I got my wedding dress today!
It was a pretty fun experience. My mom, Nate’s mom, and I all went down to the David’s Bridal in Calgary and spent my hour and a half appointment time looking at probably six dresses total. I had a tough time choosing between two of the dresses in the end, but I think I chose the right one. It’ll need some alterations (I’m short as hell; plus, they didn’t have my dress size in that style), but it’ll need fewer alterations than the other dress I would have chosen and seems more appropriate to wear for an outdoor summer wedding.
We (Nate, Nate’s brother Curtis, my mom, and I) also went and saw Captain America: Civil War. It was freaking great. Go see it if you’re into that stuff, but don’t go if you’re not caught up on your Marvel movies. You’ll be VERY confused. Just ask my mom.
My PhD application has been SUBMITTED!
Hopefully there won’t be any issues. I have a supervisor, my grades are good-ish, and I have a bit of a good reputation around the department for being a good TA. So hopefully things will go smoothly!
Dudes, check it:
“To determine the best and worst graduate degrees for jobs, Fortune consulted the careers site, PayScale. The site considered the full-range of graduate degrees, including Ph.D.s, master’s degrees, and law degrees.”
The ranking is based upon three factors: long-term outlook for job growth, median salaries at mid-career, and job satisfaction scores.
Guess what was ranked highest?
Median Salary: $131,700
Projected Growth in Jobs by 2022: 23.7%
Highly Satisfied: 71%
Low Stress: 67%
An MS in stats made the list, too!
Median Salary: ($109,700
Projected Growth in Jobs by 2022: 18.2%
Highly Satisfied: 80%
Low Stress: 51%
I know it’s just one ranking, but it’s pretty cool that the thing that I love doing has the potential to lead to jobs that are high-paying and satisfying.
You know that “possibly good news” I mentioned a little more than a week ago? Well, now it’s official, so I can blog about it. Nate bought a condo that’s ridiculously close to both his place of employment and campus, and we’ll be moving there at the end of June.
How cool is that? Even cooler is the fact that it’s not a basement and has actual windows and a balcony and no one above us. I’m super excited.
I might have some exciting news soon, depending on how things go!
Here are some bullet points that apply to my life right now:
- I live in Calgary
- I’ve been keeping a daily record of my life for the past 8.75 years
- I have a math degree
- I have someone wonderful to love (and who loves me back)
- I’m still in school
- I am in a graduate program for statistics
- I like teaching (statistics)
- I like walking for exercise/pleasure
Ten years ago, I was in the midst of my junior year of high school. If you had told me even one of these bullet points was going to apply to me in ten years, I would never have believed you. If you had told me all of them were going to apply to me at the same time, I probably would have just laughed at you. But here I am, ten years later, and they all apply.
Hell, if you would have told me any portion of these points even five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Life is weird.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND HOUSING IN CALGARY?
Seriously, I’m really, really starting to freak out about this. I might have to actually road trip up there to get an apartment in person, ‘cause this is ridiculous. Almost had to go to the hospital again ‘cause I was in full panic attack mode.
I’ve decided. Have a look at where I’ll be living in a few months.
I’mma go throw up from anxiety now.
So I’m trying to make this Calgary vs. Ottawa decision as objectively as possible, but I’m still having a lot of trouble with it. You might be thinking, “hey, you idiot, it’s not that hard of a decision.”
Well, it is for me, okay?
So let me look at the pros and cons for both choices and see if that helps me decide.
- University of Calgary is a research university and it’s ranked fairly high in Canada.
- I’m already in love with the city, even after just watching some walking tours on YouTube.
- I’d be about the same distance away from Moscow as I was in Vancouver, which was a pretty ideal distance.
- The move up there won’t be too expensive and will only take a day (or two).
- Mayor Nenshi!
- Monthly rent is approximately the same as in Vancouver (i.e., expensive).
- Since my original supervisor is leaving, I’m basically going to get stuck with someone who didn’t originally want me. That’s really stressful to me, especially given my last supervisor/student relationship and how horrible that whole thing was.
- I’m scared of the city flooding as badly as it did last summer.
- My supervisor who’s moving there seems like a really nice and genuine person and really wants me to work with him.
