Stats 21: Glen’s Experience

It’s finals week, and people are freaking out over Stats 21. It’s the same every summer. People go in with some reservations and come out like they aged a hundred years.

Yes, it’s totally understandable. The final isn’t that easy. But just think, you’ll be done with the class as soon as you finish the final, and life will be good again.

Think of the bigger picture – what’s the worst that could happen? Whatever it is, you’ll be fine. You’ll graduate from college, find a job, and never have to worry about being hungry like 925 million other people in the world. Things don’t seem so bad when you put them into perspective, right? Now chill. You’ll be fine.

But you didn’t click on this post to hear me talk about seeing the world in a broader perspective. Let me share my Stats 21 experience with you guys, because I feel your pain, and want you to know that I understand all too well.

I took Stats 21 the fall semester of freshman year with Purves. It was the most challenging class I’ve ever taken. Notice that I said challenging and not hard. Because the material wasn’t too hard to grasp, it was just the combination of useless lectures, ultra-hard tests, unhelpful discussion sections, and a crazy curve that did me in.

I’ve never studied harder, taken supplemental classes, and spent more time in the library for any other class. I did everything possible, yet I felt I was still hanging on by the thread. I still remember walking back home at 2 AM in the rain after spending hours in Main Stacks. It was discouraging, excruciating, and physically and mentally tiring.

Around finals week, I remember spending hours at a time just on stats, trying to understand seemingly simple concepts that the professor and GSI failed to convey, practicing problems over and over, reading each chapter word for word.

Despite all the prep, the final exam was one of the hardest exams I’ve ever taken. I’ve never felt that worried about a test before, and I know I was hardly the only one who felt that way.

After that final, I was pretty sure I was going to fail the class. Amazingly, I ended up with a B+, my first ever (keep in mind this was my first semester of college). I have never felt happier with a grade than my final grade for Stats 21.  Everything that I went through and all the suffering finally paid off, and I was relieved and drained beyond words.

That’s my personal experience. I know that not everyone had such a tough time with stats – there would be people (Stats majors and/or geniuses) who never came to lecture and scored a perfect every time. Math was never my forte, but I stuck with it through the thick and thin. And here I am today.

You guys will be fine. Make an honest effort, try your best, and don’t panic. You can do it. And in your darkest hour, just think of this post, and know that I (and a whole bunch of pre-business students) went through the same thing. You’ll be okay.

Probabilities and stuff at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.

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