The Third Week

Always something auspicious about threes. We are in week three of the Great Scientist Power Hour here, which is something catchy that I just came up with on the fly to call this little adventure. For those keeping score at home, I am talking about going back to undergraduate classes to do pre-med, and the classes that I have to take to get into med school are all hard sciences. This semester is Physics, Cell Biology and Organic Chemistry. I already have an exam in Organic Chemistry! How great is that, an exam on the… *counts on fingers* 5th total class meeting? Yeah. So that’s pretty cool. The extra twisted thing about that is that it’s my favorite class so far, even though its kind of the most frightening.

And physically threatening. You handle some really gnarly stuff in the lab.

In the time it took me to actually finish writing this blog post, I have taken that test, and I got a 90 out of 100 while identifying an error in one of the questions. I am feeling pretty great about how chemistry is going.

Chemistry has been interesting. It’s kind of the jumping off point for this whole experience and was the corner stone in feeling like I am actually capable of undertaking this whole doctor of medicine endeavor. I was encouraged to take a class. I looked at what I would need to finish that I neglected to take the first time I went to college. Introduction to general chemistry had the least stringent pre-requisites and seemed like it would be the least difficult with math. I got very close to dropping the class in the first couple of weeks. Chemistry revolves, at least in part, around the idea of dimensional analysis. You also need to know and understand that particles can act as waves and that those waves can determine the properties of chemicals. It’s nightmarish, because you realize that this is indeed related to other math based sciences and you are suddenly computing wavelength as a function of the speed of light. It was more algebra than I have done in maybe 13 years. I didn’t like the feeling of helplessness that it caused, feeling like I am in face a smart individual and that I couldn’t do these math manipulations. I managed to stick with it though and ended up getting an A in the course.

I ended up liking general chemistry. Nothing was terribly complicated but I learned quite a bit about what amounts to the fundamental Lego bricks that put everything around us together. It’s a strange a fortuitous accident that the elements have these very stable and predictable properties, the penchant for atoms to accrue 8 electrons at all costs, some with more violence than others, makes them into a weird erector set.


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