The F Word

Dear Reader,

Is it better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all? I guess it would depend on how badly you failed.

I’m in graduate school at the moment and, boy, is it one long struggle bus. At times, it has been stressful (more here) and at other times almost completely impossible…did I forget to say something positive? Whoops…. Just kidding. I also enjoy the people, the program, and the fact that I can (during the pandemic) work from home, yadda yadda yadda. Anyway, graduate school is no walk in the park and my limits are continually being tested.

Last semester, I took a statistics course, which was challenging for me, but eventually I came to enjoy it (more here). Riding on a high of mis-placed enthusiasm, I decided to take two more quantitative classes this semester… which turned out to be a big, fat mistake (more here).

Advanced statistical analysis and programming is not for everyone and especially not for me. I tried to like the courses. I attempted to do the readings, but at the end of the day, I’m just not interested in running negative binomial regressions, accounting for multicollinearity, or centering data for standardized beta coefficients. I gave the concepts a fair shot, but try as I might, I just can’t make the information stick.

I have received more than one downright atrocious mark on my recent assignments. If my enthusiasm for statistical analysis were already waning, it was unceremoniously quashed after my remarkable un-talent for the subject was quantified with an un-F-lattering letter grade. Luckily, life does not require me to be a statistical wizard. I’m sure I can still live a long and happy life without knowing that one ought not perform a Poisson regression if the mean does not equal the variance. I can still have productive relationships and fulfilling hobbies without the knowledge of how to write out the quadratic formula in Latex notation. I can still be a full person without advanced statistics!

Even though the advanced quantitative analysis courses have sucked me dry of my interest for high-level statistical concepts, at least —if anything— I have no regrets! There are no niggling feelings making me question whether I should have pursued statistics… maybe gotten a certificate in the subject…. Nope! These thoughts have been snuffed out like a candle under water. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If at second you don’t succeed, re-consider. If at third you don’t succeed, you will have learned a valuable lesson. With this third statistical analysis class, I’m done —lesson learned! What an educational experience this has been.

For small failures or safe failures (like a single bad grade at school), these little stumbles can be wakeup calls or even a good indicator of where one’s interests lie (or do not lie).

Regardless, I wish you all success. And, if you must fail, I hope you will have at least learned something from the experience.



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