Why I Went Full Stats Stud

In honor of World Statistics Day 2015 I felt motivated to write about my own experience with Statistics and my decision to switch career paths from Ecology(ish) to Statistics for my PhD program. One could argue that my current position as a statistician is a result of an intense desire to avoid any more Chemistry courses as an undergraduate student in Biology. My Chem 2 experience was the roughest of my educational experience (the last year notwithstanding) and when I crawled out on the other end I vowed never again. Since a minor in Chemistry was out, I decided to go the Mathematics minor route instead. Why not? I took AP Calculus. I was “good at math”. My second grade teacher told me so. Let’s do this.

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Meridith and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Qualifying Exam

I’ve made my way all the way to the end of my 20th year of schooling without much in the way of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Sure, the post secondary life is peppered with exams (SAT, ACT, GRE), finals, applications processes, and so on, but while all of these have caused me stress in the past, none even compare to my qualifying exams of my PhD program. This past May, after a year of courses and months of studying, I tackled three days of intense examinations which included a day of two 3-hour Stats Theory exams and nearly 48 hours of a take home applied project. I went in with months of studying, waves of support from friends and family (thanks!) , 6 pages front and back of notes to use, and even a belly full of sushi. I come out… completely and utterly defeated.


Failed like I failed to keep it together during
this episode of Dr. Who.

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Plans for the Afterward

I’m studying for my qualifying exams right now, and I think I’m firmly in the “What if I FAIL?” phase.  I really don’t think I’ll fail.  But, WHAT IF?!!  In either case, I’ll know in about two weeks.  In the afterglow of my success or in the I-don’t-give-a-crap phase before deciding on my new career path, I plan to have two days of full on relaxation.  Hint, if you come to this blog to hear about actual science things, then now is the time to bow out of this post.  Otherwise, here are the things I plan to do when I can close my eyes and not visualize the carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Watch a lot of TV. Specifically, I’m hoping to catch up on Dr. Who and binge watch this potentially obnoxious anime about a high school swim team.  Don’t ask me why, it just seems like the right thing to do.

I have 55 new blog posts in my Blogger cue.  I will read all the blogs. In my PJs, with a latte, and my cat.

Listen to this song on repeat!  Alternatively, this one.

I’m going to clean my whole apartment.  Top to bottom, vacuum, dust, all the laundry, the works.  At the risk of exposing myself for the slob that I am, I’m out of clean forks.  That is all.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.

Right afterward, I will probably do a string of unhealthy things, like eating obscene quantities of Thai food.  After that, I plan to eat all the vegetables and things that you have to mince and chop and steam, because, really, I do not have time for that nonsense right now. 

I mentioned sleeping?  Yes, that.

There are other things on my mind (hiking, swimming, curating an amazing Facebook photo album, etc.), but I don’t want to overbook myself.