Saturday, January 17, 2004

marginally erroneous

I need to start writing these things earlier in the day. Less temptation to stay up later than I should.

Got a letter in the mail today. ACS Education Services kindly reminds me that my first quarterly payment of $287.29 will be due May 1, 2004. This is the last of the loans to end its grace period, so by this summer I'll be paying an average of about $300/month in school loan repayments (and that's not including the credit card--goodness). I don't make much more than that in any given month, so finding a new job will be a prerequisite for moving out of Dad's house.

I keep getting these letters (and sometimes phone calls) from companies who want me to reconsolidate my loans. I was mildly interested a year ago when one fellow called, so I asked him to send me the information. "Okay," he said, "I'll just need your address," which I gave him. "And I'll need your Social Security Number."
"I don't feel comfortable giving that out over the phone," I said.
"Well, then I won't be able to send you the information."
"Wait, you have to have my Social Security Number, just to send me the information?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Well," I said, "I guess I don't want that information."
He gave me the company name and his employee number, and told me I could check it out and find out that they're good folks, and said he'd call me back in one week. "Okay," I said, just to end the conversation.
So a few days later, I went to the Financial Aid Office, and asked about loan reconsolidations. The woman I spoke with there told me that the best thing to do is to talk to the bank with whom I have my loans, because oftentimes when you reconsolidate, you aren't able to defer your payments again if you decide to go back to school. I told her about the phone call, and she shook her head. "That sounds like no good. Definitely try your bank."
So ever since then, these solicitations have kind of creeped me out.

Dad thinks I should go grad school, since I don't have a 'real' job yet. Part of me would kind of like to go back to school, but I never disciplined myself properly as an undergrad, and I don't think that's going to change in the near future. Besides, my grades probably aren't good enough to get into any decent graduate school.

Just browsing some job listings online, I found a link to KS&R Inc. where one can use their margin of error calculator. Can someone explain this thing to me? I'd been under the impression that if your sample size is exactly as large as the population the sample represents, then your margin of error should be roughly zero. Not so, according to this tool: If you've sampled 10,000 people (or marshmallows, or whatever) out of your whole company (or stash) of 10,000, your margin of error will be ±98,000.98%.
Now if I'm right, and this calculator is screwy, then maybe I don't want to work for this company. And if I'm wrong, and this calculator is correct, then maybe I have no business applying for a job there. But I will consult this calculator again when I am not so sleepy and can think straight.

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