- I’d get more money there, especially if I decided to be a TA.
- Lower cost of living than Calgary.
- It’s the capital of Canada! How cool?
- Carleton University (where my supervisor’s headed) has a math department that does a lot of things jointly with the University of Ottawa, which means a more diverse offering of classes.
- I’d have to move all the freaking way across the continent again. Expensive and time-consuming and stressful.
- I’m not “feeling” the city of Ottawa the same way as Calgary.
- Carleton isn’t a research university. It’s actually the level below a true university, which is a bit concerning to me (it’s on the same level as Simon-Fraser University, which is a “comprehensive university” and not a research university).
- I already have my study permit for Calgary; I’d have to get that changed if I go to a different school. PLUS I’d have to get all sorts of new paperwork showing that Carleton “accepted” me.
- If I end up going for a PhD, one of the requirements that must be fulfilled is that I’d have to be fluent in another language enough so that I could read and comprehend a mathematical paper in said other language. While that’s a good skill to have, obviously, I am about as unilingual as a person can get and I don’t know if I even have the capacity to learn another language. Y’know, ‘cause I’m an idiot.
- I’m scared of Quebec.
THAT DIDN’T HELP AT ALL.
So guess where my crazy life adventures are taking me next?
I got accepted by the University of Calgary will be starting my Masters in statistics in September.
I am SUPER FREAKING EXCITED!
Here are some facts about Calgary/U of C:
- Population: 1,096,833 (third highest in Canada after Toronto and Montreal)
- Hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1988 (Jamaican bobsled team!)
- It’s one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with about 332 days of sun every year.
- U of C has about 25,000 undergraduates and 6,000 postgraduates
- U of C is ranked as one of the best universities in Canada (6th – 8th, depending on the ranking)
- The university library is the sixth largest library in the country.
- YOU CAN TAKE PROFESSIONAL SPEED SKATING LESSONS AT THE OLYMPIC OVAL ON CAMPUS I AM SO DOING THAT
I reiterate: I am SUPER FREAKING EXCITED!
I just wanted to apologize for my blog posts being really sucky as of late (and also for my uploading a slew of them like once a month). I don’t feel like going into the details right now (just because they’re long and involved), but I’m currently lacking any long-term plans past summer due to several factors…and that really stresses me out. Not having at least a two-year plan is really, really difficult for me, so I’ve pretty much been a little ball of anxiety for the past month and a half or so and thus haven’t been feeling particularly humorous/creative/fun/entertaining—hence the crap posts.
I’m trying to just fake it through No Plan Land right now, but it’s hard. Please bear with (or unsubscribe if you want, I won’t be offended or anything, haha).
Which means it’s time for decisions to be made.
So here are some:
- Grad school. It’s going to have to happen again. I am about 99.9999% sure I want to spend the rest of my life teaching stats or doing something stats-related. The best plan for getting a permanent (hopefully tenured) position at some point? Getting a PhD. So…yeah.
- Grad school in Canada. If I’m going, I’m going up there. Reasons include: I’m too much of a coward to re-take the GRE (my old scores are expired), the GRE is dumb anyway and Canada seems to know that, and I have a chance of getting accepted at UBC again and I pretty much constantly daydream about walking Vancouver.
- If I don’t get into grad school (likely), the plan is to stay here and keep teaching for another year (Dr. Williams told me that they’d likely have work for me), get a few more degrees (I’m pretty close to two others after the math one), actually STUDY for the GRE, take it, and apply to US schools.
- And if a really good job comes up in the meantime, I’m going for it. I JUST WANNA TEACH STAAAAAAAAATS.
I very soon need to make a decision as to what’s going on with my life next. I’d really love to continue teaching here, but since I’m turning 26 next February and have to make the big switch to my own insurance rather than hanging on my parents’, I need to get a job that allows me to do so.
So here’s what’s what:
Math degree is scheduled for completion in Spring 2014. What shall I do after that?
Well, I’m going to schedule a meeting with Dr. Williams soon and ask him if there’s any chance that my current position could turn into something full time (like…being in charge of intro stats perhaps?). If that’s possible, then I’ll just stay here and, in my free time (what’s left of it, at least), continue to take classes.
