Organic Chemistry is driving me insane

O. Chem class. If you approach it the wrong way, you'll spend more time trying to memorize things than actually understanding them. The key is to have fun with it, but also to apply yourself. Do your best to stay engaged and motivated.In summary, this student is complaining that science is too hard and that problem sets are too hard. He also says that organic chemistry is just too fundamental that it is hard to imagine a chemistry or biology program without it. He recommends a book called "The Art of Writing Reasonable Organic Reaction Mechanisms" by Robert Grossman.
  • #1
Hello guys I'm taking O-chem right now and it is giving me so much work constantly that I am seriously starting to purely hate it. How am I supposed to do all this? this is ridiculous. I'm still trying to understand the last chapter when we start a new one. My O-chem teacher is nice and all but I'm starting to hate him guts cause he just slams us with so much work. Not even my upper division math class or other upper division chemistry classes give me this much work. I don't know about upper div physics and biology classes but I didn't hear people from those classes telling me how intense their class was like it is in O-chem. What I'm wondering is, why this much f-ing work? What's the big deal with carbon anyway? Why do you think we care this much about your stupid molecules and reactions? My professor boasts how much chemistry makes more sense then biology but at the rate that he teaches stuff it doesn't make sense at all and biology makes a lot more sense totally. Besides chemistry doesn't compare at all to math when it comes to making sense anyway so I don't get why he feels so smart. This class is really starting to get on my nerves and I just wanted to vent it out. Man I hate it!
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  • #2
So is this just a rant? It's so inane I barely know how to address it.

Complaining that science is a lot of work or that problem sets are hard is a lot like going to the gym and complaining that the weights are heavy.

Organic chemistry is just so fundamental that it's hard to imagine a chemistry or biology program without it. Yeah, there's a steep learning curve but if you approach it properly you'll see that there are a lot of patterns that repeat themselves over and over again. Look for those patterns. Maybe it seems like a bunch of random rules but without these rules, processes in the environment or biological systems (to name only two examples) would seem even more random.

The fact of the matter is that these rules aren't random at all: they're based on thermodynamics, kinetics, and quantum mechanics/MO theory. If Organic Chemistry courses were taught that way, though, it would be easy to lose the forest for the trees. That's left for a course in Physical Organic Chemistry.

So, study hard and learn it as best you can! What is your major?
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  • #3
Please stop spamming the forum.
  • #4
sorry for the rant. I'm in a crappy mood right now. My major is biochemistry. I know organic chemistry explains a lot of nature and it is supposed to make sense. I did very well first quarter (I got an A-) and I felt like I got it under control But this quarter is a bit quicker and I'm also taking probability/statistics and differential equations and biology so I feel overwhelmed. I'm trying to minor or perhaps major in math and minor in physics. I'm just ranting, this class is really driving me insane though I really just can't keep up, I have to make a sacrifice on some homework assignment several times a week because I can't do them all. Sometimes I wonder if there really needs to be this much work in order for me to get the idea.
  • #5
Look into a book called "The Art of Writing Reasonable Organic Reaction Mechanisms" by Robert Grossman. It's pretty much the standard text for tackling organic reaction mechanism problems. If anything, read the first two chapters. It will help. It's probably in your university library.

Of course, this all depends on if you have time for it. One of the things you learn in college is how to budget your time and prioritize things. Hey, who knows: a few hours with a book that has a different perspective/focus might give you a better understanding of the subject and make you more efficient in tackling assignments. That is, you might "profit" with your time from an initial time investment.

What I've found from tutoring O. Chem for a few years is that people approach it the wrong way. As I mentioned, the only sensible way to study O. Chem is to look for patterns. A solid understanding of what you learned in O. Chem 1 is imperative to recognizing patterns: things like pKa's, the significance of transition states, factors that stabilize intermediates, aromaticity/anti-aromaticity, sterics, solvent effects, Sn1/Sn2/E1/E2 (since they're used as "models" for many more reactions, being comfortable with them let's you see similarities), etc. All that boring stuff is actually important. A second semester O. Chem class is where you put it all together and turn it into exciting and useful reactions (e.g., aldol condensations! amazing how useful those are.)

In a Biochemistry course, especially one where you discuss nucleic acid chemistry or enzymatic reactions, you'll see just how useful O. Chem is! Really, it's a cool class. Find some interesting application for it and it might be more fun to you.

Also, if there are specific problems you're struggling with, you should post them in the homework section and get advice.
  • #6
ok thanks for the reply. It helped calm me down. O. Chem should be fun. I don't want to hate it. It's a good science. okay back to work. Thanks.
  • #7
I admit to a little laughter on my part when you said "what's the big deal with carbon anway". I'm not laughing at you, just with you. I assume you were just having a bad day and that you can't possibly mean that seriously, especially as a biochemistry major of all things (you must have already learned the fundamental reason for the importance of carbon in nature, probably in the very first class you took).

I do have a little bit of advice - if you're having an angry moment, stay away from the keyboard. I sincerely hope your attitude to difficult work was only temporary, because if it wasn't, then you're going to have serious problems, not just in college but later in life, because working though difficult problems does not stop when you graduate, in fact it gets even more important. So put your nose to the grindstone, work hard, have a positive attitude, take personal responsibility for your work, and you will surely succeed. I've never met a person with the attitude of my previous sentence who has failed. Never.
  • #8
I will take your little piece of advice. And the rest of it. Thank you.
  • #9
Don't feel bad. I'm terrible at organic chemistry as well. For some people organic chemistry just doesn't make sense. Do your best and ride the curve.
  • #10
ha yeah...thank you.

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