How I Made it Through My Statistics Class

surviving statistics

In college, the majority of my classes during my freshman year were fairly easy. Show up to class, do the readings and assignments, and pass the class. During the second semester of my freshman year, I was incredibly sick the first week of classes. We’re talking in and out of the emergency room kind of sick. I missed a lot of the really important first days where you learn more about the class and are taught the fundamentals to get you through the rest of the curriculum. 

For all 6 classes I was signed up for, I met directly with professors and TA’s, explained my situation, and was given all of the material and information I needed to succeed. This worked fantastic for 5 of the classes! I was off to a great start and felt successful in the material. However, the 6th class… My statistics class. This was not sufficient. The information students were given on bell curves and percentiles took an entire class of one hour and twenty minutes to cover. However, I was given the reader’s digest version in a quick 30 minute office hours time slot with my professor. 

I walked away from her office hours feeling like I understood. But then I sat down to do the first homework assignment and quickly realized I didn’t grasp the concept as well as I thought. The very next day I was in the TA’s office hours trying to understand what had just been taught to me. This was my very first interaction with statistics and it was going over my head. I felt so defeated because it wasn’t like my other classes where I just show up, do the work, and pass. I actually had to work for this grade! 

The first test came a few weeks later and I struggled through it, but passed. Barely. Soon after, I developed the habit I needed for the class. Attend class, follow my professor to her office for her designated office hours. Go over everything we just discussed in class, plus anything from previous classes that I still didn’t understand (typically it went back to the fundamentals that I missed during the first week.) I would go home and struggle through my homework, then visit the TA the next day during her office hours. If I still felt like I was struggling, I would email my professor or TA and they would meet with me again later in the week. 

This class felt like a part-time job, and rightfully so, I was spending the majority of my time and energy just trying to obtain a passing grade! Some weeks I would even go to the same statistics class but at a different time of the day/week to relearn the material again in a group setting. 

The last day of class while taking the final was a big day for me. I walked in nervous and not quite knowing what to expect. I had just worked really hard all semester to do well in this class, so it was a hit or miss on whether or not I would do well on the test. I did the math based on my current grades and would need to score at least a 75% on the test just to pass the class. So as long as I could do 75% of the material, I would be okay. 

Going through the questions of the test, my spirits rose as I continued to feel more and more confident in the answers I was giving! They didn’t feel overly complicated and suddenly everything started coming together for me. It was a sigh of relief as I handed my test to my professor. She gave me a big smile because she herself knew how hard I had worked all semester. Neither of us knew how I actually did at this point, but we both knew how hard it had been and how much time and effort I gave for this. 

Roughly an hour later I received my score back via email. With shaking hands, I opened it to reveal my score.

100%

Yes, you read that right. I scored ONE HUNDRED percent on my statistics final. I was teary-eyed reading it! I couldn’t believe it. I had to put so much work and effort into this class, so knowing that at the end of the semester I knew 100% of the information was incredible to me. 

I still walked away from this class with a B for a grade, and coming from all straight A’s up until this point, I felt like I should have been more disappointed. Instead, I was thrilled. I wore that B grade with pride because it signified hard work, dedication, and knowledge to me. 

It also taught me a good lesson that grades aren’t just a mark to show how well you did in the class or how much you participated. Because if that was the case, I would have walked away with an A++++ for how much time and effort I gave. Receiving a B as a grade truly was an indication of how well I understood the material throughout the entire class. It taught me that there absolutely is a reason to be excited about B’s, C’s, and even D’s for grades. Even though I ended the class with a B, I can only imagine that my professor was also beaming with pride from her office. 

Scholarship Interview: Alexis Brotherton

“This is part of a series of interviews with our scholarship recipients for our 2021 Build A Better Future scholarship sponsored by Honors Graduation. We hope you will find their stories as inspiring as we do! For information on our 2022 program, click here

Our next scholarship recipient is Alexis Brotherton. Alexis created an Agriculture Field Day for members of her community to promote agriculture awareness. This project started a few years ago for her, but because of COVID, it continued to be put off. She was finally able to carry through with her full project recently and it started off great! 

Alexis has been involved with 4H for a lot of her life, so she knows the ins and outs of ag very well. She created surveys sent to peers, teachers, and community members to gauge where the lack of information was, as well as the most needed topics to cover. Once she received this information back, she created the content for the ag field day. 

Alexis was able to pull off this event with a lot of community volunteers at each station that helped teach the information they were presenting as well as manage any hands-on activities at the event. When the community members showed up at the event they were greeted by Alexis herself at the check-in table where they were told about each of the stations and sent on their way from there to learn more. 

This event was Alexis’s trial run for bigger, future events. Currently, her focus is on starting college and succeeding in that area, but once she has more time, she wants to focus on more events, around 1-2 times a year and changing up the topics each time for repeat patrons. 

