It all started two years ago.
I had just earned my master’s degree in mathematics, and I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent three solid months studying for the first actuarial exam. Even though I passed the exam, I wasn’t really sure that the actuary path is what I wanted. I soon became sidetracked by Target (and eventually started working for my current company), so I dropped studying for the second exam.
Throughout college and graduate school, I shied away from studying applied math. I didn’t do applied math. I was a purist. It wasn’t until I studied for the first actuarial exam (on probability) that I discovered how interesting applied math could be.
Since then, I’ve noticed statistics (the discrete application of probability) arise in all sorts of situations, conversations, and problems. Nearly every industry has some need for statistics, so there definitely seems to be a demand for statisticians.
So this is the path, for now. I actually took the day off from work today to check out a local university to see if I can take certain undergraduate courses through their concurrent enrollment program. The classes seem to be (beyond) full, but there’s a chance I could get in if I go to the first day of classes and get approval from the course instructors. If I can take undergraduate prerequisites now, I should be able to apply to graduate school for admission in Fall 2010.
My decision to pursue this statistics path/idea was tentatively made less than a week ago, so I’m still wrapping my head around everything. I keep having pangs of fear and hesitation (like “I can’t believe I’m going back to school,” “what the heck am I doing,” and “do I even have what it takes to get a degree in statistics”), but the few friends I’ve told so far are supportive, which helps a lot.
The first day of classes is this Friday, so I’d have to take another day off from work (two days in one week). If everything goes well, I’m not sure if I can keep my job; I’d basically have to take off three days a week. Breaking the news to my boss and big boss will be difficult but ultimately necessary.