Imagine a world without the letter “R.” Pretty hard, right? (That last phrase, omitting the letter “R,” would read as such: “Petty had, ight?”) It’s pretty obvious letter “R” is a vital letter in the English alphabet. And, as someone whose first and last names depend on “R” for that amazing connecting sound, I’m currently learning how important another version of “R” is.
This semester, I’m taking an independent study course in R Statistics and Bioconductor software with Dr. Newton of the Fontbonne Math Department. This is my third course with Dr. N, and she is great. In fall 2012 when I took her advanced statistics course, we used a program called MiniTab in order to do our statistical work. MiniTab is an awesome program with a ton of great applications – don’t get me wrong – but one setback is that it is very expensive. R, on the other hand, is a free open-access program. Though extremely finicky at times, R can do a lot of the same things that other statistical programs like MiniTab and Excel can do.
Since the beginning of the semester, I’ve been attempting to understand how R works. It hasn’t been an easy process; at first, it took me over forty-five minutes just to input my simple two-column data table into R. And I’m still having a difficult time with saving my work – one time, we had a power outage, so I literally lost over six hours’ worth of calculations and data interpretation.
All in all, I’m happy to be taking this course, even though it is an elective that I don’t actually need in order to graduate. Working with Dr. Newton is great, and revisiting important statistical concepts proves to be a good experience. So though I’ve been saying “ARGH!” a lot while working with R, I’m happy to be taking this course.
My favorite class this semester is my Edu201 class. There is a lot to this class, and I am really getting a lot out of it. We meet for 2 hours and 45 minutes on Tuesdays and beginning next week, the last hour of the class will be spent mentoring a few of the middle school students. I am really excited to begin working one-on-one with some of the kids. I hope to be able to work with at least one of the 7th graders that I work with when I observe. My favorite part of this course is that I am required to observe in the Brentwood Middle School for a minimum of 30 hours this semester. Since I am a math major I am paired up with the 7th grade math teacher and I am loving it.
I go on Fridays and am there for 3 hours so I am there for 2 full classes, and I’ve really gotten to know some of the students in those 2 classes. It’s so much fun to be able to help them, and see them figure out problems on their own. This class is certainly confirming the fact that I want to be a teacher and that I am on the right track here at Fontbonne!
Fontbonne’s Education department is terrific and everyone is so helpful!
You might notice that this text of this blog post is in pink, and of the font “Verdana.” Very observant, you are. I’ve been experimenting with HTML ever since we made a practice web page in my Server Technology class, and I had to go big for my final post of the semester.
Anyway, I’ve mapped out my schedule for next year, and it’s looking like it’ll be a tough one. (Hey, I’ve switched to Comic Sans MS! Did you catch that?) I’ve got Linear Algebra, Advanced Statistics, Software Engineering, and Artificial Intelligence lined up, and then I’m taking Newspaper Workshop and Graphic Design, as well.
What’s crazy is that Linear Algebra follows Advanced Stats, so I’ll have four straight hours of difficult math all together twice a week.
Such is life, I guess.
(…You may have missed it, and I’ll forgive you the first time, but you just had the privilege of seeing my new catchphrase in action.)
Fortunately, I’ve got a couple of months of SUMMER to gear up for a grueling fall semester!!! (…provided I make it to summer after surviving the last 2 weeks of school here…)