Oh, Statistics… what have you done?

I just caught myself checking the distribution of scores and number of reviews given to a book in Goodreads to determine whether I could rely on the average rating as a useful indicator of central tendency.

A year ago I would have looked at the red stars and read the blurb.

University will be the end of me.


Something to look forward to

In my short experience, life is all about anticipation.

Dread before impending doom is usually worse than “doom” itself. In fact, emotional build-up to most anticipated moments is stronger than feelings on the day (anyone who has been in a race knows this). Luckily, this also means that happiness can stretch for weeks before a point in time we look forward to!

Remember this as a strategy for life – and plan accordingly. Nice as it is to be pleasantly surprised by unexpected events, scattering nuggets of happiness into your calendar can make days much more enjoyable. Anything from booking tickets to a play to simply planning on watching TV in the evening can help break up your time into more fulfilling, pleasant and productive modules.

I have been called a control freak in the past, but this has nothing to do with my planning obsession. It is simply a way of dealing with routine by exploiting that quirk of the human brain that allows us to savour emotions from the future so realistically.

So, what are you looking forward to?

The cameelious hump

Have you ever felt so sick of being unproductive that you wanted to curl up and implode? Of course you have. I call them “amoeba” moments, because at those times I wish I was an amoeba – but that might just be me.

There are a number of ways in which you may find yourself at this unpleasant state. Waking up to a blank day (that is, one for which you have no plans) or failing to carry out scheduled tasks in the wake of procrastination can both induce such horrid despair. Spending too long indoors has a similar effect. And, of course, prolonged spans of unsuccessful study are known to drain every student’s soul.

The causes may vary, but the symptoms do not. Universal, and impossible to miss: the grouchy, grumpy outward disposition coupled to that internal sense of distress and desperation. Know what I’m talking about? Enter the hump. The cameelious hump. The hump that is black and blue. All across the globe, people are growing and, with varying degrees of success, shedding, humps daily. Rather than attempt to explain, I shall relay the words of Rudyard Kipling, author of this uncannily insightful allegory:

The Camel’s hump is an ugly lump 
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get 
From having too little to do. Continue reading “The cameelious hump”