It’s called Alpha. Stop calling it fish.
The Rules of Chemistry Club
1. Always talk about chemistry club. Seriously, we need more members.
2. Never eat or drink in the lab
3. Never eat or drink in the lab, like don’t even think about it
4. Never draw benzene as a triene
5. No shorts, no open toed shoes
6. Try not to blow yourself up or give yourself cancer
7. No calculators
Q:Okay..I'm in my first and a half year of my chemistry degree and when I read most of the things in your blog I'm like... WTF!? But even though that, I still love your blog, just saying! :)
Thanks! Don’t worry about not understanding everything I post or reblog, because truth be told I don’t always 100% understand everything I reblog. I usually just think it’s cool and would be if interest to someone on here. And I also post a lot of bio because I’m secretly a biologist at heart, so there’s that.
There was a time when labs were fun
When the results were good
And the data precise
There was a time when chem was easy
And the world was a lab
And the lab was intriguing
There was a time…
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream of labs gone by
When yields were high
And life worth…
Source: College Humor
Q:Hi there! I'm interested in pursuing a chemistry degree. Do you have any tips?
I guess just what to expect:
I don’t have a chemistry degree. I have a technical diploma in Chemical and Environmental Technology. Its safe to say I have taken a LOT of chemistry and related science courses in this program so I hope this helps.
If anyone else wants to pipe in with their experience in getting/during a chemistry degree, feel free.
-There will be math; General Mathematics, Calculus, Math heavy courses like Physical Chemistry. If Math is difficult for you I recommend putting in extra time to practice or considering hiring a tutor. I have trouble with mathematics but it wasn’t completely overwhelming. It was difficult but I managed to pass everything.
-Really focus on getting your work done early so you have time to review and ask your professor questions. This really comes in handy for content heavy courses like Organic Chemistry. Also as an exam preparation tool, study early. Cramming will not work.
-PRACTICE. Practice all your problem sets and read over your notes regularly.
-Buy a molecular model kit. These are really helpful for visualizing atoms, molecules and chemical bonds.
-Arrange study groups with your friends or classmates. Learning together helps iron out problem and fosters understanding of concepts.
-Learn how to do technical writing and neatly summarize your experiments, observations and calculations. There will be a lot of lab reports to write, and this is a particularly useful skill in the sciences.
Beyond that just try hard. Learning chemistry can be a challenge. Its a lot to take in, but I find it really fascinating and interesting. Its definitely my favourite science. If you have the interest and passion you should definitely go for it. :)
Any other questions I’ll be happy to ask.
One thing that really helped me with Chemistry is the mentality of studying/hard-work. There are plenty of people who talk about how you need to have a head for physical sciences and math, IGNORE THIS. There is innate talent, but this gets you so far. Hard work and good study habits are what really takes you through a chemical degree. There will be times you pull all-nighters, times were you study on a Friday night when other people are at a party, but if you plan accordingly you’ll still be able to have a lot of fun without cramming for every test.
1. Talk to your professors early if you have a problem understanding the material, they will always help you a lot more than you expect. Be proactive and talk to them before the first test.
2. Make sure to swap contact info and make friends early on. Study groups are a great idea amongst a bunch of friendly nerds. That’s what carried me through Quantum Chemistry when the concepts were too hard to understand alone. Bonus: teaching others helps you learn! Other bonus: You’re likely to meet people who’ve had your classes before and will give you tips for specific teachers.
3. Arrange a time and place to study and be vigilant about it. If you allow other people to disrespect your time when you’re studying, you’ll have difficulty catching up.
4. Don’t panic. Chemistry is a lot of fun, and if you have good habits and a good schedule going, you’ll have plenty of free time.
+ Schedule your labs as early in the week as possible. If something goes wrong or your results don’t add up, you’ll have an easier time scheduling a do-over with another section’s group. (this saved me once or twice)
+ Browse your school’s EBSCO (or whatever academic database you have access to) and pull up some research papers and experiment summaries to help you get a feel for the structure and language expected from lab write-ups. Pharmaceutical trials are pretty good for this.
+ The first two years have a lot of general courses too - calculus, physics, stats, biology. It’s helpful (and fun) to think of how these other courses apply and overlap to your own interests/major, even if you’re not particularly interested in the subjects themselves.
- UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH! Find out what research is going on at your school’s chem department (or even related sciences). If something in particular sounds really cool to you, ask the professor of that research group if they take undergraduate researchers. You may be able to do research for credits or possibly even money. (Some programs even require research in a lab for the degree!)
- Apply for summer research opportunities, such as an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). You can find programs are paid and/or include housing, travel expenses, etc. This is especially a good idea if there are no undergraduate research opportunities at your school!
- Don’t start a lab report the night before it’s due. Ever.
- On that note, don’t start problem sets the night before either.
- Ask for help sooner rather than later. Your professor or TA is probably willing to help you, as long as you’re not asking two hours before your assignment is due or the exam starts.
- Search engines specifically geared toward science, such as Web of Science or SciFinder, are your friends, especially when you need references for lab reports or other assignments.
- You will find reading papers from scientific journals difficult at first. In fact, unless it is a review article or you’re familiar with the subject matter, reading and understanding scientific papers might always be challenging. Don’t sweat it. Read carefully and reread as much as needed.
- If for some reason your school’s degree requirements are really light on the math (for example, my school required ONLY up to Calc II for a B.S. in chemistry), take more math courses. Personally, I think Calc III and linear algebra are extremely useful for physical chemistry courses, particularly when you cover quantum mechanics.
- Lastly, HAVE FUN!
DO NOT GO INTO A CHEMISTRY WITH THE MIND-SET THAT YOU WILL PASS BY MEMORIZING EVERYTHING.
IT WILL NOT WORK.
Chem isn’t something you can just memorize your way through. Especially ochem. You have to understand the underlying reasons why things behave the way they do: there’s a certain underlying “flow” of ideas you need to be able to grasp. Whether that’s the flow of electrons during arrow-pushing mechanisms, the flow of logic when working through a numerical problem, or the flow of nitrogen gas in a Schlenk line, you need to grasp the concepts firmly. There’s just too much content to be able to memorize and BS.
*Cocoons self in blankets* is the semester over yet?
Accomplishments: has successfully maintained homeostasis for 20+ years