Reminiscing life as a Statistics student at Venkateswara College, Delhi University..
It all started with BR sir’s introduction to a compact class of about 70 students. “What do you want to achieve after three years of Statistics hons.?”
To be honest, I did not know. And, looks like most of us did not and more than half of us ended up answering — Actuarial.
And thus, with Goon A.M., Gupta M.K. and Dasgupta’s Fundamentals of Statistics as our bible, we began a journey of self discovery, learning to iterate our goals as we grow, and building friendships to last a lifetime!
To an outsider, Statistics seemed to be just that — mean, mode, median. the The gruel of three years made us realize the gross understatement of the usual definition. Through countless practicals, albeit completed just the day prior to submissions in those microscopic square notebooks, we realized Statistics was also about discerning patterns and explaining those using fancy Greek functions and distributions!
Through Prasada Rao’s lively class discussions on Statistical Inference, we learnt about the complete statistic whose attributes seemed to be everything that a student in me could never be — efficient, sufficient, consistent, and unbiased!
And the dreaded Probability classes by RK ma’am in whose classes, the normal distribution of paying attention didn’t hold, because everyone studied with rapt attention!
In between classes of 7–8 hours a day, we used to take small breaks to venture out in the dingy lanes of Satyaniketan, gorging on momos, chole bhatoore and cool minty sugarcane juice to beat the heat! Talking of heat, when the Sun got especially ruthless, we made the only air conditioned place in college: the computer lab, our Adda! On countless pretexts of work or wait for the next class which was scheduled a lot later, we just sat there, gossiping, sometimes even eating food, away from anyone’s eyes!
Exam time was a time when the spirit of camaraderie among the classmates grew and blossomed! The last minute mugging up, the countless proofs that made no sense but we wired ourselves to learn them as commandments, no questions asked! Right on the morning of exam days was a sight to see because: everyone came early around 1–1.5 hours before the exam was scheduled to start and, in a symphony, we orchestrated the revision of the entire semester’s syllabus in just a quarter of an hour!! Those revisions were all we needed to respectably pass :)
Fest and Trips!
Apart from the academics and exams, the more fun parts of our department were organizing the yearly statistics fest — Simulation and the EPIC trip to Manali! Simulation meant 3 days off from classes and assignments, and pure joy with great food & games.
And the Manali trip- well, every time I think of it, my heart warms up. It was the first ever trip with friends, for most of us. I specifically remember the bus ride from Delhi, when we were very close to our destination and when we had sung so many songs on the top of our lungs, teachers- Veena ma’am, Jogi sir, Mukti sir and us students together, that finally we sat down, back to our seats, tired. And when we peeped outside our windows, towards the skies, the sight was the most beautiful we had ever seen- stars shining bright, cool air against our faces and we were ready! Ready for the most fun trip ever!
College has ended now. Been four years already! Before the pandemic, I have visited our beloved teachers and college time to time, reliving all the memories in the place that was our home with the biggest smiles and lot of gratitude!
The seed of statistics that was sown years back, has now grown and is still growing, as we apply what we learnt in the real life- figuring out correlations in unruly, unstructured data, finding patterns, drawing insights and testing signigicance, in diverse field of marketing, banking, sales and even social work!
In hindsight to the question, “What do you want to achieve after three years of Statistics hons.?”, I think I have an answer: skills for good decision making! That’s what these three years at college and post college work has taught me that, statistics, at its heart is all about — making informed decisions!