Statistics – Anyone?

By Felicitas K. Claviolo

It was with much trepidation that I enrolled in my Basic Statistics subject two years ago. It was an undergraduate class and was a prerequisite in the postgraduate program  (Developmental Psychology) that I was interested in. I found the subject daunting because I had to learn the software SPSS, and all the terminologies associated with Statistics. Even if my undergraduate course was accounting (forty nine years ago!), with a 3-unit subject of Statistics, the terms and procedures being taught now were all alien to me. It did not help that majority of my classmates were much much younger and were either senior psychology students or former graduates of psychology.

The Author: Felicitas K. Claviolo

However, with determination, the presence of a brilliant and dynamic professor, and some tips from my technology savvy son and helpful classmates, I passed the subject with flying colors. Advanced Statistics 1 and Advanced Statistics 2, both graduate subjects, followed one after the other.  

Advanced Statistics 1 introduced us  to the different statistical concepts underlying the techniques. The knowledge was deepened by Advanced Statistics 2, where we were taught the application of these techniques. In one particular application, we were able to see the trends of preferences for the likely leader of our country. Not only that, the distances among the candidates could be visually presented. One can immediately see in a map which candidate is the most likely choice, who follows, and who are lagging behind. The location of the candidate in relation to the ideal candidate makes it easy to understand why he is preferred by the electorate or why he is at the tail end. More importantly, the candidates can be compared with each other, based on their traits. Candidates can utilize the findings to know the preferred traits, and thereby maximize or minimize their own particular traits to conform to the preference of the electorate.

Admittedly, studying is hard work. It requires patience and the perseverance to read and do the assignments, but that requirement is true for any student in order to succeed. Actual application contributes to effective learning. However, the exercise is rewarding, because statistics have a wide application. One of its applications is to present visually by way of a map the location of family members or friends in our life. The result may be surprising if not revealing. It can help in better understanding ourselves and our relationships. It can also be an aid in counseling.

I used to describe Statistics as the only boring subject in my course, where I fall asleep every time I had to read something on it. Now I must admit that statistics is interesting, practical and useful.

I believe learning is lifelong. One continues to learn throughout life. When one ceases to learn, stagnation sets in. I am one of the few senior citizens who went back to school and enrolled in graduate studies. I just needed to brush up on my computer know-how. Does age matter? No such thing. I either use my brain or lose it. I prefer to use it while I still have it.

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