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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Stats class

I had to take a statistics class in college. I thought it would be fairly easy, because I had already taken a bunch of calculus courses. The teacher recommended a statistical calculator, but I didn't have one and I didn't think I would need one.The calculations involved were not hard, there were just a lot of little ones for one problem.


The class was during the short summer semester so it was a little accelerated. I was able to keep up for most of the time but I fell behind. At the end of the semester I did not have a passing grade. I only needed a few points.


Before attending this school, i was at the University of Utah. This school felt like a glorified high school and was rather shocked to see other students get extensions and extra credit for all kinds of stuff and with little effort.


Just this once, I tried to get extra credit or whatever but did not get any. In fact, I felt I was being looked down upon and was not worth the teacher’s time.


I had to take the class again the next semester. I'm purposely chose a different teacher but for some reason wound up with the same one. It was alright because I knew how he taught and my little brother, I found out later, always had a calculator that I could barrow. Not only was it a statistical calculator, but it was a programable one!


I spent a lot of time writing little programs that could symbolically show the steps it was talking to get the answer. It would look suspicious if I just magically wrote down answers on the tests - which I started to ace.


The teacher started to treat me like an esteemed colleague but I recalled his snub during the summer and did not reciprocate.


Towards the end of the semester I wonder if my tactics were being found out because I started to get questions like: If the p value was less than 1, what does that mean? I had no program for that!


Oh well, out of the teachers two classes that semester I got the second highest grade! Sadly, I did not learn anything about stats except that with the right population, you can pretty much prove anything.

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