ChemE major who hates Organic Chemistry

In summary, Chestermiller agrees that OC is a necessary foundation for a career in ChE, but it is not the substance of the major. He also advises sticking with it, as academia may use OC as a way to weed out students who are not committed to the major.
  • #1
toncini0891
1
0
I am a ChemE major, and I am currently in Organic Chemistry 2. I got through OC1 by the skin of my teeth, and I currently am sitting on a 60% in OC2. Do I need to re-evaluate my major? Do you guys have any tips on how to learn this stuff? I am acing all of the homework assignments, but when I get to the exam, it all looks like another language (probably because it is). I do all of the assigned problems, read the book, and I even bought OC2 for Dummies and OC as a Second Language. Things make sense, then I get to the exam. I really appreciate any help.
 
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  • #2
Welcome to Physics Forums. When I had OC, I did pretty well, but 2 months afterwards, I had forgotten everything I learned. This is the kind of stuff that doesn't stay with you if you don't use it all the time, which is the case for most of us ChE's. I look back in my OC text that we used (Allen and Bacon), and the notes in the margins are in my handwriting, but I have no recollection of ever writing them. During my career, I did lots of physical chemistry, thermo, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, and reactor engineering, but depended on chemists in our company to work out the qualitative details of the OC. So, don't give up on ChE just because of OC. If we ChE's all did that, there would be no ChEs.
 
  • #3
Stick with it, I think academia uses OC as a winnowing tool.
Chestermiller is entirely right in his guidance, as a ChE you are not tasked with developing the reactions that take place in the installations, but to create and maintain the right environment for them to occur. That demands a broader range of skills.
Admittedly, OC is pretty much the basis for most of the ChE industry, so it is useful to have at least an idea of what is happening, but it is not the substance of ChE.
 
  • #4
That is relieving to hear. I too am a ChemE major and dislike my OC class as well. I'm doing ok in it, but its not my cup of tea and I will be happier when its over.
 
  • #5


As a fellow scientist, I can understand your frustration with Organic Chemistry. It is a challenging subject, but it is an essential foundation for a career in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. It is important to remember that mastery of any subject takes time and effort. It is not uncommon for students to struggle with Organic Chemistry, even those who excel in other areas of science.

Before you re-evaluate your major, I would suggest seeking help from your professor or a tutor. They can provide additional resources and strategies to help you better understand the material. It may also be helpful to form a study group with classmates to discuss and practice problems together.

In addition to your current studying methods, I would also recommend actively engaging with the material. This can include creating flashcards, drawing out reaction mechanisms, and practicing with past exams. It may also be helpful to connect the concepts to real-world applications to make it more relatable and easier to remember.

Remember, it is normal to struggle with a subject, especially one as complex as Organic Chemistry. Don't be discouraged and continue to put in the effort, and I am confident that you will see improvement in your understanding and grades. Best of luck to you!
 

1. What is the ChemE major?

The ChemE major, or Chemical Engineering major, is a branch of engineering that applies principles of chemistry and physics to design, develop, and operate processes for the production of various chemicals and materials.

2. Why do some ChemE majors dislike Organic Chemistry?

Organic Chemistry is a required course for ChemE majors, but it can be challenging because it involves memorizing and understanding complex reactions and structures. Some students may also find it less interesting compared to other courses in the major.

3. Can you still be successful in the ChemE field if you dislike Organic Chemistry?

Yes, disliking Organic Chemistry does not necessarily mean you will not be successful in the ChemE field. There are many other aspects of the major, such as thermodynamics and process design, that you may find more interesting and excel in.

4. Are there any tips for a ChemE major struggling with Organic Chemistry?

Some tips for success in Organic Chemistry as a ChemE major include attending lectures and seeking help from professors or tutors, practicing problems regularly, and forming study groups with classmates. Also, try to find ways to relate the material to your interests in the field.

5. What career options are available for ChemE majors who dislike Organic Chemistry?

ChemE majors who dislike Organic Chemistry can still pursue a wide range of career options, such as process engineering, product development, environmental engineering, and research and development in areas such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and energy. It is important to explore different areas within the field to find the best fit for your interests and strengths.

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