How to make use of an unexpected extended break

LinkedIn Learning Home Page (Photo by Jessica Silva)

If you are anything like me, one of the most anxiety-driving elements of an extended break, such as our six-week winter break, long summer, or even this quarantine we’re persevering through, is how to continue to stay sharp with skills learned in my classes. More importantly, is there any way to use this break to better myself from a personal, academic or even employable standpoint? Given my feelings on this subject, I’ve decided to share many great (and free!) resources that the University as well as the City and County of Denver provide.

LinkedIn Learning

If you’ve watched even a handful of PowerPoint, Excel, or Word tutorials on YouTube, there is a good chance you’ve seen a Masterclass or Skillshare advertisement. While these are both great options, they can add up in price, especially if you learn at a slower rate. However, included in your DU tuition is a subscription to LinkedIn Learning, formerly To access this resource, it is required to create an account using your university email. It’s that easy for free access!

Just read that entire paragraph and have no clue what any of those services are? No worries. To put it briefly, each of these services offers video courses designed to teach you (from any level) about a whole host of talents and skills.

Now, before you assume “LinkedIn? Must just be Microsoft Office.” Try it out! There certainly are business-related courses- all you could ask for really. However, I’ve found greater use from the creative and technology sections. Here, you can learn anything from photography to music and audio to coding a sleek website by learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

If you haven’t experimented with LinkedIn Learning, I suggest you do in your break and you’ll be sure to find something that interests you!

Feeling sluggish away from school? Missing Coors Fitness Center? No fret – even during quarantine I’ve found some great resources.


As one of the healthiest cities in the country, Denver caters to a crowd that is often looking to get active. While we may all be home or locked up due to uncontrollable circumstances, surely you can take advantage of these videos uploaded daily during the pandemic. An incredibly useful video is by Natalie with Denver Parks and Recreation for those of us that don’t have a full Coors Fitness Center in our basement, Natalie outlines various replacement workout tools made from household items here.

DenverParksRec Television Show

Live in the Denver area? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver Parks and Recreation has made a deal to broadcast a 30-minute episode at 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Mountain Standard Time Monday through Friday, on Comcast channel 56.

After all your skills learning and healthy activities, perhaps you miss that feeling of having your ideas challenged that university courses provide. In that case, check out the TED website. Obviously, most of us DU students have likely watched a TED Talk before now, but in terms of free, mentally stimulating content, not much rivals the TED series.

While you can find videos on YouTube or other video-sharing sites, the TED website has an interesting feature that allows you to select your interests and be recommended videos on those areas – making the search for that perfect video that much easier.

Whether you watch a video or two, join a virtual workout class, or just get encouraged to read up some more on a certain topic, a break from class can have serious benefits. Next time a break rolls around check back to these resources and see if you can’t find some others on your own!

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