After last week’s wonderful get together, one with Anne and another with a Moroccan friend on Saturday, the rest of the week was spent in figuring out R. Yes, this is the new statistical software used for data analysis – SPSS is out and SAS is on the brink of going out. They say STATA might stay for a bit but R is the next gen software everyone needs to know about.

Well, being behind the times, I hadn’t heard about this till a few weeks back. The 2 year program students of my degree, had R classes all through Fall- since mine was an Accelerated program, it was thought that SAS would serve us well( not knowing can’t say, why).

Anyway, now I am in a course that is on public health surveillance. And the course only works with R and without any lab work. All R use is in the classroom, where we follow along with the tutor.

You can imagine how my life was after I returned from home in January. I did not even know how to open a file in R. Most of every class, after the lecture part, I spend trying to get R to run on my antique laptop. I haven’t used laptops much in my life as I always had access to desktops and sometimes with multiple screens. In the US, all teaching is done via laptops- I can understand why people panic when they misplace their laptops- their life is dependent on these machines.

Anyway, last weekend we had to work on a homework using R and of course, I had no idea how to do it- doing R was bad enough, we were expected to analyse and critique our findings.

Of course, being who I am, I procrastinated, hoping the assignment would go away. It was due by Monday afternoon. Late Sunday, I had gotten through barely one third of the assignment.

And then I decided to call in the experts- working with other students was banned and we were allowed to send emails to the instructor or the research assistant for the class. ( Part 1)