What I Learned in Econometrics Class

by Helene Louise  

As I've written previously, even though my objective after high school was to avoid anything remotely math-related, I ended up studying economics further to the advice of a misinformed guidance counsellor, who told me that economics would be perfect for me since there would be no math (was she ever wrong about that...!). I was most definitely out of my element but stubborn as I was, I persevered until I had completed a master's degree. 

One of the most complicated areas of economics and the one which I found particularly difficult, was econometrics. One semester, the course was taught by a young visiting professor from Australia. He was very shy and awkward, which seemed very un-professor-like given the older, self-assured types that we were used to. And, he not only spoke very softly, he also had an accent that we weren't used to so overall, we were quick to write him off.

However, we soon discovered that underneath that awkwardness was an exceptional enthusiasm for what he was teaching, a boundless positivity, a sense of humour which surprisingly, he was able to bring to such a dry subject area. And, a sincerity that won us all over. I don't remember anything at all about what we learned that year but I do remember how much I looked forward to his class and that to my surprise, I did really well. The experience showed me that despite that I was not a natural in the field of economics and that I hadn't consciously chosen it, if I worked hard enough, I could succeed. 

And most importantly, I learned how someone's approach to teaching something, anything—be it a complex math theory or finding a way to open a jar because a person's mobility has been affected in some way—can make a difference in whether the process ends in success or failure.  That's certainly something I’ve applied to helping my daughter overcome the effects of a childhood stroke. Adding some fun to the hard work wherever I can has made a world of difference.

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