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Can you use the value of a variable to select an already defined variable with that same name?

I’m trying to try something out for my AP statistics class where I need to randomly select five words from the lyrics of a song and calculate the average length of those strings. This is what I have so far: (There’s 297 lyrics but I don’t want to type all of those out if it won’t work)

        String n001 = "I";
        String n002 = "look";
        String n003 = "and";
        String n004 = "stare";
        String n005 = "so";
        Random bob = new Random();
        String num_1 = String.format("%03d", bob.nextInt(298)); 
        String num_2 = String.format("%03d", bob.nextInt(298)); 
        String num_3 = String.format("%03d", bob.nextInt(298)); 
        String num_4 = String.format("%03d", bob.nextInt(298)); 
        String num_5 = String.format("%03d", bob.nextInt(298)); 
        String num1 = "n" + num_1; 

What I can’t figure out is how to take the value in num1 to select one of the Strings named the same thing. I need to do that for all five selected random numbers.

I’m sure there’s a way to do this, but it’s my first year in a CS class and I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere.


Here is a suggestion.

  • put all the words in a List<String>
    (e.g. List<String> = new ArrayList<>())
  • Use Collections.shuffle to shuffle the list.
  • then take the first 5 entries.

Doing the above will guarantee you won’t repeat any word unless there are duplicates in the list.

Figuring out how to average the lengths is up to you.