Alexis is doing great work and is doing a great job promoting ag education and bringing clarification on the subject to the residents of her community. She is attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for school. 

Spotlight on Omega Phi Alpha

spotlight on omega phi alpha

Omega Phi Alpha was founded in 1953 at Bowling Green State University. A handful of students at Zeta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity wanted to start a new organization for the purpose of assisting with projects on campus that they were working on. After a group of women stepped up and wanted to fill the role, a sorority was started with a similar, but different name. Omega Phi Alpha. Originally the sorority was only open to members of Girls Scouts or Camp Fire Girls. This has since been changed. 

Their core values are service, tradition, sisterhood, diversity & inclusion, and leadership. Each separate organization is centered around service in some way. They state on their website their purpose: 

“The purpose and goals of this sorority shall be to assemble its members in the fellowship of Omega Phi Alpha, to develop friendship, leadership and cooperation by promoting service to the university community, to the community at-large, to the members of the sorority, and to the nations of the world.”

omegaphialpha.org

They truly are a sorority founded on women that stepped up to help and will continue to leave a legacy of women willing to step up to help. They are a positive influence on college campuses everywhere!

You can see more about Omega Phi Alpha and the overview of the sorority here in this video:

A First Day Of School Guide For College Freshman

An open letter to college freshman tips and advice

Back to school, here we come! August is within sight and this means everyone is preparing to head back to school, whether that’s preschool, high school, or college. 

For me personally, my most nerve-wracking first day of school was my first day of college as a freshman- my very first day walking the sidewalks on campus and navigating the halls of the massive buildings. What if I couldn’t make it across campus in time for my next class? What if I got lost and was late everywhere I was going? I didn’t even think about lunch and I was going to be in class back to back all day! There are so many factors. Let me share with you a few things that I did, and a few that I wished I knew, to hopefully help ease your fears as well. 

Download a map of the campus. Back in 2013 when I started college, I actually held a physical map of campus in my hands, but I was also one of the last few on Earth that didn’t own a smartphone. Regardless, they still were not amazing quality, so I was not alone in holding a physical map of campus. 

Have the map downloaded to your phone so that when you need to leave the Business building and make it to the Biology building 10 minutes later, you’ll know the best route. You won’t need the map forever! But navigating a new campus (especially if it’s quite large!) can be incredibly helpful. It can also be a good idea to mark where your classes are if you have the ability to draw on the map. 

Think about lunchtime. In high school, lunchtime is carved out and the cafeteria is well stocked with food. In college, it’s up to you and only you. Look at your class schedule and decide if you can make a quick trip home for a bite, or if you need to look into options of packing a lunch, or finding a dining hall on campus. It’s hard to sit through classes and learn when you’re hungry! 

Wear good shoes. College campuses can be quite large and require a great amount of walking between buildings and classes. Keep this in mind when choosing shoes to wear. Save the fancy kicks for a night out and pull out the tennis shoes for classes. A jacket is also a great clothing item to pack. Some classrooms can be boiling hot, while others are freezing cold. There’s not always a lot of consistency. 

Snacks and water bottles. This could depend on the building and teacher protocols, but in the majority of classes, you can snack while you are in class. Keep a good stash in your backpack of good, healthy snacks. And bring a water bottle, especially for those longer classes. 

Don’t buy books right away. You can read more tips on college textbooks here. But it’s a good practice to wait until after the first day of class to purchase books. This gives you the chance to attend class first and determine the best route for purchasing your textbook, and knowing if you need it or not. 

Be prepared to take notes. In college, typically the first day of class isn’t a “get to know you” and take an easy day. What you can expect is the professor taking a few minutes to go over the syllabus, letting you know what to expect from the class, telling you about resources the T.A.’s might have, and then jumping straight into coursework. So come prepared to take notes and learn. 

The syllabus is incredibly important- save it. They are not something to just roll your eyes at and toss in recycling on your way out! They are your roadmap to this class. It should tell you the expectations, rules, and assignments for the semester. These important dates in the syllabus such as deadlines and tests are great information to put into your planner so you know when they are coming up and can prepare. 

College Study Tips

Hey college students, school is starting sooner than the majority of us are hoping. So that means we need to kick it into gear and start preparing for what’s to come. Which means- studying! And a lot of it! Here are my best study tips for you this back-to-school season. 

-Take breaks. Yes, right off the bat I think this is one of the most important points. It’s important to take breaks while studying in order to stay productive with your time. Too much time hitting the books and running through homework problems will cause you to become unproductive with your time. 

There are recommended times for studying/ taking breaks, such as 50 minutes of studying, 10-minute break, repeat. When I spend time studying, I try to be intuitive about it. I look for signs in my body that I need a break, take some time to eat, walk, etc., and then go back to studying. This is what helps me feel most productive. 