If not, I pretty much have to go back to grad school somewhere. Not around here—neither UI nor WSU offer a PhD in statistics (yes, seriously. WTF?). But there are a few schools I’m interested in.
So I’m either going to be here forever or I’m leaving YET AGAIN!
Hopefully I’ll know soon. I’m really not too keen on packing all my crap up again, but what’re you gonna do. Life’s weird.
Okay, sorry. Just wanted to give y’all an update as to what’s going on in Claudia Land academic-wise.
(Like it matters.)
Freaking crap, man.
This semester’s been a rollercoaster. And not a fun one.
I’ve hit this impenetrable wall of depression that I haven’t experienced since high school. Vancouver depression was really “pity me and my horrible life” self-induced sadness. This is like “even if I won a Nobel Prize I’d still want to crawl in a hole and die” sadness.
Anyway, for some more school-related blathering:
The UI math department offers a special MAT degree, which is a “Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics” degree. From what I gather, it’s a non-thesis MA track with an emphasis in (surprise!) teaching math.
So currently I have no idea where this math degree will get me other than flailing about even more stuff. But if it ends up going the way statistics went for me, I’ll likely want to teach it.
The MAT degree specifically states that it “only” prepares for teaching at some community colleges. I would be 100% okay with that (community colleges need teachers, too!). I can teach stats as I am, but I don’t think anyone would let me teach math with my current background, so I’d pretty much have to get some sort of advance degree to do so.
The only issue is this: right now I’m on the “statistics” track of the math degrees. I would guess I’d need to move to the “general” track to best prepare for graduate math insanity. That would mean like 5 more semesters rather than 2—which would be totally fine, I love school—but I don’t know about the money issue.
What would be real awesome is if I were to become a permanent lecturer in the stats department. I found out yesterday that I will be teaching in the summer and will most likely be teaching again in the fall (maybe two sections!), but I don’t know how long the demand for a supplemental lecturer will last.
So I guess I just need to stop blabbing about it and go inquire about the MAT. Couldn’t hurt, right?
It’s going to be very difficult for me to leave school again when it becomes time to do so. I know I’ve mentioned this on here before, but in “Ideal Claudia World of Ultimate Happiness”, I would somehow find a way to continue to go to school for the rest of my life. Also, in this world, I’d keep on working my current job, because HOLY CRAP I LOVE IT SO. This was actually the most fantastic semester ever because not only did I get to take a bunch of cool classes, but I also got to teach at the same time.
You know, now that I think about it, even though it’d be a total longshot and would probably never work, I should propose it to the President of the U of I. “I will complete every undergraduate degree you offer if I can keep working as a lecturer to pay for it.” I’ve always said I’ve wanted to do that and then write a book about the experience. That’d actually be pretty good publicity for the University, assuming it was actually a good book (longshot #2). And how cool would it be to study a University by completing every major it has to offer?
I don’t care how outlandish and stupid that idea sounds—it sounds cool to me. And I know I’d run into arguments that would go along the lines of, “well, if you’re actually serious about learning stuff, you don’t necessarily have to stay in school; you can learn things outside of the classroom blah blah blah blah blah.”
Yes, I’m aware of that. Two counters:
1) quite a few of the things offered at a Univeristy are things that, on my own, I probably wouldn’t have either the resources to learn or even just the ability to learn in an efficient manner. Take a foreign language, for example. I’m not too confident about my bilingual ability (assuming I would acquire some) and thus would probably do best in a classroom-type setting. Learning about something else in which I have no background would fall under this category, too.
2) I’m actually one of those people who learns best in a classroom-type setting. I suppose I’m lucky in a way; ever since I entered school I’ve been in an environment that naturally works for me when it comes to actually learning material.
A girl can dream, right?
Haha, sorry, this has been on my mind all semester.
So I met with my advisor today. After explaining that the reason I didn’t take half the classes I’d told him I’d take this semester was because I’ve got the best job EVER, he confirmed that my classes for next semester were good choices.
