5 Thoughts Every Science Major Has While Taking Organic Chemistry

All the science majors in the world know that the struggle is real. If you’re a science major who has taken, is currently taking, or plans to take organic chemistry: stick together. You’re not alone. And if you are one of the people who understand organic chemistry and are still reading this, pat yourself on the back because you really deserve it.

1. “Is this really the kind of weed out class where 90% of the class can’t pass?”

I can understand the need to weed out some of the kids who come into college saying they want to be doctors or pharmacists and simply aren’t cut out for the job, that’s understandable. Not everyone can fill those positions. However, when you’re in a class where the average on exams are around 63%, by the end of the first semester, your section of the class had a whole 100 students of the original 220 or so. And the same went for all the other sections. Making the class so difficult that so many people fail shouldn’t make the class a weed out; it should be called a flunk out if we’re being honest here.

2. “Are all organic chemistry professors spawn of the devil?”

Is it possible to meet a nice organic chemistry professor? Maybe? Maybe it’s possible. Sure, maybe he or she is a very nice person outside of the classroom, but when it comes to lecture, lab and/or exam, probably not. My friends and I have decided that the professors group together to try to make our lives miserable (that’s logical, right?) by putting the hardest possible questions on the exams. Like what is this? Sorry that we’re not all as smart as you. Or if you have a teacher who seems to think that everybody should just get the material. You know, those people who can just see it all in their heads — those damn molecules turning for different projections and what not. No, sorry, that’s not how it works for the majority of the people.

3. “How are people getting As?!”

Look, if you’re good at organic chemistry, here’s a pat on the back. Power to you because it’s not common in the lovely science world. You’ll study and study and study until your brain physically can’t hold any more and you walk into the test and feel dumber than you’ve ever felt in your life. How is it possible that people could POSSIBLY do well on this exam? The professor will announce the class average was a 68%, however 12 people (of the 220) earned an A. How?! Teach me your ways. I want to be just like you.

4. “When will I ever need to know these 32 mechanisms?”

It’s great and all that there are researched and developed ways that molecules can interact with each other and what not, but when will this come in handy? Unless I for some crazy reason decide to become an organic chemist or an organic chemistry professor (no offense to those who are one of the previously named professions, but good for you), I’m never going to need to know how an alkyl halide reacts, or doesn’t react, with hydrogen bromide. If I’m going to be a pediatrician, I’m fairly certain that mechanisms won’t play a part in my job. You can refrain from any comments you have about how medicines can work together, I’m well aware of that.

5. When you get to the final exam and they expect you to remember little details you learned the first week…

Wait, did we actually learn some of this stuff? I know the final is supposed to be pulling everything together, but I’m fairly certain we never learned this. You want me to actually explain this mechanism in words and why I can’t mix this alkyl halide and this benzene ring together? (I have no idea if that actually happens; it was just a random guess). Oh, I know this one, “Why can’t carbon double bond to a hydroxyl group and single bond with three nitrogens?” Because carbon can’t have more than four bonds! I win! General chemistry for the win. TC mark

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