Sorry Biology, Orgo Is My New Favorite Class

My first Odyssey article detailed why I love organic chemistry and how taking it in high school helped shape my desire to learn more. I felt like a piece of ground in a drought soaking up water for the first time. At the time I graduated from high school, I wondered when that piece of ground would start to overflow from saturation. Well, it turns out that I'm still far from that point.

I am like a bottomless pit when it comes to organic chemistry; I never want to stop learning about the various reactions that take place and the molecular mechanisms behind them. In all honesty, I realize that I enjoy organic chemistry even more than biology. It might be due to the type of classes that I am taking at the moment. For example, the bulk of the material that I am going through in my biology class this term is stuff that I have learned before in previous classes, including my summer at Harvard. Aside from a few select topics that I haven't personally covered before, I've become bored with biology, and I want it to offer something new to me, something that I wouldn't have dreamed of learning before.

Organic chemistry, on the other hand, is usually nonrepetitive. Much of the material learned will cumulatively build on itself, a never-ending cascade of information that would make most people sweat. In fact, biology can be treated in that way, too, but there are some areas that are too discrete from each other. For example, it is easy to understand how adding HBr to an alkene group works when you remember how carbocations arrange themselves into more stable configurations. However, one signaling pathway in biology might only be specific to one organelle, or just one type of cell. This might not be too fair of a comparison, but I will say for sure that organic chemistry integrates its concepts together far more cohesively than biology.

I would also like to add that biology can be learned from simply reading a textbook; it and psychology are tied for the amount of material one has to memorize. Organic chem might seem like a chore when it comes to memorizing reactions for an exam, but no competent professor would test you solely on reactions. Orgo is all about patterns and how to recognize and use those patterns to ensure that you can make a new molecule from just a few reactants. Biology might emphasize a few concepts at its core, but organic chemistry pushes that to a new level that biology just cannot compete at.

I honestly thought that I learned so much about organic chemistry when I took the course in high school; it was a damn good introduction that gave me an extremely solid foundation. Once I got to college and began actually taking upper division classes in organic chemistry, I realized that I had a lot to learn myself. Despite knowing so much chemistry, there was still something that was at the time beyond my understanding. It also made me realize that it was good to have a course in high school give me the foundation in the first place, and I wouldn't have come this far without it.

I truly love organic chemistry and the applications that it has to helping science advance forward and create new drug treatments, devices, environmentally-friendly plastics, construction materials, renewable fuels, and even the strongest bases (I'm looking at you, ortho-diethynylbenzene dianion!) Seriously, take the class — it's worth every second of your time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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