This post will be a total whining session about statistics and how useless it is.
[Disclaimer: I know how useful it is. It’s just currently not my friend]
Tuesday nights are statistics class and we have had three classes so far. The first class our professor put us at ease saying we were going to take things step by step, there is nothing to be afraid of, we can all succeed in stats. That made me feel good. I have taken stats before, freshman year of college and I did get an A-. The second class was alright too, discussing types of data, mean median mode, and a little bit of standard deviation and as the lecture went on the more things kept coming back to me and I felt alright.
Then I started the homework that was due last night. First of all, the book that we have involves the use of some things called Stats Tools that we need to download from the internet. You would think that a bunch of graduate students who for the most part grew up around computers could handle this but for some that was the hardest part of the homework actually loading the software. I was expecting the worse but it turns out I was one of the lucky ones and I got it working on my computer just fine. The I started doing the problems and that was fine for the most part, until I got stuck on questions involving types of data. Let me tell you there are a lot of types of data. The book says one thing, the professor says another who knows what to think. There were a lot of emails going around the class these past few days asking questions not about the charts/graphs etc but about types of data.
And that brings us to class last night. There was a quiz scheduled but we first went over the homework which took much longer than anticipated and led to the great debate of what types of data rankings of colleges are. And I still feel that I don’t have a for sure answer. We took the quiz, it was challenging but I think I did ok. I know for sure that I missed the one question asking me about data types. Naturally.
Then we began talking about probability…and we actually did begin by talking about flipping coins and rolling dice. I like starting off easy. And while much of the crazy formulas look like nonsense, when they are explained in everyday English they weren’t too bad to grasp. But this class is definitely one I cannot let my mind wander in. I was thinking about this past weekend for about thirty seconds and then snapped back to attention when I realize that I had missed hearing about two whole slides. Sigh.
The big kicker of the class was when we reviewed two probability problems from our book. The first one no problem it was pretty straight forward. The second one…oh boy. I read the problem and started doing what I thought was the correct way to do it.
Then came another twenty minute debate about the question, how we were looking at it, what exactly was the question asking, how to solve it. This debate resulted in my scribbling out my first answer and doing a whole bunch of garbled math mixing decimals and fractions, subtracting things, drawing lines everywhere. My brain was hurting. Then a classmate raised his hand and said “well all I did was this….” and it was exactly what I had done the first time. Turns out that was right, I was right all along and now had developed an unnecessary headache.
Lessons that I’ve learned so far from stats:
-I won’t always be wrong so if things are getting a little nuts in class speak up with what I’ve done for the problem
-My class is a debating and analyzing class and it is highly entertaining and is making for a great learning experience
-Bring Advil to class