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Getting disheartened

  1. Nov 30, 2011 #1
    I decided to become a scientist and its all I care about anymore. Consequently, I put all my time into this goal (meaning not just college time, my free time too) and I like doing that because I love science/technology related things. My brain wiring is not made for academia (I dropped out of high school at 15, I went back on got my high school diploma and got into a university chemistry course because I realized I have a passion for science) though, its made for practical matters so I learn far better by practice so I think I have to work much harder to do well in college. I'm in my 3rd year and we are doing internships and I only got a couple of interviews and got neither of the jobs. The people getting lots of interviews are the people who got good marks last year. I think I'd be far more fit for chemistry jobs than 95% of the applicants because I am so determined and am naturally skilled in practice matters and problem solving. Instead they give the jobs to people who are good with academic stuff. This disheartens me a bit. I intend on working as a chemist for a few years after getting my bachelors in order to gain real hands on experience before getting a PhD or masters or whatever so I can get into research fields. I'll also need to make money during this time period so I want to work as a chemist for a pharmaceutical company or something. Will I actually be able to get a good chemistry job when I have my degree though? I'm working like mad from now on so that I get good marks in my 3rd and 4th year but regardless of how hard I work, I don't conform well to the arbitrary system setup by universities so I think I have an unfair disadvantage and what I'm wondering is if my hard work will even pay off in the end.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2011 #2


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    If your schoolwork is anything like the above post it's not hard to see why you aren't getting whatever jobs are being offered. Perhaps you should work on expressing yourself more clearly (for example, with paragraphs and punctuation).
  4. Nov 30, 2011 #3
    It's not that you actually don't have the marks. It's that you have no social game. There i said it. You probably don't know how to do interviews at all. I don't either. You need to learn how to socialize and interact with people more to actually ace the interview.

    And here's the honest truth, you won't suceed in real life unless you are social. In academia, nobody cares as long as you get the papers churned out. (from what i've read anyway)
  5. Nov 30, 2011 #4
    Its your attitude towards the system that is suppressing your potential. The system is in place, conform or leave. If you don't like the system then what will you do? Your grade is often an indicator of your problem solving skills. If you get a C versus an A in an intro to Physics course then that:

    A) Says something about your problem solving skills or
    B) Says something about your lack of interest or
    c) Says something about your discipline to work to master and understand the material or
    D) Says something about your ability to keep up with the material;

    of which is essential to internships.

    Be careful not to ride the bandwagon so ease-minded. "They give jobs to people who are good with academic stuff." Then work at this academic stuff? You've dropped out of school and you have to work on it 2-3 times harder then everyone else.

    Then you prove that to them in the application! But all the pretty words in the world won't help you sometimes if they blatantly disagree with you, numbers talk louder then words.

    And one thing is that if you are naturally skilled in practice matters and problem solving then they will look at at your grades to confirm that; if you say you are skilled in problem solving and you have a 3.0 gpa or lower then that will hint of the latter. Your class is usually just a big problem to solve, "how can I learn this material or memorize the material superficially to fool others that I've learned the material?"
  6. Nov 30, 2011 #5
    Maybe, maybe not. He said that others are getting a lot of interviews. Not that he gets a lot of interviews and fails. His problem kind of sounds like he has trouble getting to the interviews. But either way knowing how to socialize and interact with others is a must!
  7. Nov 30, 2011 #6
    I'll second that.
  8. Nov 30, 2011 #7
    That aren't all the possibilities. For example, the professor could only give half credit, or no credit at all for a correct solution, but that has one simple mistake (for example, 3+5=7) . If you make a few of these mistakes, that could easily make your mark C, no matter how well you understand the subject.

    Sometimes, the professor writes marks based not on your understanding of the material, but based on your attendance to lectures and how much he likes you.

    These type of professors are not common, gladly.
  9. Nov 30, 2011 #8
    Oh I will. I don't care what it takes, I'm gonna finish top of the class. My average in labs is already 85% and I'm improving every time so it'll only get higher. I can happily study for 18 hours straight (I don't actually consider it studying, I do it for the fun) so when exam time comes around I'll be more than ready. I agree with what you said about my attitude. The systems in place so instead of thinking about its flaws, I might as well just learn how to maneuver my way through it and manipulate it. In fact, I will. Whatever it takes, I'll enhance my social skills. I was diagnosed with high functioning autism but luckily I can masquerade as someone with good social skills temporarily.

    Yep, very true and this is the core of the problem I have with college. I like to truly understand concepts instead of just learning what I need to know to pass exams. This is all good but it takes a lot longer. When the exam comes, sometimes there might be a few small holes in my knowledge (holes which people who memorized the lecture material do not have) and this prevents me from finishing a problem. The material covered by the lectures is just a percentage of my total knowledge but unfortunately its only the material in the lectures that will come up on the exam. As for attendance and lecturers not liking you, luckily it is anonymous marking in the big end of semester exams. At least I think it is. CA tests though, all that comes into play. While I used to be physically incapable of asskissing due to pride, I now see that as a flaw in my strategy. Social engineering is what it is. Social engineering is an extremely valuable skill to have in society. Having mild autism doesn't make it easy to get good at it but I suppose if I work like mad on it I can get as good as anyone else.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  10. Nov 30, 2011 #9
    It is foolish to move on to new material if you don't completely understand what is being talked about in class and consequently, what will be on the exam.
  11. Dec 1, 2011 #10
    I would be very surprised if your problem was that the graders didn't like you, or that you weren't kissing enough ***. Hell, a lot of professors will see right through it, and lose respect for you as a result. The best way to back up your claims about your problem-solving skills and motivation are to keep up that improvement in your grades. If your coursework shows dramatic improvement and consistent high-level performance for a decent length of time, people will be more apt to believe that you've turned yourself around.
  12. Dec 1, 2011 #11
    The course material provides pieces of concepts which are more often than not, not sufficient to understand the big picture and gain a profound understanding of the concepts. I've found out that I have a different style of learning and thinking to most people. Like many people with high functioning autism, I think in imagery. It is a highly effective way of thinking when it comes to science but I have to learn my own way because listening to a lecturer speaking doesn't work. However, some lecturers provide good diagrams in their slides and in that case I can learn from their lectures but they are never enough, to gain a true understanding I always need more than just a set of lecture slides. I have to sit in front of a computer so I can read multiple webpages, use google images, find animations on youtube etc. This is a highly effective way of learning but to do well in the tests I still have to go over the lecture notes and memorize everything that appears on them to be 100% sure that I know every single detail that might appear on the exam. A problem I have though is even when I fully understand the concept, I still don't get 100% on the exam. With mathematical questions I can't go wrong, if I write the algorithm and the correct answer theres no way the examiner can decide not to give me full marks but other types of questions, the marking system is very arbitrary. Lectures are geared towards auditory thinkers but I can't really complain because I have many serious advantages over auditory thinkers when it comes to chemistry. For example I can effortlessly visualise the molecular geometry of any molecule and figure things out by rotating the molecule in my head.

    PCSL sounds like you are a linear, auditory thinker and that you can work with parts as opposed to the whole. Others think differently and learn better using different methods. I need to take the whole system then back engineer it which is the opposite to gathering the parts and building it up piece by piece. I think this is a profound fact of life that most people fail to acknowledge. Different people have different brains and consequently, think differently.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  13. Dec 1, 2011 #12
    The irony...

    Anyway, OP, you have to play the game if you want to get an internship! If you were the head of a lab, how would you judge the hundreds of applications you're getting?
  14. Dec 5, 2011 #13
    Good point. I have a tendency to expect the interviewers to be able to read my mind. In reality, what they see is what I show them.
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