Week 8 Blogging Question: Statistics

While I was in undergrad, I steered clear of statistics courses. Math was not my favourite subject in high school and anything that had to do with numbers in a learning (i.e., grading) environment made me anxious.

However, I have come to appreciate that statistics can be a helpful, convenient way of describing important aspects of the world. Without fully realizing it at the time, I’ve used statistics to help me make some major decisions. Perhaps the best example was my decision to stop pursuing a career in acting. Past the age of fourteen, every drama teacher, agent, and professional in the industry I spoke to described how difficult it was to achieve success. I vividly recall my first day at a drama school in New York. My On-Camera acting teacher listed the sobering percentage of actors living under the poverty line. It affected me – and my fellow drama school peers – much more than the usual “acting is really hard to get into” speech. Statistics made us comprehend fully, quickly, the challenges we were up against. A couple of years later, I decided to change career paths!

 

Camille Johnson

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Week 8 Blogging Question: Statistics

  1. Hi Camille,

    It’s Michael Alguire (Michael A) from the Sumus Miri blog.

    Although you didn’t mention your research proposal topic in this post, I thought this would be the best place to add a comment with some resources that might be useful for that project (it is the most recent post, after all).

    AllFacebook-The Unofficial Facebook Blog:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/02/us/foodstamps-table.html

    “Introducing The Zuckerburg Files” by Mark Zimmer (director of the Center for Information Policy Research):
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-zimmer/introducing-the-zuckerber_b_4166110.html

    “Go Where The Students Are: Facebook.” by: David M. Perry:
    http://chronicle.com/article/Go-Where-the-Students-Are-/138801/

  2. Hey Camille,

    Wow, that takes courage to completely change your career path like that, especially if you were already enrolled in school for it! This reminded me of the post I just wrote, as I was saying that in Burlington, library usage is up 45% in the last decade.

    Since coming to the iSchool, I’ve been bombarded with negativity relating to the fact that librarianship is perceived as a fading profession, and that it will be extremely difficult to get a job after school. Being a first year student in this program, this really got to me for the first few weeks, as ultimately I’d like to be a public librarian. However, when you look at the actual statistics of Canadian libraries, this doesn’t seem to be the case… Safe to say, these statistics have been extremely encouraging to me, as I was discouraged in the beginning.

    So in this case, statistics helped me gain the confidence back with regard to my profession, but I can understand that it would be extremely difficult to hear that in fact statistics do prove that it will be extremely hard to get a job (like yourself when you were involved in acting).

    HOWEVER, with that being said, aren’t we lucky that those statistics exist, as if you hadn’t heard them, you would still be pursuing a profession that could lead you to living under the poverty line.

    Overall, I think statistics can be extremely informative, in all aspects of life… Whether it’s writing a paper and finding evidence to support your claim, or choosing a career path like us.

    Victoria Grant

    • Hi Victoria,
      I completely understand where you’re coming from regarding negative thoughts about the future of the profession. I, too, experienced brief but frustrating moments when I entered the program last fall. Trust me, those sorts of comments don’t even register anymore! The more I’ve learned about the subject matter, the more confident I’ve become.

      I enjoyed reading your post – particularly the 45% increase in library usage stat. It is helpful to find positive, objective facts – not only do they make the job market appear less intimidating, but they also make us feel like we’re pursuing something (LIS graduate degree) worthwhile. In turn, this will increase our confidence when we are looking for jobs. I believe there is a connection between numbers (statistics) and feelings/emotions (confidence) which can be applied to many things in life, not only to library science education.

      Thanks,
      Camille

  3. Hey Camille,
    I know this is really stretching the post, but it’s fascinating that a few statistics can help someone gain confidence in something they were otherwise unsure about, which in the long run can produce positive results. Such as acquiring confidence which will help you land a job!
    Victoria Grant

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