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Am i suppose to know this stuff?

  1. Sep 8, 2011 #1
    I decided i want to be a biology major, and im taking a intro to life science biology 101 course in a community college, and i was just wondering.... am i suppose to really understand what this book is trying to tell me? Im reading about the functions of the cells and all the crazy long organic compounds, augh! Its starting to make me feel like biology is a no-go for me, or maybe im just giving up too early. I tried reading the book carefully, in fact i read this chapter 3 times in a row, i still dont really understand everything they are trying to say.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2011 #2


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    What made you decide to be a biology major? Did you enjoy it in high school?
  4. Sep 8, 2011 #3
    Sort of. I was always interested in how things work inside our bodies and cells and all that, but with this class its starting to make me think otherwise.

    To be honest, i chose biology as a major because im not particularly good/interested in anything else like business or math. I like the outdoors, animals, and keeping fit.

    I thought about kinesiology, but I cant see myself doing that for the rest of my life, kind of seems dead-end. I could also say salary.com made a good impact on my decision.

    I cant tell if i'm sounding incredibly dumb and ignorant right now or just sounding like a 19 year old confused with life, so excuse me if im sounding like a total douche bag right now
  5. Sep 9, 2011 #4


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    For well over half a century now biology has become increasingly dominated by biochemistry. There are few parts of biology that can be studied without covering some biochemical aspect, most often in the form of a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_pathway" [Broken].

    In school I never liked the biochemistry aspect either but doing a biology degree really changed that for me. At first I thought I wouldn't cut it but you learn to appreciate and understand it, eventually it doesn't seem that intimidating when you can put all those chemical pathways in perspective like this...


    And now with commentary (and 480p resolution)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Sep 9, 2011 #5
    That video amazed me, i was really into it the whole time

    But i dont really understand what you are saying, is biology just another term for chemistry then? I thought biologists dont always have to do field work, but can do lab work also
  7. Sep 9, 2011 #6
    There are lots of biology people, tons really, that do little with the chemistry part of biology. You can see that all the time on those nature channels. They're not talkin' chemistry you know. Just ecosystems, habitats, popoulations and all. Still though, you'll need to get through at least the minimum requirements of the chemistry part of the major to get out of the building. May not even need to take biochemistry but I think you'll have to struggle through orgainc chemistry which is hard. Oh yeah, those National Forest people too like the rangers I think are biologist. Neat jobs I think. Marine biology too. I don't think they do too much chemistry.
  8. Sep 9, 2011 #7
    Lab biologists require alot of chemistry?
  9. Sep 9, 2011 #8


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    The majority of biology disciplines are lab based (the only field based ones would be along the lines of ecology/botany and animal studies) and all will require varying degrees of chemistry. Understand that at a fundamental basis biology is chemistry, it's simply a collection of dynamic chemical reactions that give rise to what we call life. What areas of biology are you interested in? I would be happy to brief you on what they entail.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  10. Sep 9, 2011 #9
    If you are interested in field study you can opt for ecology, marine biology or ethology; they don't require a lot of chemistry. However some basic knowledge of those long organic molecules (proteins, sugars, nucleic acids) is necessary for studying anything in biology. You don't need to know about every intermediate in a biochemical pathway, but you cannot do without knowing what a protein is.
  11. Sep 11, 2011 #10
    I guess if you take one of the routes described above, you'll encounter less chemistry. Personally I thought I wouldn't encounter too much chemistry, but I was wrong and didn't like it at first. But now I do, seems like science types just like to know how stuff works and you'll eventually start looking at areas related to the area you want to study. For instance, my Physiology teacher gets sidetracked a lot and talks about thermodynamics.
  12. Sep 11, 2011 #11


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    Compared to Chemistry and Physics, Biology is a mess. You learn to become more systematic in your thinking if you concentrate more on the physical sciences. Yes, you will also need some Mathematics. You can still do something including Biology, and the Chemistry courses can help you to understand more of what you seem to be struggling with right now.

    I felt like you do when I tried a Biology course beyond the Introductory course. I quickly lost all interest in anything biological, and just dealt with physical sciences and some Math. After graduation, I went back for just one more Introductory healt-related biological course, and I was amazed how interesting it seemed and how some of the chemical aspects were not so scary (although the chemistry knowledge required was not too complicated). I wished I knew this several years earlier; I might have done at least a couple more biological sciences courses.
  13. Sep 12, 2011 #12


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    That probably means you are expected to have better chemistry knowledge. I don't want to scare you, but it can mean it is time for some more work.
  14. Sep 12, 2011 #13

    jim mcnamara

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    The intro BIO I taught for years expected some basic high school Chemistry knowledge, but a lot of the Chem content was explained in the lectures and labs.

    The short answer is: you will be exepcted to have some understanding of "this stuff" when you are done with the course. Sounds like high school chemistry did not do much for you.
  15. Sep 14, 2011 #14
    You really need to read around the subject to give it a context and also to help familiarize yourself with these new concepts. Don't just read the chapter your supposed to learn or it will seem meaningless. I know it's especially hard with these chains of chemicals but the same things will start coming up again and again and it will start to mean something.
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