Statistics is not boring

Sometimes I think to myself that there is nothing more that can surprise me at my university. However, each semester I am wrong and there is always something that amazes me. What surprised me this semester? I enjoy statistics!

Until now, I successfully avoided statistics class in a hope that it would miraculously disappear from the “compulsory” column in my concentration sheet. It did not and I am glad. I heard from my classmates that this course is very challenging and with this encouragement, together with a thought that me and math are not the best match, I signed into this course for the past spring semester. Thanks to a great professor who's one of the first sentences was “Forget everything you heard about this course, if you will try your best and follow my instructions, you can do it.”, I managed to filter all the reviews I heard and tried to focus only on what we were learning in the class. (By the way, this is a great example of how, as a teacher, you can support students' growth mindset.) Next semester, I will have Statistics II and the professor himself said it is a very hard subject.  I do not know if I should not rather forget about it.

The second subject that is worth mentioning is cognition. Usually, our task for each subject is to write a research paper on the topic we choose. For cognition, I chose: “How can bilingualism affect inner speech and emotions”. Given that I speak at least two languages every day, and the number of bilinguals is increasing today, this topic seemed practical and I wanted to learn more about it. I did research in the form of a questionnaire. The main finding was that due to the internalization of multiple languages, the acquired language can be used selectively as a distancing function from anxiety topics. We can also use learned languages subconsciously in internal speech due to the divided dominance of the languages ​​in which we are fluent. A bilingual individual is also able to recognize the emotional weight of phrases in different languages. For example, the phrase "I love you" is usually most significant in the native one. The professor liked my work so much that he recommended me to  present my research at a conference, which was unfortunately postponed due to a pandemic.

Even though our university tried to teach presently as long as possible, due to the pandemic that hit us in recent months, we had to lock the doors and move teaching to the online environment. Lots of students were happy but I was not. I simply like to go to classes as it usually saves me a lot of time that I would spend studying at home. However, my university managed online teaching and the whole situation perfectly. Students were always informed about all announcements from the Czech Ministry of Education and updates about the traveling restrictions for foreign students. Many students from my university who are from abroad did not even get home. Compared to them, I had it easy. I returned the books to the library and drove home. The rest of the semester took place through the ZOOM platform, thanks to which we had the chance to see our professors' pets or to hear their children in the background, who required attention regardless of whether mom or dad was giving a lecture. Nevertheless, both professors and students did their best to keep the teaching as interactive as possible, which is one of the most specific things about my university. Therefore, even the ZOOM classrooms were full of discussions and questions from students and professors.

Based on the past semester, I concluded that the best exam would be in sweatpants, but in person. Why? After all, it is a very different experience to get ready for the exam that takes place at home through the computer than in person at the university. In the morning you can make a bun on your head, make tea, and last-minute revisions take place from a comfortable chair. In short, it is a much more calm atmosphere. Whereas, under normal circumstances, you have to change sweatpants for uncomfortable pants and the last rescue takes place in a rumbling tram. Nevertheless, personal exams have several advantages. In the school environment, I can focus better not only on the preparations but also on the exams themselves. Also, the feeling of leaving school after the exam is much better than shutting down a computer. Last but not least, you can learn together with your classmates and help each other. Students and professors are helpful and willing to offer a helping hand at any time, which I very much appreciate.

During the quarantine, I devoted most of my time to school, which was reflected in my good results. I don't have big plans for the holidays, but I will definitely take a few trips, relax, educate myself, and enjoy the sun.




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