I remember when I was back at school, we all used to draw graphs by hand. And we used to do it pretty frequently too. It may have been for maths, drawing graphs for statistics, or in physics, drawing graphs to arrive at some conclusion from the data we had obtained. I used to be pretty good at graphs. I have a terrible handwriting and so when i go on for pages, it looks pretty untidy. But my graphs were a completely different issue. I always had the right materials for them and they used to be quite neat.
Then came NUS. Our first lab report for biochemistry had to be typed out. The answer to one of the questions involved a graph. I was lost. I was under a strange impression that NUS expected lab reports to be typed out completely and did not appreciate hand written ones. What was I supposed to do about the graph? I had never used any computer program to do such a thing. Then one of my friends, who had used Excel program before to draw graphs, came to my rescue. She taught me the basics on how to use Excel to draw graphs. My dad helped me too by describing a step-by-step procedure on how to use Excel in one of his mails.
I sat down to try and conquer Excel. It took me two hours before I finally managed to finish the graph. I was so happy to see the fruit of my labour! To me, it looked really beautiful. Then I noticed a mistake in it. The values in my X-axis were all wrong. The program had taken the serial numbers as the X-axis values and plotted my graph!
Damn it... what was I going to do???!!!
This is when the popular saying comes into effect...
"When the going gets tough.... CALL DAD!!!!"
I sent the graph to my dad and asked him to figure out what was wrong with it. He took my data and drew the graph himself and sent it to me saying that what he sent was just a model graph for me and asked me to try again. This time, I was determined to get that graph right. I spent lots of time on that... and finally... I got the perfect graph! NOW I was a pro at using Excel! :D
Through the course of this semester, i have drawn many graphs using Excel. Each biochemistry practical class required at least one graph if not many. Now i am comfortable with Excel. At one point of time, I even started using Excel to plot graphs to solve sums! I was too lazy to draw them out by hand. And in Excel, all you have to do is key in your data.. and voila! the graph is done by the computer!
In my final exam for biochemistry, a huge surprise awaited me. One of our major answers involved the drawing of a graph! And we all supplied with one graph sheet for that! That meant, we had to do it by hand! I realised at that point that after using Excel so many times, I had forgotten how to draw graphs using a pencil and a ruler! I still can't believe that i was actually sitting in the exam hall and wishing i had my laptop to do the job for me... (I managed to get through the exam just ok... my graph was not all that bad!... i have not lost touch!)
How much life has changed over one semester... Me... a girl who had a phobia towards computers..who would do anything to avoid using computers except for playing games and sending mails.. is now so addicted to them that she has forgotten how to do simple tasks such as drawing graphs using a pencil!