We also talked about what the heck I’m going to do for the next couple of years. While I’d like to get an actual factual math degree, we both agreed that the more practical (and equally awesome) plan should be for me to fill in my missing math knowledge (the calculus series, the two mathematical statistics classes) and then apply for a stats PhD somewhere. Unfortunately (fortunately? I don’t even know anymore), said PhD, if it were to occur, would not occur anywhere around here, ‘cause neither U of I nor WSU offers a PhD in statistics.
Of course, I’m going to try for the best programs in the country, which I might actually have a shot at considering my old (and TERRIBLE) GRE scores are going to be invalid by next October so I’ll have to retake that (after studying this time, of course).
BUT, I think I’ll have to be here two years, and in that time I think I can actually get a BS in math ANYWAY, so how cool? And I’m glad for the two years, anyway. I’m so sick of moving.
I’m excited. Time to look up schools!
BIG NEWS, READERS!
Actually, not really. Assuming all 11 of you subscribers read this regularly, maybe two of you will actually give a crap about this.
But whatever. It’s big news to me.
(this is a repeat for those of you on Facebook, so go ahead and skip if you want)
I’ve saved up a bunch of money working down here at PCC. I’ve decided to take that money and use it to go back to the University of Idaho for (at least) a year.
Why? Multiple reasons.
Reason one: the job market blows heavy metal balls chunks now. Sure, companies are hiring statisticians, but the positions open are all “Senior Statistician” or “Veteran Analyst” or “900-Year-Old Data Wizard”, meaning you need 10+ years of experience, a PhD, or both.
Reason two: I still feel like my math knowledge is insufficient for the level of statistics understanding that I’d like. I never took the actual factual calculus series (despite taking like twenty calc classes) and I feel like I really do need that plus the subsequent Mathematical Statistics course to really understand what the hell I’m doing. If I can crank out the calc classes and some other higher level math, I’d like to try to apply to a PhD program in stats.
Reason three: school is my hot sweet lover. We need each other.
Reason four: the “why don’t you just go to U of A/PCC?” defense. U of A is super expensive, and being a “transfer” student now (non-traditional, WOO!), I would have had to apply back in like January to have gotten any chance of getting in. And PCC is way cheap, but there aren’t that many classes at the level I’m at since it’s a community college and not a university. Plus, I have to go through a few extra steps to verify that my Canadian degree is in fact legit, and I’m lazy, so that’s a deterrent right there.
Itty bitty reason five: I miss having friends. Hopefully I’ll see you sillies up there as well as make some new friends in band. Yes, I’m taking band.
So WOO! I leave in a few weeks. Gotta pack and all that. Hoorah. So I guess this past year’s been my (super delayed) “gap year.”
Also, screw sleep.
Due to multiple reasons (some health-related, some family-related, some money-related), I have been without a solid plan for my near/intermediate future for approximately 7 months now. Being without said plan has been slowly destroying my will to live.
So I’m sick of it.
But now I’m conflicted over what to do. There aren’t any stats jobs in Tucson or in the surrounding area. In fact, around the country there are very few entry-level stats jobs. Even for freaking PhD students…everyone’s looking for statisticians with like 10+ years of experience (not exaggerating).
So here’s how I see it: I’m the type of person who either needs to be in a field where I can obsess over doing stuff I love (read: statistics), or I need to be acquiring more knowledge in some sort of full-time or at least mostly-full-time type of environment.
So if a job isn’t happening at the moment, what’s left?
I guess I was never really conflicted about that. I pretty much figured I’d return to school someday because that’s just the type of person I am. So what’s the conflict?
A) Stay down here and go to school at my place of employment, Pima Community College (it’s too late to register for the University of Arizona, I don’t have THAT much money, and I’m still technically an out-of-state resident so $$$$$$$$!),
B) Go back to the black hole that is Moscow and play out my dream schedule for fall (I’m already enrolled and set for tuition payments).
Pros for Option A
- Not having to move again
- Still in the same city as my mom, which is a big deal to both of us
- Cheap as hell; totally tuition-free if I keep working there
Cons for Option A
- Tucson is…blah.
- PCC doesn’t have a lot of *advanced* classes, which is where I am in a lot of stuff pertaining to my education (except calc…I’d like to review basic calc until it makes perfect sense in my head).
