11 Reasons Why I'll Miss Organic Chemistry

11 Reasons Why I'll Miss Organic Chemistry

Now that it's over I might actually kind of miss it.
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Why I actually might miss Organic Chemistry

I have spent the last six months devoting my life to one thing: Trying to learn the language that is Organic Chemistry. I spent hours on hours drawing endless lines of carbons trying to decipher hundreds of reactions. Ask any of my friends, I complained about it nonstop. However, one week after completing the final, my last chemistry exam ever, I have a weird feeling of emptiness. It was definitely a love-hate relationship. So here are a few reasons why I actually might miss Organic chemistry… well kind of...

1. Because my ability to draw a hexagon will drastically decrease

I think I’ve probably drawn hundreds of thousands of benzene rings. Honestly after completing orgo I thought about adding “can draw a kick ass hexagon” to my resume. Finishing orgo means my hexagon drawing skills have definitely peaked and unfortunately for me most job description don't inquire about the applicant’s ability to draw a hexagon.

2. Because numbering carbons is oddly satisfying


This is hard to explain for people who have not taken any orgo, but sometimes numbering carbons in a problem can be oddly satisfying. For someone who is just a little obsessive compulsive, having the same number of carbons in your reactant as you have in the product is just a great feeling.

3. Because how will I spend my time when I am not doing orgo everyday?


I probably spent an average of five hours on any given day working through orgo problems. Now that I don’t have that huge chunk of time being consumed by organic chemistry what will I do with that free time?

4. Because freaking out about a hard problem and then solving it is rewarding

Tests are scary. We don’t get tested on exactly what we learned in class. Most of the test problems look really scary, but once you calm down and think, it isn’t as bad as it looks. It’s a pretty great feeling when you start to do a problem that you think is impossible and then somehow end up with the right answer.

5. Because I am basically bilingual now that I have finished orgo


Orgo is a completely new language. Speaking a new language is pretty awesome! If you ever listen to students talking through organic chemistry problems it totally sounds like a different language, but being able to understand all those words that sound so obscure at first is actually incredible.

6. Because I met some pretty awesome people


Being legally blind and trying to get through orgo means I didn’t do it alone. I had an amazing team of note takers, lab assistants, tutors, and test readers that helped get me through it. I worked incredibly hard in this class, but my orgo team deserves so much credit for me successfully completing orgo. I could not have done it without them and I am so glad that I can now consider my orgo team some of my closest friends at Dartmouth.

7. Because how else can I make the Olympic rings if not from crown ethers?


I was sitting in orgo once and my professor put this molecule up on the board and explained how it was Olympic rings. I have written before about how I often feel like my life as a student and my life as a ski racer never intersect. Well for once they finally did.

8. Because I can’t really come up with anything in life where I need to work backwards quite like a retrosynthesis problem.


I am not very coordinated. Running backwards, moving backwards, really anything going backwards isn’t really my thing. However, thinking backwards in restrosynthesis problems, where the professor gives you a product and the student must work backwards using any of the reaction she has learned, is probably the only thing in life I am somewhat capable of doing backwards. When I first started doing retrosynthesis problems I had a full blown panic attack because I couldn’t figure out how to think backwards. Turns out though after hundreds of problems working backwards isn’t quite as difficult as it first seemed

9. Because I won’t fill up a study room white board quite like I did leading up to my orgo final.

It took me about three hours to fill up this study room whiteboard with hundreds of reactions. I don’t think I’ll fill up a board quite like this for any of my other classes.

10. Because I could use orgo as an excuse to miss anything I didn’t want to go to


As I’ve said, orgo has consumed most of my life for the past few months. Whenever someone asked me to do something I didn’t want to do or go to a meeting I didn’t want to go to, I could always just say, “sorry I am too busy studying for orgo.”

11. Because honestly I just spent six months of my life learning something I will never use again and probably have already started to forget

Cover Image Credit: Abby Ward

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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I Had School Choice, And It Better Prepared Me For College

Not all students can excel in the traditional brick-and-mortar school setting.

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As the years progress and people grow tired of traditional public education, more and more options of schooling are opening up: charter schools, virtual schools, magnet schools, Montessori schools—the list goes on. Some people see this as detrimental to traditional public education and claim that charter schools and such are taking money away from public schools, but these schools are not doing that. In fact, charter schools are public schools, and they most times receive less funding due to costs such as food, transportation, and the costs of running a traditional school building are eliminated. With these areas cut, charter schools are able to pay their teachers more generously and have higher per-pupil funding, which is increasing with their rapid enrollment. Oklahoma-based Epic Charter Schools, the virtual, one-to-one charter school I attended, is first in teacher pay and fourteenth in enrollment statewide. Having the option to go from a traditional school setting to something as innovative as Epic Charter Schools benefited me, and my graduating class of over 1000, tremendously and prepared me for college better than any brick-and-mortar school could have.

Throughout my schooling, I always went to public school. School was my absolute favorite thing. I'm the kind of person who gets extremely excited to buy school supplies and choose my classes. In elementary, I became a part of the gifted and talented program, and I never found school particularly challenging. This didn't bother me when I was younger because it seemed like there was always something to do after classwork was finished, such as coloring sheets, reading, etc. But when I got into middle school, this changed and I stopped liking school as a whole. When I would finish my work in class, there would be nothing to do and it was always too loud to read, so I was at a loss. Because of the lack of challenge for me, when I knew there would be nothing for me to do in class, or it was just going to be a day where we watched a movie, I wouldn't go to school. I did this so often that in middle school I actually failed classes that I had As in because of my attendance. The fact that I failed classes because of my absences didn't surprise me as much as the fact that I could keep As in said classes while missing so many days that they decided to fail me.

My freshman year went about the same as my middle school years—I was still missing a lot of class, and I started putting less and less effort into my work because I just didn't like school anymore. Finally, in my sophomore year after I started driving, I quit going to school altogether. I had heard of Epic Charter Schools, and I took it into my own hands to get enrolled and withdraw from my brick-and-mortar. My family wasn't too supportive of this, but I pushed for it hard enough that they finally came around.

The first semester of Epic was rough, to say the least. It was the first time in a long time that my work was challenging, and whoever says a virtual school is easy, you're completely wrong. The difficulty of virtual school doesn't even come from the subject matter; it comes from the accountability. I had a teacher, but she wasn't at my house every day telling me to do my work, so I put it off for weeks at a time. After some time, I finally found a schedule and the following semesters' virtual classes were a breeze because my time management skills had developed so much.

When my junior year came around, I was excited to start concurrent enrollment at a local community college. Through Epic, I was allowed to take as many college courses as I wanted as long as I was taking at least one class through Epic. At a typical public school, students are only allowed to take two per semester; I was taking four, sometimes five college classes while still in high school, and they were actually challenging me.I'm sure most people think that sounds expensive, but it really wasn't. In the state of Oklahoma, high school students receive a waiver for six credit hours' tuition for no cost, only fees are paid. For me, through Epic I received an additional eight-hundred dollars in a learning fund, which I applied to my tuition. I also received a tribal scholarship for my concurrent courses in exchange for completing community service hours.

Through Epic, I was able to complete 52 hours of college credit completely debt-free WHILE STILL ENROLLED IN HIGH SCHOOL! The summer after I graduated, I completed my Associate's degree at Tulsa Community College (61 credit hours), which all transferred to my current school, the University of Oklahoma where I am studying Language Arts Education to become a teacher (if you're reading this, Epic administrators, call me in 2020 when I'm certified).

Not only am I graduating college two years early, but I am also saving my future self at least 50 thousand dollars of debt.

Most importantly, though, through Epic, I regained my love for learning.

Epic high school students and traditional students alike: please take advantage of the opportunities presented to you whether it be concurrent enrollment or vocational school. After high school, you will be so glad to have some college experience before going to a four-year university or to have a certificate to move into the workforce.

As the Epic's motto says: school CAN be different.


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