Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chemistry fun!

Hello all!

I apologize for the extended absence. Things have been a bit...dusty in here. But I'm here to revamp! Rework! Resurrect!

First of all, I have an honest question for the Loitrons (If you're still there. If you are, awesome! I've missed you too). Have you ever failed a midterm? I'm asking honestly because, two weeks ago, almost halfway through my final year of university, I just did...

No one does, Dug
Don't you laugh! Let me explain these circumstances. I am applying to med school this year, an undertaking that, until now, was going pretty smoothly. I had all my things in place, except for one small thing. US med schools require one year of organic chem with lab and one year of "general" chem WITH LAB. This "lab" business creates the problem. You see, U of T, with its ever-considerate chem department, offers first year chemistry as two half year courses, intro to organic and intro the physical chem, both with lab. In second year you can go on to take the second half of orgo, again with lab, and the second half of physical, again with...oh lab? But...why? I guess there might be another option...

 Thus was my dilemma. But indeed, as I discovered, there is another option. Intro to inorganic chemistry. A full-year chemistry course ONLY OPEN TO CHEM MAJORS. I had to get special permission to take the course and everything. I jumped through hoops, reorganized my schedule (4 hour labs) and was finally ready to take the course. People said I was crazy. I called it ambition.

I should've listened.

There were warning signs. The very first lab period, while everyone was methodically carrying out their experiments and being very organized and timely, I was running around, spilling potentially dangerous chemicals everywhere (Was that mercury? Doesn't that eat your brain? This course is actually going to kill me), breaking a crucible, and generally making a fool of myself. It was carnage on a chemical scale.

But nevertheless, I stuck it out until arriving at the first midterm a couple weeks ago. I knew that I was at a disadvantage here, as chem is not my strength by a long shot. Let me tell you something about chemistry students. Chemistry and physics students are crazy. They operate on a whole different level than you and me, the commonfolk. They are the master race. They would rule us all if they didn't thirst for knowledge. Every one that I have met has astounded me with their intellect. Needless to say, as a lowly biology student (bio is science for people who aren't all that great at science), I was out of my league. But I studied. I spent the week before, and my reading break, a 4 day weekend, studying non-stop. Gradually, my confidence grew.

Why are these children holding a confidence sign?
Test day came. Everyone was nervous and chattery, including me. I felt like I was back in first year. The test was hard, as expected, but I knew what I was doing. I knocked it all down and strutted out with my head held high. I did it. I could hang with the big boys. I was no chump. I was a genius.

I also developed an insatiable desire to enslave mankind
Well, I got to feel that way for a week. Then grades went up. It's hard to explain the feeling of seeing a grade as low as I did on Blackboard. At first I couldn't process it, my brain couldn't find the right number. 59? Oh ok, thought I'd do better, but that's not catastrophic. Wait no, that's the average. Oh 62 then, that's a bit better! Wait, that's the median. What is the point of a median? We get it, it's not skewed. So wait, where is my grade? 29? Out of what, I don't see...

Then it hit me. My brain was trying so hard to hide it from me, to save me, but I had to find it eventually. 29/100. That's not just failing. That's walking in with a crayon and drawing shapes on the paper for an hour. That's getting points for trying.

It was worse than when I found out my dad was totally evil
And so here I am. I'm not very inclined to dropping a nuclear bomb on my GPA, so I've decided to drop the course. But all is not lost. As if they were the only ones in Canada who make sense, the university next door, Ryerson, offers a general chem course with lab. So the med school dream stays alive. My self-esteem though, has a long and difficult rehab process ahead. Remember kids, chemistry kills dreams. Actually, if I did get mercury poisoning, you can probably take out the dreams part.