The Importance of Statistics

The following is a story about how I ended up claiming a skill that seemed elusive for decades:

In school, I generally excelled in most subjects. Math, however, was an exception. Although I was good at Biology and Chemistry, the difficulties I experienced with Math and Physics prompted me to favor Humanities (i.e., Literature, Languages, History, and Art).

After all, if I was to pursue a career as a language services provider, that seemed to be the best choice!

While I never found Arithmetic and Geometry particularly hard, Math became more challenging as I approached high school. For instance, it took me two years to fully understand equations because I was memorizing and not applying logic.

Algebra became the main discipline taught in Math class in 9th and 10th grade — and I almost failed to advance to the next year twice because of that.

Both years saw me taking an exam comprising the entire syllabus right before the summer vacation. That happened to those who failed one or more terms, and we all dreaded that exam because of its low pass rate.

Failing to pass that comprehensive exam in June meant spending the summer studying for a last-chance exam right before school resumed in September. Otherwise, one would have to repeat the entire grade.

Although I struggled, I eventually passed the two exams in June. Later, in 11th grade, I took Math one last time, and I was able to choose Statistics and Probability. For the first time, I passed Math with a B. Still, because of my previous experience, I would keep affirming I sucked at numbers over the next years.

I thought I would never study Math again. I had chosen to focus on communication and languages. And I went to college and graduated with a licentiate (= master’s degree) in Translation and Interpretation.

However, years later, I saw myself going back to numbers and science. Specializing in medicine meant having to revisit Math, specifically Statistics. And my experience in college in America with this subject turned out to be very different from my high school years in Spain.

Not only did I pass Statistics with a 98.06% score, but what I learned would help me tremendously in my career as a medical communicator:

Statistics is a must for any medical writer or medical translator because it provides the necessary tools to understand evidence-based research and, therefore, produce accurate reports.

So, what changed between the years 2000 and 2020?

I changed because I stopped listening to that voice telling me I could not conquer Math. I challenged myself and worked hard to understand how Statistics works. And that hard work earned me one of the top grades in the fall 2020 term at Salt Lake Community College. I even scored a 100% on the final exam — my first ever in a Math subject!

In the past, I used to state numbers were not my forte. Today, I am proud to say that statistics is one of my top skills.

Some skills may not be evident because your background may be different. That is why I want to ask my readers the following:

Do you have a “secret” skill? If so, which one(s)?


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