Monthly Archives: August 2012

….aaaaaand GO!

Ok, its been a while since I’ve updated you all on my situation, and a lot has happened! So here’s the long and short of it:

Classes have finally begun! No more orientation (and sadly no more free lunches…). This is the real deal! Classes started a week ago today, and by Monday I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed. I think I’m just starting to find a bit of a ‘groove’ though, and things should be fully settled with a few more weeks. By far, my favorite class is “Physical Organic Chemistry” with Prof. Bergmann. This guy is awesome. He’s a great lecturer, and really quite an accomplished chemist! He even has a reaction named after him.

For those of you not indoctrinated in the ways of chemistry, Physical organic chemistry is all about describing how organic (carbon containing) molecules bond and react using both quantitative and qualitative applications of chemical bonding theories. One of the major goals is for students to learn how to look at the structure of a molecule and predict a number of different properties!

My other class is a bit more of a challenge so far. It is a class that teaches you all about different reactions in organic chemistry, and how to synthesize different molecules The class basically involves me writing as frantically as I can for an hour in the morning, and then spending several hours every afternoon trying to understand and memorize as much material as I can! Honestly… that’s what I really ought to be doing right now. I think this is probably one of the best experiences I will have though. It’s hard and confusing, but just within my grasp. By pushing myself, and dedicating a lot of time to really learning this stuff well, I think I will really get a lot out of it!

I also am teaching this semester… but I think I will dedicate a separate post to that after I’ve had more experience. Besides I’m too excited to talk about anything but TRIVIA!! That’s right, trivia! For the last two weeks, a few us first year students have managed to bridge the great social divide between synthetic and physical chemistry to field a team (or two) for the trivia night held at a local bar. We haven’t managed to snag a win yet, but we’ve been close!

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Learning to share!

I haven’t really written much yet, and part of that has to do with the lack of internet at my house. However, there are lots of other reasons why I haven’t written anything either. One of the reasons for that is that it can often be difficult to explain to friends and family some of the most interesting parts of the science I am doing. There is another, perhaps more important, reason that I need to own up to as well. Research is hard, and often not terribly rewarding. It can be a difficult, dreary, and disheartening experience at times, which makes it all the more depressing to dwell on when I’m not in the lab.

So, I can post infrequent (very infrequent) updates whenever something turns out incredibly well… or I can accept the fact that most of the time there just won’t be anything heartening to report. More importantly, I think embracing this nature of my work will not only lead to a better and more frequently updated blog, but ultimately help me survive grad school itself. I haven’t even started, and I’ve already felt the crushing pressure and doubts that failure can bring. The only way to really battle it though, is to accept it and push forward. So today I am resolving to do so.

On a happier note I am learning TONS, meeting lots of great people, and orientation activities begin next week. I am also moved in to my apartment, which I am sharing with some pretty awesome folks. The next few weeks are going to be crazy. Crazy and awesome.

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