- If I were to transfer to UA, again, $$$$$$$$$!
- I’d probably have to keep my current job. It’s an okay job, but it’s not ideal.
Pros for Option B
- Dream schedule! Seriously. It’s awesome.
- My dad’s like “rent-free living in the basement if you take care of the house while I’m gone” (which would be for approximately 33% of the year, maybe a little more now). I also think he’s lonely.
- MY KITTY CAT IS THERE OMFG I MISS HER
- It’s the U of I, meaning that I know that damn school inside and out and can get exactly what I want out of it
Cons for Option B
- Moscow is…Moscow.
- I’d have to live with my dad. I shouldn’t put this as a con because he’s offering free rent (shut up, selfish brain, shut up!), but if you’ve ever lived with my dad, you’d totally understand this point.
- Moving. AGAIN.
- Being away from my mom. We’re close, shut up.
So yeah. I have no idea what I’ll do. Plus, if I go back, I’ll have to face all the “I thought you were in grad school?” questions, to which I’ll have to answer “I was, and I’m done, but…” And we all know how judgmental people are.
Hello for the 2,178th time! Wow, that’s a lot of blogs.
Due to reasons that are still up in the air in terms of whether or not they’ll actually be reasons, I might—might—be coming back to Moscow in the fall.
Yeah, yeah, I know, “make up your damn mind already.” I would if I could, man. This “up in the air” stuff isn’t good for a planning, goal-oriented, future-focused person like myself.
If I come back, I’d like to go back to school (while working, of course) if at all possible. So in order to be able to implement that plan should it become a feasible option in the future, I reapplied for admission and subsequently signed up for just a few credits in the fall.
Better safe than sorry, no?
And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy making a schedule that might actually happen.
Three things in decreasing order of importance:
2. I’m a tactile person. Whenever I go shopping (for clothes, food, miscellaneous fun stuff) I’m always feeling stuff. Like walking through the racks of clothes in Walmart, for example…I have to feel every article of clothing (gotta grope ‘em all!). I’ve actually just recently become aware of this compulsion.
3. I don’t know what to do this fall. In reality, I have no major commitments. My job is technically a temp job, even though I’m working fulltime and am basically a “regular” employee. I reapplied to the U of I so that I could have some form of school to fall back on, ‘cause it’s me and I can’t get enough book learnin’. At the same time, though, I have no obligations to go back. Hell, I could stay down here and take every class offered by Pima Community college; it’s like 80% cheaper than UI, they’ve got good math and writing/fiction classes and what appears to be a pretty comprehensive music program for a community college, and I already work there so I could just go from class-work-class-work-class-home-dinking time everyday and not worry about that. I just want to accrue knowledge!
END! Pointless blog.
CRAP I hate applying for funding. For the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, we basically have to write a proposal detailing our research focus for the next four years (PhD). The problem is, we’re not even supposed to pick an area of emphasis until this coming April. But it’s a good thing, I think. It’s forcing me to actually think about exactly what I want to do with my philosophy degree.
What I’m really interested in, thanks to my thesis work, are the philosophical ramifications of assessing model fit, particularly in structural equation modeling (‘cause it’s what I’m most familiar with now), but also in things like factor analysis and regression. What are the best methods to determine appropriate model fit? Should a fit index show better fit for a model with two factors when the factors are nearly orthogonal but the observable variables are all somewhat equally correlated, or should a fit index show better fit for a model with two factors that are more closely correlated but whose observable variables are more correlationally (is that a word?) separated between the two factors? What components of a model should weigh most heavily when determining model fit? Is there an “ideal” index in that sense?
It might sound weird or obscure or pedantic or whatever, but it’s interesting to me. And I think it’s very important that we start looking at the philosophical side of statistics now that we’ve got the software to run mega simulations and Monte Carlos and number orgies and sexy graphs and…
So I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m going to be moving halfway across the continent and am probably not returning in a long while. I’ll be in freaking Eastern Time, yo. I’ll be living surrounded by Great Lakes (and, well, Canadians, but that’s nothing new now). Scary stuff. At least for me.
Sorry, I’m in full freak-out mode and thus don’t have much to say. See you tomorrow!