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Chemistry

Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited March 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Just took a chemistry quiz online, got 3/10 the first time and then 7/10 the second and final time.


1. Which of these elements has two s and six p electrons in its outer energy level?


a. He


b. O (my answer, it should be argon now that I read it I think)


c. Ar





2. As the wavelength of a light wave increases, its frequency and energy both decrease.
True
False (mine, book states this exactly, not sure why it is wrong)


3. An atom of nitrogen has two elections in a 1s orbital, two electrons in a 2s orbital, and one electron in each of three different 2p orbitals.
True
False (mine, I did the math and everything, not sure why this is wrong. Shit just looked, I meant to put true and I put false I guess....whatever)

Those are the ones I got wrong. No idea why, it was open book and I know the material. I got 10/10 on the previous two quizzes but this just doesn't make sense to me, I used the interet and the book for each answer and still got 3 wrong.

Anyways I am really not understand chemistry at all, there is just so much random stuff and it doesn't even feel remotely related to science. All we do is memorize things and there is rarely an explanation because we wouldn't be able to understand or we go into it later. I can't learn like that, I have to know why or it won't make sense to me, if there isn't a reason something works than it isn't worth remembering for me.

Does chemistry get better? If not I am changing my major.

Fizban140 on
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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Honestly it depends on your professors

    Have you tried talking to them during office hours?

    tofu on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah they explain things pretty well but some things still don't make sense like orbitals. I just don't understand the jump from 4 or 3d or whatever, is it because each orbital needs one before any gets two? I just don't quite get orbitals it is all memorization of the table.

    Fizban140 on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Understanding that stuff is like understanding a very strict language -- without knowing your orbitals and valences and all that, you can't move on to the practical aspects of chemistry.

    And it's why I changed my major, too.

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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You'll have to put up with a lot of memorization until you get the pre reqs to dive into classes like quantum mechanics and thermodynamics

    tofu on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Not sure if this is what I want then, guess I will finish the course and try the other sciences.

    Fizban140 on
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    PlutoniumPlutonium Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Firstly, most universities expect that if you're a chemistry major, you've had some basic general chemistry in high school. From your post, it sounds like all of this stuff is new to you.

    Secondly, you need more instruction in understanding the periodic table if you don't yet understand the numbering and the jumps between S, P, and D orbitals.

    What made you become a chemistry major in the first place?

    Plutonium on
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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Every field of science has tons of memorization

    tofu on
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    strakha_7strakha_7 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Looks like you figured the first and third one out. So the second:

    E = hf
    v = c = f*(lambda) (this is a basic wave velocity, frequency, wavelength relationship. c is the speed of light)

    Do some algebra and convince yourself that as wavelength (lambda) increases, its frequency decreases. Thus its energy also decreases. You must be misinterpreting the textbook somehow, because the answer IS supposed to be true.

    I switched out of physics into math this semester (second year). All sciences are full of having to memorize key things. If you don't "speak" math well (I'm talking large PDEs, Schrodinger's equation is just the tip of the iceberg) then physics won't be your bag. I made it through first year chemistry with the aid of memorization.

    Not much of the material I learnt in first year second semester chemistry was explained in terms of first principles. I think you're experiencing something most chemistry students do in first year.

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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    I needed a major and I picked chemistry. I have no fucking idea how this process is suppose to work. I took chemistry in high school, that was about 8 years ago.

    Fizban140 on
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    TheSuperWootTheSuperWoot Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm a second year chem/biochem major and I really disliked gen chem in high school so much that I just skipped our gen chem intro courses here, and I really like chemistry! Sadly, the skills you learn in gen chem are pretty essential to understanding things later down the line, if you don't understand orbitals and valences and such you'll have a really hard time understanding mechanisms and reactions. Having said that I will say that in my opinion chem does get a lot better after gen chem. I'm having a lot of fun finishing up organic chemistry and looking forward to starting thermodynamics/quantum next year, although I may not be the norm as most people I've ever talked to have hated everything about organic chem.

    I'll also echo Tofu's sentiments by saying that any science field has a lot of facts that you'll need to initially just accept as truths without knowing why, because explaining why they are true would require a much higher understanding of the topic than someone starting out could ever have. Also, definitely do not go into bio if memorization of facts is not something that you enjoy doing.

    Edit: Your opinion also may differ based on how the course is taught. Starting with our organic chemistry sequence all the reactions are broken down into first principles so you should know why something like a wittig reaction goes and not just memorize what happens.

