27 September 2015

Statistics

Caity and I have sadly moved away from the nation's capital. We loved our time in DC and very well may return in the future, but for now we are settled in central Virginia. Charlottesville, to be exact, the home Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia. Since we're so close to UVA, I decided, What the heck, I might as well just apply for a Master's Degree!? So I did, and I was accepted, and now I'm studying statistics. It sure beats commuting back to DC to continue working! It's with a heavy heart that I left teaching 7th grade math at Gunston Middle School. It was a great ride, but now it's over (although Gunston still creeps up in my dreams from time to time).
My first six weeks studying Statistics have been... mathy. Very mathy. Lots of math has been happening all over the place, like a 2-year old trying to eat mashed maths. Who know statistics had so much math? Also, it's been tough. Turns out graduate school is a little more challenging than I originally thought. The first two weeks I felt like I was in a Russian III class because I couldn't really understand anything that was happening. Now, luckily, I've gotten used to much of the vocabulary and my background knowledge is starting to contribute. Also, I've learned that graduate school is pretty much hard for everyone. Nearly every classmate I speak with feels just as confused about the same things as me.
I think I like it. I'm not totally sure about that, but I think I do. I like the lifestyle of being a student, that much I know. Being able to study when I want, where I want, for as long as I want- now that is nice. Having only a few commitments each day and then having the rest up to myself, that is wonderful. As far as the content goes, some of my classes are interesting, and some not so much. I'm taking a computing class on SAS and R, and I find that fascinating. It's very applicable, and very informative. I'm also taking a class on Linear Regression, and shesh, I never knew there was so much to learn about a simple formula (Y = mx + b). The entire class is based on that one formula. I will really know it inside and out by the time Christmas rolls around. Then I'm taking a class on the theory of probability. It's difficult, and involves a lot of math proofs, but all in all I find it interesting. It goes over the very foundations and basic principles of probability, which is neat to learn about. My fourth and final class is on multivariate statistics. It's basically a class all about matrices. If you've ever taken linear algebra, it's pretty much an extension of that. So far it's not too exciting, but the professor says the first half of the course is usually less enjoyable for the students, and then when they get to apply the principles to real life scenarios in the second half they like it much more. I hope he's right.
I was hoping that this program would help me decide what I want to do with my life. (I mean, I'm almost 30...) Unfortunately it has not so far. But, I'm only six weeks into a 2 year program. I believe things will become more clearer as time goes on.
Caity got a job as a technician at an opthomolgy office here in Charlottesville, and has been impressing the opthomologist since day 1. She is really good at supporting me through school too. She's just the best. We like our new life here, and you should come visit. The Blue Mountains are at our doorstep and Thomas Jefferson beckons!

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