So, this has been a pretty inspiring week for me. One, my philosophy course is officially complete as of 11:59PM today. Two, I have finally hopped onto my research project, but I quickly realized that the data conversion portion would be more than just copying, pasting, translating, and interpreting. Three, after four hours of YouTube, online forums, and Microsoft tech support questions (or support groups...), I overcome said challenge.
I submitted my final exam for philosophy, and I have never been more excited to finish a class. Maybe the class would have been more enjoyable if there had not been a handful of things due every day. In other words, a month-long course...is just not for me. That being said, it is over. That is all that matters. Now, I patiently wait for my final average, and I cross my fingers, pray a little harder for an A...or at least keep it (Yes, I did manage to pull my grade up to a 90 upon going into the final).
For the past few weeks, I have been itching to dive back into my research project to complete the data portion and make room for LSAT/GRE/application considerations this Fall. This week, after pushing through the excuses, I finally started Monday. First of all, before you read my explanation, you must know my research topic and the data I am using for it. My research project is on congressional member ambiguity based on the president's popularity. For said research, I am using data that has been created, managed, and constantly updated by a group of American political science professors (My kind of people!). This data contains the names, chambers, dates, numbers of Congress, legislation, votes, and voting predictions. There are thousands of rows (like +60,000 rows on some spreadsheets that are just designated for one specific Congress). I am looking at 20 years of this data so the 104th to 114th Congress. Honestly, there are not enough trees to print the data that I need. Therefore, I am copying and pasting 75% of the data onto a new file, but I am working with a specific variable and coding the voting prediction variable into another value. When all is said and done, I will load my data file into a statistical program and watch the magic happen...if there is tangible magic to be found.
So, imagine that there is a single variable that I am studying, in the midst of copying and pasting other data that is semi-relevant to my larger project (except for the president's popularity). These are not just any predictions. These are predictions in the form of probabilities that I round off and convert into another number based on its distance from 50 (the absolute point of ambiguity). Kind of complicated and complex, right? Well, consider the bicameral Congress and the 10 Congresses that span 20 years. Say it with me: D-A-T-A. D-A-T-A. D-A-T-A. DATA! Initially, I was rounding and converting this variable in Excel manually (which, after a while, made my eyes throb), and I panicked because I wanted this to be a quick process. Not weeks and months long. I am not a master at Excel, but I thought there had to be a better way. Last night, I learned that there was a way to round off through Excel, and I managed to research and find a function in Excel that coded my data for me. I could not stop smiling for ten minutes after I finally had that breakthrough. This day could not have been any more perfect. Seriously.
So, next week, I begin round two of summer classes. Three, this time. Bring on the pressure though because I have found a method in Excel to subside my worst anxieties. I feel ready for anything at this point. I am really excited to start grocery shopping and cooking for myself again. I swear, it is mental therapy for me. Do not get me wrong, though. I am sure that after a week I will be back home for actual food...but still...still...therapy. Happy Father's Day to all the cool dads out there and have a swell weekend!