About How To Study Further

I am constantly thinking about my incomplete higher education, which is out of touch for me now, since I am not getting back to Ruᛋᛋia in any of its shapes on forms (even if Khuilo a.k.a. Vladimir Putin dies and Navalny becomes the president).

I have thoroughly sniffed through the options available in Armenia and Georgia as well as online, and I am more and more inclined to consider the [Open University]. $5,000-$9,000 / year is an acceptable for distance learning depending on the number or credits to be taken, and it seems legit, given the curriculums and Sociology being available as an undergraduate programme.

Of course, this will be a perfect backing for:

  • Publishing my findings as a student of a university, not as a nobody from nowhere.
  • Finding the like-minded people around the world.
  • Getting exposed to a thorough criticism of my ideas so to improve them.

I am still considering the possibility of getting to an Armenian university once I have learnt the language to an appropriate level, but I have a feeling that the universities of the ex-USSR countries are subject to the same set of problems that plague their functioning and the studies of their students.

Work & Study : The Ruᛋᛋian Way

A cool find in the Ruᛋᛋian YT shows how the Ruᛋᛋian system of education is rapidly transforming from the Soviet-style bullshit to a Ruᛋᛋian Taliban.

The Alabuga Polytechnic College is quite a sight, as it seems:

  • Ungedage Students Building Shaheed Drones
  • Contracts for studying with free entrance and huge fees for drop-outs ($4,500 per year)
  • Mandatory paramilitary-style training under the threat of expelling
  • Replacement of studies with work

This is an unfortunate but logical conclusion for the Ruᛋᛋian education system: the quality of studies is being constantly sacrificed to the political goals. Sometimes these goals are relatively innocent like university-scale testing fraud or voluntary-mandatory participation in the pro-government events. Sometimes, and the farther into war the more, these goals acquire quite a grim character.

It is yet another show-case that in Ruᛋᛋia, the education system is being replaced with a system of indoctrination; academic independence and achievement is yet again replaced with the loyalty to the Party and critical thinking and active citizenship is punished both institutionally and monetarily.

Going Independent (for Now)

Having found myself outside of the confines of Russia, I started investigating different options for continuing my education. Obviously, I am no longer able to graduate from my university because I am abroad. The local options either demand a proficiency in Armenian, or are too costly to pursue at this moment in my life. All this situation, in spite of its rather morbid character, was, after all, a rather enticing starting point from which I could think outside the box.

My desire to tell stories, share ideas and collaborate with like-minded people of course implies getting a degree along the way. However, this does not mean that I cannot do all these things — as well as earning money — in some other, more tailored way.

I have tried to enroll at a university thrice, and neither of these experiences could be called productive. Going to the lessons and communicating with a lot of people simply gets me dried up by noon, and the bullshit nature of the ex-USSR education (when there are a lot of useless subjects that are showed down one's throat) kills my very ability to allocate time properly. In addition to that, the value of the higher education now and, say, 30 years ago are simply not comparable (in many cases, unfortunately, we can tell the same about its quality). So, enlisting for a university and grinding my way up for the fourth time is not the best perspective. But what then could be an alternative?

I think, I have an idea.

If I split up things that I need into three main categories, the idea becomes quite clear.

  1. Theoretical and applied knowledge can be gotten by self-study, MOOCs and paid on-line courses and seminars. I am interested in Social Sciences and especially in Sociology and Economics, and the availability of materials, as well as open data, has been improving steadily throughout the recent years. This way I can get my skills and competencies to the level I need without distraction on the mandatory distractions.
  2. Networking, should it be applied correctly, can get me published. It is obvious, that it is harder to get one's knowledge evaluated and one's works dissiminated outside the existing academic institutions. But since my ideas are not generally shared by the mainstream academics anyway, getting more familiar with think tanks and building a network of those people whom my ideas might be interesting seems to be a more reasobable way to getting published than trying things the old way.
  3. A higher market awareness, including a developed personal brand is the necesseary condition for the success, given the conditions above are met and mastered. I need to focus on story-telling and rethorics so to be able to sell my point of view to the audience.

So, for starters, I need to focus more on the MOOCs I am dealing with, and gradually earn certification in languages (Englsh, German and French). At the same time, I need to become a certified user of Microsoft Ecxel (passing the exams to become Excel Master by Microsoft classification). And the final step would be getting some certified courses in Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, which will give me the instruments for analysing data in a quantitative fashion with certainty.

After that, it all boils down to producing some interesting articles on the themes I find peculiar and trying to find a way to have them published with the help of like-minded institutions (like think tanks or research groups).

And once I have both the skills (certified by independent bodies) and connections, I can kick-start my research activity to full throtle in accordance with the public demand and my interests alike.

No one says that it will be easy, but for the next year and a half, this is the plan.