Wednesday, June 11, 2003

no more metrics for me. the final is over. i'm not sure i did ok on it, and i'm fairly sure that at one point, at least, i was just making stuff up as i went along, creating new and not necessarily improved ways to test hypotheses, but you know what -- i'll survive. i'm prepared to take a hit. as H reminded me this morning, in the words of one Stuart Fox: 'You don't have to outrun the bear, just your friends.' [when asked what he would do if a starving bear were chasing him and his group of friends]

i know there will be people who want to shoot me for saying this, particularly the people who have spent the last ten weeks or even the last two weeks listening to me whine and complain about how i don't understand what's going on, but i really enjoyed taking metrics this quarter. i take great pleasure in stretching my brain, and metrics definitely did that for me: i always felt like i was on the edge of understanding something much more significant than the little piece that i was grasping, and when it did make sense on the larger, interconnected scale it made me feel like i've accomplished something, i've learned something, i am a different person for having taken this class and done this work. even when problem sets have reduced me to tears, to panic attacks, to walking the hallways in Mathews clutching my hair and asking myself why i am an econ major at the university of chicago --and my abject apologies to (a) everyone on the third floor and (b) everyone on the second-and-a-half floor for the spectacle i made of myself -- i think i've really enjoyed these ten weeks struggling with the math and the greek letters and the weird concepts. i can now say 'heteroscedasticity', 'multicollinarity' and 'autocorrelation' and have some idea of what they mean -- i know what they mean but i can't write down in math-speak what precisely they mean, you know? so i have more knowledge than i had at the beginning of the quarter, and more confidence that i can struggle through tough material and sort of make it my own. that's the greatest part of my education here. that's why i don't really like taking easy classes. although the high grade would come in useful to balance out my crappy crappy-ass metrics grade...

"I imagine it's like love, when you close your eyes and leave your body but at the same moment you feel more intensely physical than ever before. And as time rushes it also suspends itself, hanging in the air like something tangible but meaningless, no longer a shot fired from here to there, but a vapor dissipating slowly. Then come tremors from the outside in and the inside out that meet just below your skin and when you open your eyes nothing looks different but you are not the same and the mind has no way to wrap around what has happened so only the body understands and remembers."


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