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    strakha_7strakha_7 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's nothing to get in a huff over. You have to have a declared major past first year in Canada, I guess you have to do so earlier in the States. It doesn't matter, in the end you register for what you want and can sort out the major later.

    (I am not a university advisor! I am still registered as a Physics Major, for example, until I decide if I want to do Math Honours or Major at the end of this semester. Nobody cares at Dalhousie)

    Ok, I reread the original post and the thread and you are still not getting much love from the third question.

    Orbitals are annoying, but the way they behave give some interesting properties of metals. For example, Nitrogen is not quite as reactive as its place in the periodic table would suggest. This is because the 2p orbitals fill up with the electron spins matching. That is, rather than having one full orbital and one half full one, you have three half-full orbitals that have the spin of their electrons going the same way.

    The same thing happens for Mn. (move down the column for similar properties)

    Part of why Cu, Ag, and Au are such good conductors are another example of why orbitals are worth knowing a bit about. Rather than filling the s and almost filling the d orbital, for these elements the d orbital fills completely and leaves one valence electron in the s orbital (a weakly held electron).

    And then there's anti-bonding and bonding orbitals when considering molecules, which will be a real headache. But the main thing is to get comfortable with what orbitals represent, and how they behave.

    Chemistry is all about stability. Systems tend to their most stable states.

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    ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban, I don't know about your University, but the ones I've looked at all require math up through Calculus 3. From previous posts .. is Chemistry the major you want?

    Chemistry is math and memorization heavy. Organic chemistry was my personal hell and that's as far as I had to go for my Bio degree.

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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    I have no idea, I never really tried in school so I have no idea if I am any good at math or not. I mean if I decide that I just suck at math then that leaves me with maybe a business degree for degrees I want a job with. If I try math and actually get good at it or find out it is manageable I can maybe do something that isn't business.

    Fizban140 on
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    DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Think about number two like this:

    You have to remember that as the frequency of a wave increases, it will carry more energy. Just accept it.

    Now, if your frequency is increasing then your wavelength (or period) is actually decreasing (that is, the peaks of the waves are getting closer together). If your frequency is decreasing then your wavelength is increasing (the peaks of the waves are becoming further apart).

    Demerdar on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    I honestly have no fucking idea how to pick a major, if I did what I like I would just play video games. That gets me nowhere.

    Fizban140 on
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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Withdraw and go to a community college so you can explore different majors for a year or two.

    My freshman year I rushed into a 4 year university in a computer science and engineering program and hated it, but I couldn't take any other classes outside of the program since they railroad kids through to get them out in 4 years. The best choice I ever made was withdrawing (in good standing) and attending a community college for 2 years while I decided what degree I wanted and then transferring to a 4 year school for another 2 years to complete my degree.

    tofu on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    I am at a community college now actually. But how much do the classes really relate to the job you will have? I mean I enjoy world politics and composition but I would have a job with that.

    Fizban140 on
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    CervetusCervetus Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    For 1, if a (neutral) atom has a full outer shell then it is always a noble gas.

    For 2, as others have said the energy of a wave is related to its frequency. Maybe you're thinking of the speed of the wave, which would stay the same for every electromagnetic wave.

    For 3, you spread electrons across orbitals of equal energy first, then start to double up the electrons. Electrons like space like that, but less so than they like being in a lower-energy orbital.

    I was actually in a similar position as you, just sort of picked chemistry as a major and went with it. Gen chem was kind of interesting to me, but mostly for the labs, then organic chemistry was a bitch and a half. I really, really enjoyed learning about the transition metals though. Now I've graduated and actually work as a chemist, and although I could have easily picked something else and maybe even would have enjoyed it more, now I feel like I *am* a chemist and don't want to leave the field. The good thing about college, though, is that you can take all sorts of different classes and see what appeals to you.

    Cervetus on
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    tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    As someone who graduated with a BS in Chemistry over 6 months ago and still hasn't been able to find work in the field I can't answer that question :x

    tofu on
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    DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    I honestly have no fucking idea how to pick a major, if I did what I like I would just play video games. That gets me nowhere.

    I remember you've had some issues with math on here in the past. I would rethink the sciences. In all honest, biology might be better suited for you. Chemistry is pretty math heavy (as is most majors in the sciences). I think you need to take a few more classes in a different focus, see what you're good at (and if you enjoy it).

    Demerdar on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm a biologist, but let's see if I still remember my chemistry.
    1. Which of these elements has two s and six p electrons in its outer energy level?

