R, A Love Story


Last night was our first night of Stats Analysis II. This semester we are learning a new statistical language called R. It is similar to a language called S but it is open source and free. That’s just one awesome aspect of it. We were all excited and buzzing about the new semester. Our professor could sense our excitement.

He gave us a brief history of R and talked to us about our texts that we would be using and how useful they will be. Then he asked us if we were ready? Of course we were. Well, I may have had my seatbelt buckled but I was ready. Our professor said that he was about to show us everything we learned last semester(in SAS) in basically 150 lines of R code. What you say? How can this be?

Well, R makes it all possible. In SAS, everything requires a datastep(so that SAS knows what you want it to do) and most things require a procedure(or a PROC). Not so in R. R can take a ten line datastep from SAS and perform the same magic in one line. Are you clutching your pearls yet? *Gasp* One freaking line of code!! I swear, the heavens opened and all of the angels sweetly sang R. It was such a magical experience. It was so magical, I even dreamed about it and that is one of the reasons why I am blogging about it right now.

R is the stuff statistical dreams are made of(with a sprinkle of .05 wonderfulness on top of course). R takes clunky code and orchestrates it into a symphony of light. R makes all of your statistical dreams come true with beautiful publication worthy graphics. R makes you want to pinch yourself and then wonder where it has been all of your life.

If SAS was the most epic obstacle course you could ever dream of completing with fire and dragons, R is a magical island that you don’t ever want to leave(I see you Fiji). Did I mention that R can read and work with any kind of data in any kind of language that you can imagine? R turns atheists into believers who are on fire with the Holy Spirit. R is amazing, life changing, and guess what? Free! You can also access R anywhere(and on any kind of system).

Once you are done making your beautiful statistical masterpiece, R lets your code be published and shared with the rest of the world! Oh my goodness! How cool is that? Yep, you guessed right, super cool! I didn’t even mention that R takes all of the segments of SAS(text editor, log file, output, help *cough* an epic help section that SAS users dream of) and puts them into a four panel system of wonder. So you can literally see everything you input(and attempt to input) and output in all of its beautiful glory. Not only that, when SAS throws shade in the log file(R says “Log file who?”), R tells you what it thinks you may have been trying to include and gives you tips along with an epic(super epic) help section that not only includes help but includes examples, step by step examples for us newbies and the original articles where the info was first discussed which is awesome for a lit review and also for giving you a strong knowledge base).

So not only am I in love with R but I also have my data(just deciding on a few variables). Also, where I used the word you, you can just use the word me because if this doesn’t apply to you, just know that it happened for me. R helped me so much, I was even able to clean my apartment(which I haven’t been able to get a handle on in like five months). So, I was able to get a truly good night’s rest because there wasn’t anything crowding me out on the bed.

Hope you have an epic day!




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