Most people who know me (it’s Anna here) are also aware of my math deficiency. I didn’t get the math “gene,” that’s for sure. So imagine my dismay when I realized that attending my dream school, the University of Kentucky, also meant taking my dreaded courses: Quantitative research methods and statistics. Well, this semester has been quite difficult, because I happen to be taking both of them at the same time. I begged, I pleaded, but there was no way getting around these darn courses.
Last week, I was in Minnesota for spring break. I know what you’re thinking: “Students and professors are so lucky!” I won’t argue with you, we are very fortunate, indeed. This spring break, for me, however, was quite different than any other. Yes, I saw a couple of friends and spent time with our families. But I was also immersed in studying, because my professor decided to schedule our first exam for the week after spring break (who does that?!). I certainly did not spend time at the beach like our undergraduates often do. Instead, I was slumped over the kitchen table with my statistics book and notes. Weeping.
My brilliant and patient husband, who is not deficient in math, worked on problem after problem with me from late at night to early morning all week. It’s been awhile since he took the course, so he’d read the book and look at my notes, and then instruct me. At first, I’d make silly mistakes. He’d calmly reply, “are you sure you want to do that?” We’d cheer when I found the right answer, and corrected my mistakes together. Finally, there were more “hoorays!” than “oops,” which left both student and tutor feeling very fulfilled. Happy couple vs. statistics. We were winning.
I can safely say I’ve never loved him more than I do now, post-statistics study sessions. Which is when I realized, we were experiencing what Baxter and Bullis (1986) define as a “turning point,” which is, “any event or occurrence that is associated with change in a relationship.” Through studying stats together, we were accomplishing two things: 1) Learning statistics, and 2) Learning about each other and growing closer as a result.
We all have had them. Our relationships thrive off of them. What are your relational turning points? Plot them out. Make a timeline. It’s quite fun, really. What you see might surprise you. And if you’re looking to create a turning point, a statistics course might be just what you need!