Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Late Spring Term Report

I appear to be failing Statistics. This in spite of the fact that I do, in fact, study.

I'm trying not to be upset. The Add/Drop period ended right before the second mid-term, so I'm stuck on this bus even though it is headed off a cliff.

There's not much I can do about it I can't take more time off of work to study, for example. I can't do homework in the evenings on weeknights because I'm too brane ded to do math. I*get* the concept, but there's so much arithmetic involved that even when I get Excel to do the heavy lifting(The square roots, the factorials, the standard deviation, etc.) I don't get the right answers. Or, I get the right answers in the problem sets, but not in the exam. If this was a class with blue book exams, where one showed one's work, I might not have failed my second midterm. But then again, I might have failed it anyways, because after two days of study, when I sat down to take the test I felt that it was on different material than what I had been studying.

I often had nightmares--not actually in college, but after college--about the situation I'm stuck in now. It's too late to drop and I'm sitting in front of an exam that might as well be written in Russian. These are dreams about feeling trapped. Of course in the dreams I used to have, I was screwed because I hadn't studied and I had forgotten to drop the class. In my dreams I'm trapped because of my own flakiness.

The situation I'm in now is a bit different. The add/drop deadline was a few days before the second midterm. I considered dropping the class, but thought that if I did it would just be laziness on my part. I'd gotten a decent grade on the first midterm and I understood the material that was on the second midterm (or so I thought) so I felt that dropping the class would be lazy of me. Yes, it would be wonderful to spend the next few Saturdays hanging with friends, reading trashy novels or even having to go into work for after-hours stuff--but I would be backing away from something because it was just *hard* and I couldn't let myself do that. I now fervently wish I had done so, because I flailed the last exam, got all of this week's problem set wrong (after re-doing the problems) and I know the next few weeks are full of hard concepts. Yug.

I don't mind having to take a statistics class--I mind having to take *this* statistics class. I have nothing but the text book (since the class is online-there was no classroom option or I would have taken it) and while I agree that it's nice that there are tests that one can do to discover whether or not one can be 95% confident that the population mean falls within a certain interval, I don't see the practical value of making management students do that arithmetic (If we were scientists it would be another matter.) I agree that it's a good idea to understand the math, but this is mostly arithmetic--this is the sort of thing that people write software to figure out for them.

So I am trapped in this. I'm not going to stop studying, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I fail.

But in spite of this, I am hopeful for myself. I have mentioned in the past how moving to Beverly (becoming part of the Beverly Dog Pack as some would say) where my best friends live and where I'll be more likely to get drawn in to other events with friends (even if said friends live in Somerville--they'll still come up to the North Shore for brunch and beach walking.) Three of my good friends are moving into a house a few blocks from mine. It's a fixer-upper, so they've been at the house painting or talking with the carpenter for the past few months. I can drop by when I'm ready to set my statistics book on fire, or stop by to be beer wench after I'm done hurting my brain with statistics for the week. I am no good at home improvement (which they accept) but I can call in the dinner order, move a step ladder, bring someone a beer, go to Home Despot, unload a truck and take the dog to the beach. I can be social. This is more than nice. This is awesome.

Today I was talking with the soon-to-be newest member of the Beverly Pack (my friends bought a house with an apartment and she'll be moving into the apartment) and we discussed whether she should get a cat or a dog. One of the new owners has a nephew that's very allergic to pets, so aside from the dog-cat issue there's the allergy issue. I pointed out that the only hypo-allergenic cats were hairless cats. But hairless cats are not..fuzzy which is something we both agreed we would want in a pet. Also, they would keep one from ever having a third date. We laughed over that and then she went to go unpack things and I went upstairs to keep my friend who was stapling floorboards company.

Academic success is great I think part of why I'm so calm about failing Statistics is that I've had a decent amount of academic success. But success means nothing without people. I have good people around me which makes me more successful than I have been before even if Stats bites my ass and work is stressful.

No comments: