Different Ways to get Free Content During the Quarantine

By Susanna Granieri

This upheaval of your life, as for many others, has been heartwrenching, difficult and chaotic – you’re not alone. “For me, a lot of my classes could transition somewhat seamlessly to online and could even be taught as such off the bat; but in reality, the process hasn’t been such a walk in the park,” said fourth-year creative writing major at SUNY New Paltz, Mahnoor Ali.

While the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the U.S., companies have worked to provide you with free access to online platforms to keep up with school work, while also saving you from boredom in the process. Whether you have time on your hands for a new digital project, or you’re having trouble editing that video for your class, companies are handing you the tools to a more educated lifestyle for free— relaxing their usual gatekeeping to students and educators in order to give the most wholesome education online, and you should grab onto the opportunity.

Check out just a few of your options:

Are you up for the challenge?

Adobe has offered their Creative Suite to students for free until May 31. Additionally, they have also offered different tutorials as ways to stay connected. If you want to work collaboratively with the pros, check out Adobe Live. In addition to the live teaching aspects, Adobe is also offering “Daily Creative Challenges” within Photoshop, XD or Illustrator if you click on the app. These challenges are a great way to keep your creative juices flowing in an otherwise non inspirational environment, while also connecting with professionals, mentors and students who can give you feedback. Along with your Creative Suite, you then open up a door with tutorials bursting at the seams – all for free.

Your research is no longer at a standstill.

JSTOR is an online library filled with journals, research articles and even books. With a JSTOR subscription usually landing at $199 a year, you most likely rely on SUNY New Paltz for access through STL. Now, with educators at home as well, JSTOR has allowed 100 free articles (a 94 article increase from their original six article limit). This is the perfect time for any type of research you’ve put off, whether it be for your pure enjoyment or academic reasons.

Quarantine can be lonely, but your friends are only a click away.

Zoom is an application as well as an online service for video conferencing, including a chat window, screen sharing and presentations. From classes, work or club meetings, to job interviews and virtual time with friends, the Zoom app is one of frequent use. Basic users are usually constrained to a 40-minute time limit on meetings with more than two people, but now, there is unlimited time for collaboration. In addition, Zoom is also offering informational and tutorial-like sessions in order for educators, students and any other professionals to learn Zoom easily.

Looking to spice up your LinkedIn?

LinkedIn Learning is an online extension through LinkedIn which offers video courses in different softwares, creativity, business and professional skills. As a SUNY New Paltz student, you have access to this service by simply using your school login. This service allows you to set goals weekly for the amount of time you spend watching videos and gaining knowledge. After completing a course, you are also able to download your LinkedIn Learning certificate. This is especially helpful, as when you create or continue to update your LinkedIn profile, these certificates can be supplemented to help employers find you.

Get motivated and try some of Nike’s free workouts.

The Nike Training Club’s (NTC) app was made to help its members to reach their fitness goals. The premium workouts include bodyweight-only circuits, yoga/meditation classes, training programs and full-equipment workouts, all with different intensities for every fitness level. Nike usually charges $14.99 a month for its Training Club Premium Workouts, but now they’re free. The Swoosh says it wants everyone to be “playing as one team,” and their way of doing so is suspending premium membership fees.

The media wants you to stay informed. 

While COVID-19 wreaks havoc over the globe, people always need to stay informed. Usually, paywalls keep curious people at bay, allowing only a few articles before payment is necessary. In light of the pandemic, many news organizations are taking a different route. The Wall Street Journal has offered 50% off of their one year subscription for full access, but has features for Coronavirus coverage that are free– live updates, symptoms to look for, tech tips and more. The New York Times follows suit with free access to crucial and important stories on COVID-19, but a subscription is still required to see all articles. The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times will continue to provide daily live updates and how to handle the pandemic for free.

Your favorite bookstore is closed; what can you do?

On March 22, Apple began to allow users access to an entire list of titles on Apple Books for free, calling it their “‘stay at home’ collection. These titles range from mystery, romance and sci-fi to children’s stories, with audiobooks also available. Bradley Chambers, an editor at 9to5mac says that many of the texts are also a part of a larger series, allowing Apple Books’ users to get a feel for a plotline before purchasing it.

Influencers aren’t the only ones who can have a nice Instagram.

The Know-How Series from Frolic is now introducing their Instagram building and creative writing classes for free. The Instagram brand lesson is usually priced at $14.99, but now that this video series is free, it is a good opportunity to improve your social media presence. This lesson features top authors and influencers to help you create your perfect profile which mirrors your personal identity. The creative writing courses are on the more expensive side, $29.99 for the nine-video package, but this is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your writing skills. Specifically, this lesson package is perfect for anyone sitting down to write the novel during quarantine they’ve been putting off for weeks – authors and teachers show you the best way to “attack a blank page, set goals and get it done.” 

Hopefully, you can forget your TikTok “for you” page and try out some new options to fill the time— and well, grow your brain (remember –it’s free!).

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