to fill my time with various activities. I joined the TikTok trend, binge-watched series and movies, and more. However, in my view, these activities didn’t fulfill me. I couldn’t see myself repeating them throughout the quarantine. While these pursuits may work for others, they didn’t resonate with me. We all have distinct ways of coping with stress and unfamiliar situations. I believed there had to be other avenues for me to explore and find fulfillment.

Here I am, in front of my laptop, having Zoom meetings during Work from Home.

At one point, I realized that the stress of staying at home and doing nothing was completely different from the stress of work. Stress from work is only natural and is something I have learned to cope with. But this new kind of stress, from shifting from working nonstop to working on nothing at all, was really disorienting. I knew I had to find a way to work around this.

One day, during the last week of April, my sister shared an article about online schooling platforms such as Udemy and Coursera offering courses for FREE in response to the global pandemic, which required almost everyone to stay at home. You can check the article here:

As I browsed through the available courses, my interest was immediately piqued. There were various fields to choose from, including social sciences, engineering, health, business, and marketing. This opportunity was timely, as I had been planning to enroll in marketing courses since last year, but my tight schedule didn’t allow for it until now.

After carefully reviewing the course options, I decided to take advantage of Coursera’s offer. What made it even more appealing was the chance to earn certifications for FREE if I enrolled before May 31st. Typically, these courses cost between $39 and $79 each, so I didn’t hesitate to enroll. Initially, my excitement led me to enroll in 12 courses, but I later had to withdraw from some due to overlapping topics and purposes. I hadn’t filtered them well initially, all because of my excitement! (Sorry :P) I eventually narrowed it down to 7 courses.

Coursera Online Course Dashboard.

Let me share some additional information about Coursera. They have partnerships with numerous educational institutions worldwide, including Ivy League schools. When their courses are offered in collaboration with these prestigious institutions, you can rest assured that you’re learning from the best.

Here’s how you can access these free online courses:

  • Check the Opportunity: Visit this [link](insert link here) to view the list of available courses.
  • Choose a Course: Click on the course(s) of your choice, which will redirect you to the Coursera website.
  • Enroll: Click the “Enroll” button only when the “ENROL FOR FREE” banner appears. Refresh the page if necessary until the banner shows up.
  • Create an Account: If you don’t have one already, create an account as instructed.
  • Choose Fee Options: After registering, you’ll see two fee options: [1] Course Fee (with Certificate) and [2] FREE (without Certificate). Select [1] Course Fee (with Certificate), and the fee will automatically be waived, resulting in a total of “0 USD.”

If you wish to enroll in more courses, simply repeat the same steps.

If you need more detailed guidance on this process, I encourage you to watch my #INYIVlog.

I’ve combined essential information about the enrollment process with my personal experiences to provide you with valuable insights. We’re all on this journey together to acquire additional knowledge and enhance our professional development.

Here’s a list of the courses I successfully completed:

  • 1️⃣ Managing the Company of the Future [University of London]
  • 2️⃣ Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age [University of Toronto]
  • 3️⃣ The Strategy of Content Marketing [University of California, Davis]
  • 4️⃣ Introduction to Personal Branding [University of Virginia]
  • 5️⃣ “Improve your Communication Skills Specialization” [Georgia Institute of Technology]
  • 6️⃣ Build Your Professional ePortfolio
  • 7️⃣ Speak Professionally: In Person, Online, & On the Phone
  • 8️⃣ Write Professional Emails

These courses have enriched my knowledge and skills significantly.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably caused immense stress and reshaped our world, but it has also opened doors to new opportunities. While the times have been challenging, I maintain hope that we will eventually discover our path to light. When that moment arrives, we must share that light with others. In the same way that completing these online courses illuminated my path, I hope they can do the same for you. You’re now aware of this opportunity, so let’s pass on this light to others.

God bless everyone.

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