SPSS, that is.
SPSS is a computer software tool used for statistical analysis; I had to use this the past two years for my introduction to research methods course (yes, I flunked it twice).
The instructor basically threw it our way with little to no instruction, and made us figure out what the heck it was supposed to do all on our own. I have to make note that the instructor is a big jerk off anyways – he never returned calls or emails, never available for help, and neither was the student assistant he had.
Last year I decided to show the instructor and university that I was working hard and wanted to make better the mistake of failing – I found a tutor for this course, and she helped me figure out the statistic side. I even had study groups with my fellow peers (and we even got the same answers/responses, but he still failed a handful of us), and I felt that it helped and I really understood the course (minus the software).
He would return assignments with a poor mark, with no explanation as to what was wrong. We had to find it for ourselves, and if we couldn’t… to bad for us. It’s our fault.
I was kicked out of school for a year because I failed this course a second time, and brought the number of failed grades to four (two was from another institution before I transferred to this one over the course of five years). I wrote a letter to appeal the grade and even provided “evidence” that he was indeed not a very helpful instructor, and a letter from my tutor.
They denied the appeal, and to boot they didn’t even explain why. I go back in May to discuss my situation with a student academic advisor.
Flashforward to my new job – guess what software I will be using… DING DING DING! SPSS! I told my supervisor that I’m rusty and the last time I used it, I ended up curled up in a ball on the floor bawling my eyes out. He burst out laughing and said he understood. If I needed help, I could ask him or my fellow coworker (who uses it every day) and they wouldn’t mind.
So today I finished my work by noon, and had nothing to do. I began to shred paper, but then the shredder overheated and I had to stop.
I decided to be proactive and study this mind-boggling SPSS. I pulled out the user guide (which we didn’t even get – it was more of a troubleshoot more than anything, and his notes were confusing as heck) and read a few pages.
I had a V-8 moment. *smack*
If I just had this user guide (apparently it only comes with the full version and not a trial, which expires in a year… thanks!), I would have been able to fully understand it and probably wouldn’t have received an F on the final assignment.
I sat there for a good half hour and created variables, entered codes, and played with the types of analysis that this program can produce.
Why did it take me until now to figure it out? Why couldn’t I have figured it out when I needed it the most?
I wonder if he failed me because I failed the last assignment; then again I will never know because his communication was, for better words, piss poor.