Nikola is a self-determined Saylor graduate from Belgrade, Serbia. We have awarded him “Lifelong Learner of the Year,” as he has earned 52 certificates throughout 2021! His current goal is to complete all of our available courses. We asked him to recount his experience thus far and here is what he had to say. 

This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Saylor Academy: Hello Nikola! How did you hear about Saylor Academy?

Nikola Cvijovic:  I was looking for courses that were free, or cheap because I am a student and most courses are too expensive for me. I think some websites were recommending Saylor Academy. I also think I read something good about your organization on Reddit. I went on to the Saylor Academy website and could not believe something like that can be free of charge. 

SA: What influenced you to take our courses?

NC: My main motivation for taking your courses was to gain certificates and knowledge that could make me more employable. The second reason was to gain additional knowledge that was structured somehow. I was a bad student in high school due to a lack of effort, and that really caused me to feel like I was lacking in knowledge and skills. So, I am extremely motivated to learn on each and every topic. 

SA: Which course was your first course and why did you choose it?

NC:  It says on the website that the first certificate I gained was on managing employees. I am an Economics/Business major, so I wanted to join all “Professional Development” and “Economics” courses because I saw that I can learn something new and get a certificate for it. 

SA: Once you obtained your first certificate, what inspired you to complete another 51? 

NC: My goal from the start was to learn and gain all certificates available suited to my major. Later on, I looked at the other courses and then started to study them one by one. My current goal is to pass all courses on your website when I find the time. Truth to be told, I really have not realized that I gained so many certificates. 

SA: What has your experience been like with our courses?

NC: I have had a good experience with your courses. Some of them can be really tricky when answering questions and some of them are rather long, but I have had a good experience. 

Student Spotlight- Nikola Cvijovic: I went on to the Saylor Academy website and could not believe something like that can be free of charge. Click To Tweet

SA: Which course was your favorite and why?

NC: My favorite courses were the ones regarding Excel. I think there are three of them. The knowledge I gained from these courses helped me to get an offline certificate that is rather difficult to gain and hopefully will help me to pass the Excel exam on Sunday and gain another offline certificate. Those were the ones I found most useful of them all for me personally. 

The course I enjoyed the most was the one about moral and ethical philosophy. I am really interested in philosophy, especially ethics, so it was very fun learning about it in a structured way. 

SA: Would you recommend Saylor Academy to others? 

NC: I would highly recommend Saylor Academy because it helps students to learn at their own pace and free of charge, in a structured way. 

SA: What are your career goals? 

NC: In the long run, I would like to be an entrepreneur. I am really interested in running my own business, no matter how small it is or what it does. I really like the idea of working for myself. 

Short-term I would like to get a job preferably in analytics or finance to gain relevant skills and experience to start my own business. 

SA: How have the certificates you obtained through Saylor Academy prepared you to achieve those goals?  

NC: At the moment, the courses are helping me to reach my goals, mostly those short-term. I already mentioned the Excel courses. Some of the courses I participated in are from pure interest and are not really related to my career goals. 

SA: Do you have any advice for people joining the online learning community? 

NC: I don’t think I have any particular advice for other learners, except scheduling your time appropriately will help you learn and pass your exams easily. 

Nikola is a wonderful example of a lifelong learner! We are constantly working to continue providing free education to learners like Nikola. Whether you are looking to add to your skill-set, your resume, or just learn for fun, we have plenty of courses to help you on your journey. Read more of our student interviews here and find information on our courses here.