Fairy Statsmother Or Statistical Gnome?

The elusive Statistical Gnome.

Holy crapshite, did that semester ever fly by. Seriously. As if it’s April. As if 12 weeks of coursework are essentially done1. As if I survived!

To be honest, there were moments this semester when I wasn’t sure I was going to come out the other end the sane person I was when I went in. Okay, this of course assumes I was sane to begin with, and it also assumes that if I had gone insane2 that I’d have the wherewithal to be able to identify it.

Hmm, perhaps I am insane and I just don’t know it.

Ah well, ignorance is bliss, right?

So, after a rather hectic semester, what have I been able to take away from the past 13 weeks3?

Quite a lot actually.

And as always, I have opted to present my list-o-learnings to you in, well, list form.


  • I somehow can function for weeks at a time with less than 5 hours of sleep a night4. This isn’t really anything new for me, but given that I am getting older, it’s nice to know that I can still keep up with the younglings from time to time. I just hope that the next time I need to prove that I can keep up with the younglings doesn’t happen any time soon.
  • Despite having 2 courses and 70′ish students to teach, I can still manage to somehow finish work on at least 4 different papers. Truth be told, I have no idea how this happened5. I’m going to assume I have some sort of Fairy Statsmother, or perhaps a Statistical Gnome watching over me.
  • When I’m this busy, running/yoga/some form of exercise is not an option. I have to stick to my schedule lest I go completely bonkers.
  • When I’m this busy, getting away for a weekend is mandatory. I clearly can’t do this every weekend – well, I could, I just opt not to – but I need to plan adventures. They too keep me non-bonkers. Thankfully, I have a friend named Rick who’s all about the adventuring.
  • Chocolate and coffee really do get me through some days. My stomach isn’t always happy about it, but what does my stomach know?
  • Sometimes a nap is absolutely necessary. And by absolutely necessary, I don’t mean that I get home and decide that I’ll curl up with the wee fuzzball for 20 or 30 minutes of zzzzz-time. I mean a necessary nap in the sense that I fall asleep at my desk. While listening to a student. Or, if that doesn’t suit you, I head-bob so hard that I smash my forehead onto my computer screen. Ya, I’m really that cool.
  • Being an examiner is far more stressful than I had imagined it would be. Apparently as an examiner I’m supposed to know stuff. Pfffft.
  • I love my job. I realize that I may be experiencing some sort of honeymoon phase, but I really do love what I do. Not all aspects of it, but overall – I’m a lucky S.O.B.

Fairy Godmothers love Statistics. True story.

Clearly, the past 13 weeks have taught me a lot. Some of the lessons were in the realm of the absurd, some were far more practical. Others – not listed here for the sake of brevity and in the interest of not boring my readers - were in the realm of mathematics and statistics.

Not too shabby for one semester.

Regardless of how fantastic this semester has turned out to be, I will be happy to see it come to and end. I need some sunshine to reboot my soul, some adventure to clear my mind, and some time to hammer out some more grant applications, some more papers, and ultimately some time to prepare myself for another busy semester.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I have to keep my eyes focused on the prize and realize that this marathon isn’t over yet. But at least the finish line is in sight.


1 The last day of class is Thursday!

2 And I can offer no evidence to suggest that I haven’t.

3 The thirteenth week brought to you by Reading Week.

4 In some cases, less than 4 hours a night. And yes, I do realize this is not good for me. Really, I do. I promise not to do this again until the next time I need to do this.

5 But I’m sure it has something to do with footnote number 4.


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