Statistical Anomaly

By Bryan • grad school, life, personal, surp • 7 Feb 2009

I need to place a disclaimer at the top of this entry.  I rarely write about my ‘life’ and prefer to avoid the topic as much as possible within the walls of this website.  This isn’t to say that such entries are absent…if you scroll around in the archives I’m sure you’ll dig up some whiny and over-dramatized writing….

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Despite the best efforts of a former elementary school classmate who sent this very funny image too me…math and essentially most anything involving numbers remains (despite the protein) about as delicious as a bowl of minced cockroaches.

I’m currently engaged in a losing battle with a required statistics course.  The funny thing I find about number courses is the marketing strategies employed by their proponents.  If I had a dollar for each time I heard a number teacher state “you are going to need this in your future” I would be living in Whistler, hunkered within the walls of my massive custom built log house using a calculator to add up my piles of cash (+ interest) earned from unsuspecting number teachers.

I’ve decided that I only require such knowledge…for the next time someone says I need to take a number course.  That is what the statistics tell me!  In the 9 years after my first (and assumed to be ‘last’) statistics course I’ve come across such methodologies once…and it was handled quite nicely by my computer.

A secret fact about Bryan is that he was 9% away from not graduating high school.  Despite the fact that I didn’t seem to have any problem acquiring scholarships for my first year of university, 9% was the thin buffer that was standing between me and a life of wiping industrial wastes of the side of oil rigs in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a pharmaceutical test subject or a male dancer.

I failed the minimum BC math requirement once and passed (via correspondence –  a ‘watered-down’ version of that number course) with 59%.

My ability with numbers has plagued me my whole life.

I had to meet another math requirement for my undergrad geography degree.  Having two years of university under my belt and a more mature and dedicated outlook I ran into that course full on with optimism and a ‘can-do’ attitude.  I was in the math help office every second day that semester.

I’ve never been shot down so hard in my life.  Final mark, 52%.

I am well aware that many people are not number-inclined, but my performance with numbers is dismally far out in left field relative to my other abilities.  If I were a statistic, my position is so incredibly skewed I would be dropped from the study.

I don’t know why I can’t seem to perform with numbers. It is very bizarre.

I’m not about to sink low and blame instructors…but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a good one who didn’t hold that mathematical arrogance that most seem to carry around in a bag.  There have been some instructors I’ve had who I swear want to shove calculators down the throats of their ‘dumb’ students.  “What do you mean you don’t get it????”  “What are you, stupid or something?”*

*that could probably also be a planner at a town meeting*

Genetics?  Nope – my Dad’s a whiz with numbers. Maybe I’m a mutation.

I think it is confidence.  Each time I open up my stats textbook I am reminded of my 17 past years of schooling and complete failure with anything involving numbers.

Best I can do is open it up and try not to think about all of the useful things I could be learning as a planner.

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7 Responses

  1. Allison

    I’m also currently enrolled in a stats course and it is awful. You are definitely not a mutation. Unless we both are.

  2. But math is fun! :-P

    Seriously, I also had my share of difficulties too. But think of it this way- with numbers, once you get the logic, you don’t need to memorize anything. :-D (And I really don’t like memorizing anything~)

    Go Bryan! :-)

  3. What’s your favorite confidence test, Allison? I hear the Lipton Company is really big on t-tests.

    Unfortunately, I am a very illogical person :-(

  4. Allison

    T-tests are Psychology’s favorites.

    I’m trying to understand power. Have you done that yet? It seems like something you would like… heh heh.

  5. Woah, *looking at Bryan’s reply to Allison’s comment*, you have a “favorite” confidence test?

  6. I’m not confident in my ability to choose a favorite confidence test.

    I know nothing about power…I still use my fingers to multiply.

  7. Sue Crosby

    Just so you know………I think maybe it is genetic. I scraped by Math 12 with 52%. How I got into UBC I’ll never know (in Sciences noless).

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