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