-Find study rooms. For those times when you need to buckle down and really go over the material before that big midterm coming up, look into a study room. Typically they can be found in your campus library. They can be more useful to have the ability to focus during studying than your college dorm can be. 

-Use colorful pens. Even if you’re not into adding the rainbow into your notes, just try grabbing a blue and black pen. Switching up ink colors can be so helpful to the mind when taking and reading notes. One reason is when only one color is used, the mind just focuses on the words and can tend to zone out. With multiple colors and even writing in different directions or in pictures, the mind has to work harder to interpret the information, internalizing it better. 

-Sticky notes can be your friend. Whether it’s to jot down information that you don’t permanently need in your book or notebook, or keep an important tab on a page, they can play a great role in studying! 

-Don’t underestimate the reading. It’s easy to brush off assigned readings because let’s be honest, academic reading is hard! But don’t underestimate them. They come with valuable information needed for tests and it can be a little easier with our tips for getting through academic readings.

-Enlist a study buddy. There’s a really good chance there is someone else in your class also studying for the same test. You can go so much further by working together with a study buddy to get through the information and learn from each other in the process. This is also a great reason to look into getting a study room, as noted above. 

-Look into study/tutoring groups. Sometimes in classes, the teacher’s assistant will offer study groups or review sessions outside of class to go over the material again. For me, it was extremely helpful to hear the material taught from two different perspectives. Although it’s the same information coming across, everyone has their own way of teaching it, and hearing it in different ways could bring you more success.  

What I Wish I Would Have Done Differently in College

Looking back on my college days, I feel like I made some great academic and social decisions, but I also made some mistakes that I learned from as I went along. Here are some of the things I wish I would have done differently during my college career.

I wish I would have asked for more help. Whether that be from professors, from my roommates, or even from my parents. There were things I needed help with that I was never confident enough to ask someone typically because I felt like I had to be my own, independent person now that I was in college. That’s not true! Ask for help. 

I wish I would have built deeper relationships with my professors, especially the ones further on in my major. I often was one to walk into class, do the assignments, take the notes, and then walk out on my way to my next class. I never stayed after to chat or have deeper conversations about the subject matter. Professors are not only there to help you, but they can also be incredible resources for networking. 

I wish I would have asked a lot of questions. Again, I wasn’t one for being actively involved in my classes. But I wish I would have been. I wish I would have actually asked those deeper questions that I was wondering about but never relaying to my teachers. 

I wish I would have taken the readings more seriously. Assigned readings just felt like a chore, but later on, in my major-specific classes, I realized too late that the readings were actually there to help me learn, understand deeper, and have information to take me into my career someday. Better yet, I wish I would have saved some of these readings to use later on. 

I wish I would have had more fun. I spent a lot of time studying and doing homework, and yes! That’s a very good thing! But every once in a while, I wish I would have put off an assignment for a day so I could be social as well. Because college is more than just getting a degree! It’s about who you meet and the experiences you’ve had. 

What do you wish you would have done differently in college? 

College Campus Resources- And Some Off Campus!

college campus resources on and off campus

Hey college students! Are you living below your means when it comes to being enrolled in college? Typically as a full-time and even part-time student, you are entitled to so many different campus resources that you may not be taking full advantage of. Here are a few typical perks you can find: 

Gym membership- whether it’s to the school’s rec center or a discount at a local gym membership. They are great deals when you’re in school and you don’t get this perk once you graduate, so use it while you can! 

Sports events- Typically the school will either admit students to sports events for free, or make it incredibly affordable to go. They know the students are the lifeblood of cheering the school on and want to encourage as much support for their teams as possible. 

Printing offices- Schools often have a specific printing office or printing stations throughout campus because they understand that the luxury of a printer is not in every student’s budget. So they try to keep them accessible and as cheap as possible. 

Study sessions and tutoring rooms- There is a good chance, especially in your general classes, that you can find a study session or tutor room for the subject you are struggling in. In the school I attended, they had a whole room specifically for math tutoring. It didn’t matter which class you were in, there were plenty of students majoring in math or similar studies that were readily available to help assist you with your homework or teach you a concept you were struggling with. And the best part, it was FREE! 

Tech help- Utilizing technology is just about the only way you can gain a college degree anymore, so colleges have stepped up and offered tech help to students that cannot figure out why their computer is glitching or randomly deleting every download. They understand that you need functioning technology, so they are here to help! 

The library- And oldie but a goodie. Every school has a library to some extent, which typically is equipped with computers, desks for studying, comfy chairs for reading, and of course, BOOKS for research. 

Discounts at restaurants- In a college town, you may be surprised how many local restaurants offer discounts to enrolled college students. They may not advertise it every time, so asking is the best policy! It never hurts to ask if they offer a discount to college students. 

Have you been taking advantage of these great perks of being a college student? What else would you add to this list?