How This Med Student Completed 69 Online Courses During Quarantine

P.S. She only paid to get a certificate for one.
by Mylene Mendoza   |  Jun 9, 2020
Image: Courtesy of Nadine Villaret
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With normal routines being shaken up, many of us have probably struggled to stay productive. We don’t know for certain when the pandemic is going to die down so we’re left feeling anxious about our lack of control over things.

One medical student, Nadine Villaret, from Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health has an inspiring, albeit funny, story of dealing with uncertainty: She decided to take a whopping 69 online courses to stay productive. “The pandemic caused me so much anxiety, and I tried to combat it by staying productive,” Nadine shares in an interview over Facebook. “Many of us in medical school work so hard because we want to be good doctors for our future patients. However, I'd be lying if I said that we don’t get demotivated at times.”

“That's when online courses came along,” she continued. “The courses I took were about topics that I was interested in, so learning them was no problem. It was a good break from feeling like I had to stuff my brain every time I opened my books and transes, and after a while, it gave me a better appreciation of the impact of my future profession.”


“The first course I enrolled in was Psychological First Aid from John Hopkins University,” Nadine shares. “[My thesis mate] just finished the course and invited us to try it out, especially since the subject was related to our thesis [which] was published in the International Journal of Culture and Mental Health. It is entitled The role of Filipino masculine ideology on the adaptive coping, psychological well-being, and vicarious trauma of first responders.” You can read more about their thesis here.

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On taking 69 online courses

After completing her first course, Nadine went on to take a couple more since there wasn’t any assurance that their exams would push through as scheduled. She ended up taking a total of 69 online courses. You might think that 69 is such a random number, but Nadine shares that there’s actually a funny story behind it. “The main and honest reason I went to accomplish this particular number of certificates is because my friends challenged me to do so,” she says. “One particular friend said, and I quote, ‘G hahaha para laughtrip headlines, ‘Babae, naka 69.’” 


Jokes aside, Nadine’s got some serious passion for the courses she took. “The courses I enrolled in are in a variety of fields. Some are for understanding health systems and global health,” she shares. “I also enrolled in courses for personal development, psychology, and other fields that I'm either passionate about or fields that I have always been interested in learning such as sustainability, fashion, ecology, etc.”

In case you’re curious, here are all 69 courses Nadine took:

  1. Big History: Connecting Knowledge by Macquarie University
  2. Collaborative Working in a Remote Team by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  4. Conflict Analysis by United States Institute of Peace
  5. Converting Challenges into Opportunities by University of California San Diego
  6. COVID-19 Contact Tracing by John Hopkins University
  7. COVID-19: Effective Nursing in Times of Crisis by John Hopkins University, JHPIEGO, and John Hopkins School of Nursing
  8. COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression by University of Reading
  9. COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and UK Public Health Rapid Support Team
  10. Create a Professional Online Presence by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  11. Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  12. Decision Making: How to Choose the Right Problem to Solve by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  13. Designing Community-Based Dialogue by United States Institute of Peace
  14. Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Programming in Fragile Environments by United States Institute of Peace
  15. Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology by University of Alberta
  16. Disease Screening in Public Health by University of Geneva, University of Lausanne
  17. Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation by American Museum of Natural History and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  18. Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks by University of Pittsburgh
  19. Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  20. Essentials of Global Health by Yale University
  21. Evidence and Data Collection for Problem Solving by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  22. Fashion as Design by The Museum of Modern Art
  23. Future-Proofing the Health Workforce by Griffith University
  24. Gender Inclusivity in Peacebuilding by United States Institute of Peace
  25. Global Biosecurity for One Health by Murdoch University
  26. Global Health: An Interdisciplinary Overview by University of Geneva
  27. Governance by United States Institute of Peace
  28. Healthy Futures: How can we Create the Most Effective Healthcare System? by Murdoch University
  29. How To Write A Resume (Project-Centered Course) by The State University of New York
  30. How to Create Great Online Content by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  31. Ideas for a Better World: Leading Change Through Policymaking by British Council
  32. Infection Prevention in Nursing Homes by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  33. Introduction to Nursing: The Role of Nurses around the World by King's College London
  34. Introduction to Peacebuilding by United States Institute of Peace
  35. Introduction to Personal Branding by University of Virginia
  36. Introduction to Psychology: Biological Psychology by Monash University
  37. Introduction to Psychology: The History and Science of Psychology by Monash University
  38. Introduction to Psychology: The Psychology of Learning by Monash University
  39. Introduction to Sustainability and Development by Deakin University
  40. Leading Culturally Diverse Teams in the Workplace by Deakin University and Deakin Business School
  41. Leading Strategic Innovation: How to Lead With Purpose by Deakin University and Coventry University
  42. Lessons From Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic by Harvard University
  43. Managing Mental Health and Stress by Coventry University
  44. Media and the Arts for Peace by United States Institute of Peace
  45. Mediation by United States Institute of Peace
  46. Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by McMaster University (completed with Honors)
  47. Negotiation by United States Institute of Peace
  48. Nonviolent Action by United States Institute of Peace
  49. Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: Are You Ready? by Griffith University
  50. Positive Psychology: Martin E. P. Seligman’s Visionary Science by University of Pennsylvania
  51. Poverty & Population: How Demographics Shape Policy by Columbia University
  52. Preparing for Peacebuilding by United States Institute of Peace
  53. Presenting your Work with Impact by University of Leeds and Institute of Coding
  54. Professional Resilience: Building Skills to Thrive at Work by Deakin University
  55. Psychological First Aid by John Hopkins University
  56. Religion and Peacebuilding by United States Institute of Peace
  57. Sit Less, Get Active by University of Edinburgh
  58. Sleep Deprivation: Habits, Solutions and Strategies Teach-Out by University of Michigan
  59. Social Psychology by Wesleyan University (completed with Honors)
  60. Social Services for Families, Seniors and Those with Disabilities by Columbia University
  61. Successful Career Development by University System of Georgia
  62. Supporting Adolescent Learners: Social and Emotional Wellbeing by Griffith University
  63. The Challenges of Global Health by Duke University
  64. The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling by University of Wollongong
  65. The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know by University of Michigan
  66. Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments by Duke University
  67. US Social Services Compared by Columbia University
  68. US Social Services: Where did they come from? by Columbia University
  69. What is Leadership? by Deakin University

Where she learned about online courses

You might think that it sounds a bit ~expensive~ to take sooo many online courses, but Nadine shares that almost all these were *free*. “The only course I had to pay for to get a certificate was the course, Lessons From Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic by Harvard University,” Nadine says.


Thankfully, Nadine was kind enough to share the links where she learned about these online courses, in case anyone else wants to enroll. “I want everyone to be able to take advantage of this opportunity that's on limited time. We shouldn't gatekeep learning because it should never be a privilege, but it is a right.” You may check here, here, and here for a list of free online courses!

On balancing online courses with her actual school work 

It’s a bit intimidating to think of accomplishing so many online courses while you’re studying for exams, in med school, no less. Here, Nadine shares the habits she practiced that allowed her to accomplish her online courses while in med school.

  • Set your goals daily and figure out when you’re most productive. “Every day I would set a daily goal of what I wanted to accomplish,” Nadine shares. “I tried to wake up early (emphasis on tried), but mostly I just worked until late into the night because I'm more productive during those times.”
  • Have something to look forward to as a “prize.” Nadine says it’s helpful to do something you actually enjoy after your tasks so you’ll have something to anticipate at the end of your activities. “I'd watch episodes from an anime or K-drama, or I'd have a movie night with my sisters,” she says. “Sometimes I'll play a video game with my friends. I was psyching myself into having something to look forward to as a sort of prize for finishing my daily goal.”
  • Don’t expect yourself to give the same results every day, and that’s okay. “I'd like to say that I didn't always finish my daily goals. Some days I'd barely touch a page of the readings from both my online courses and med school, while some days I tunneled right through and did more than I ever set for myself.”
  • Lastly, don’t forget to have rest days! 



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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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ICYDK, she's pretty knowledgeable in the style department as well.
"My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life."
She also said that he let her borrow P10,000 as her start-up capital.