Diary of a Postgrad student – I got a B!

Image result for gif images bYay! I got a B for the final assignment I did last semester. So my first ever assignment I got a D and on my one at the end of the semester I got a B. So I learnt and I progressed. That’s all you can ask really isn’t it? And that’s the whole point of doing this Masters.

So now we’re fully into the second semester. This semester it was all about the statistics. Not just any old stats though. Nope, this is Advanced stats. That can be a bit of a technical hitch when you’ve never done basic stats. I’m self taught from analysing customer satisfaction data and agent data in callcentres. I also have a genius husband who can help with anything, and a capacity to learn new stuff. Despite this, last week I went to our stats class full of dread. I expected a repeat of my experiences at the start of the Masters where I felt out of my depth.

Turns out it wasn’t so bad. It sounded like a lot of effort would be made to ensure it was taught in an easy to understand and apply way. Just the way I like to learn.

I was a little concerned by the prospect of a 15 minute ‘quiz’ at the start of each lecture and then 1 hour ‘quiz’ at the end of the whole thing that counts to a chunk of our mark for the module, as I didn’t think we had exams on the Masters, but we were assured that people found them useful for consolidating knowledge.

Today we had the first lecture that was really focused on content.

Oh Boy! I was right to be concerned.

We started off having to go into Excel and produce 3 scatter charts that showed a positive, negative and null correlation. We hadn’t actually covered what correlation was at this point other than a high level idea. It required:

  1. Knowing how to create scatter graphs in Excel (luckily I did)
  2. Knowing the difference between positive, negative and null correlation. (I sort of did)
  3. Knowing how to make data up that could turn into an accurate scatter graph representation of the correlations (this was quite easy for me as I am very comfortable with getting data in the right format in Excel)

So part of my head was freaking out at the prospect of creating something before I’d been taught what it was. And the other part of me was reminding myself that this was advance stats so I really should already have a basic knowledge right?

I did learn that Excel has a Sparkly menu. I’m not sure if it’s Spark-Lines or Sparklines(s) but I prefer the latter. We all need a little sparkliness – especially in a Stats class.

I have to confess I was lost for most of the rest of the lecture. We went into SPSS which I’d never used and were talked through doing different things with different data sets. There was a lot to cover so not much chance to ask questions and go over stuff again. Even if there was, I’m not sure “Erm can you say that again totally differently because I haven’t a Scooby what you just said?” is appropriate to say in the middle of a lecture. Interestingly I am not despairing like I was when this happened at the start of the year. I think it was so far beyond my capability to understand that I stopped worrying about trying and figured I’d work it out after. After all, that’s worked out ok on the assignments hasn’t it? (Did I mention I got a B?!).

The best bit of the lecture was a little game we were given a link to at the end where you play “Guess the correlation”. It’s really good fun and really addictive. Me and my friend were too good at it though so we didn’t lose lives. We eventually had to give up and walk away. If you want a bit of fun you can play it here

Anyway, afterwards a group of us got together and went through everything we had learned in the common room. We used the big TV screens to pull up SPSS and recreate what we had done in class and play around with the data. So I think we all have a little better understanding – which is critical as next week I have another quiz that counts towards my mark. So I really need to understand this stuff! YouTube is my friend on this one!

Written by:

Hi, my name is Dawn Walton and I am a 44 year old therapist that lives in the Dundee area. I'm originally from Anglesey in North Wales, but I've lived here for 17 years. My first degree was in Computing at UMIST in Manchester. Now I'm studying a Masters in Psychological Research Methods with the aim of going on to do a Phd.

I love Starbucks and Pokemon Go. So they are likely to feature in my posts quite often!

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