    There can only be one of each type of subshell (s,p,d, etc.) in any given energy level, or electron shell. Level 1 (the innermost shell) contains 1 subshell. The next one contains two of them. All you need to memorize is the non-alphabetical nomenclature (s,p,d,f,g): shell (or energy level) 1 contains only an s subshell; shell 2 contains an s and a p; shell 3 contains s, p and d; shell 4 contains s, p, d and f; etc. These are often named 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 3d, etc.

    The maximum number of electrons allowed at each subshell starts with 2 (in the s subshell) and increases by 4 for each of the further subshells. In other words, 2, 6, 10, 14, etc. As far as I know, subshells up to 3p are always filled to the maximum allowed number; beyond that, it gets tricky. In other words, for any element up to atomic number 18 (Argon), this problem can be solved just by looking up the total number of electrons in the Periodic Table, then filling each energy level in order.

    But there's a simpler way. Based on the above, your problem can be read as: "Which of these elements has at least 8 electrons (2 s + 6 p) in its outer energy level?" This in turn means that your element must have at least 10 electrons in total, because there must also be an innermost energy level with exactly 2 s electrons. Check out the Periodic Table; of your three elements, the only one with an atomic number of 10 or more is Argon (18).

    You don't have to memorize a lot of stuff, but you do need to accept the fact that you need to consult resources like the Periodic Table a lot.
    2. As the wavelength of a light wave increases, its frequency and energy both decrease.
    True
    False (mine, book states this exactly, not sure why it is wrong)

    Either your book is wrong or you're misreading it. Note that the speed of light is constant, so you can't treat this as a mechanical wave. The wavelength of light is inversely proportional to its frequency and energy (higher frequency = higher energy). Frequency f = c/l, where c is the speed of light (constant) and l is the wavelength. So the statement in the problem is True.
    3. An atom of nitrogen has two elections in a 1s orbital, two electrons in a 2s orbital, and one electron in each of three different 2p orbitals.
    True
    False (mine, I did the math and everything, not sure why this is wrong. Shit just looked, I meant to put true and I put false I guess....whatever)

    See my comment on problem #1. Nitrogen's atomic number is 7, so it has 2 * 1s electrons, 2 * 2s electrons, and 3 * 2p electrons (or you can use this super handy table derived from the periodic table). The subshells are composed of atomic orbitals, each of which can hold 2 electrons (thus s subshells have one orbital, p subshells have 3, d have 5, etc.); whenever possible, each electron likes to occupy its own private orbital. So yeah, there are three 2p orbitals, and three 2p electrons, so you do have one electron in each of three different 2p orbitals.
    Anyways I am really not understand chemistry at all, there is just so much random stuff and it doesn't even feel remotely related to science. All we do is memorize things and there is rarely an explanation because we wouldn't be able to understand or we go into it later. I can't learn like that, I have to know why or it won't make sense to me, if there isn't a reason something works than it isn't worth remembering for me.

    Does chemistry get better? If not I am changing my major.

    Sounds more like poor teaching than a problem with the subject. But in every applied field, like chemistry or biology, there's a certain set of basics that you just have to accept at face value, or else you'll go insane trying to understand the root cause for everything. Because ultimately the atomic orbitals are about quantum physics. You just need to have a working knowledge of atomic electron configuration in order to make any sense of how atoms interact with each other and with photons. Everything else follows logically from that. So to answer your question, yeah it probably does get better. :)

    Bliss 101 on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Do biologists even get jobs? I haven't heard good things about biology.

    Fizban140 on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    Do biologists even get jobs? I haven't heard good things about biology.

    Yes, if you specialize in something with medical or industrial applications. Or if you're motivated and good at what you do. That's how I see the European job market anyway; no idea about the U.S.

    Bliss 101 on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Does motivated and good at what you do mean masters+? Usually from what I hear it doesn't matter how well you do in college really, more about the connections you make.

    Fizban140 on
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    BoomShakeBoomShake The Engineer Columbia, MDRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    Does motivated and good at what you do mean masters+? Usually from what I hear it doesn't matter how well you do in college really, more about the connections you make.

    This is true of pretty much every major and profession at this point.

    BoomShake on
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    As7As7 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    There are quite a few jobs available to all science majors. With a bio degree you can work for the government, work with animals in almost any occupation, or go into the biotech industry. With chemistry you can get involved in industrial chemical operations or the environmental analysis/survey industry. And that's just a few, but you have to get a start somewhere and experience takes time to come by.

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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Looks like I just need to spend quite a lot of time outside of class on chemistry memorizing stuff. I understand the positioning of the S part of the periodic table but going across starting at K doesn't make sense to me.
    K 4s1 Ca 4s2 that makes sense to me since I guess they act like elements above it so they have to have similar valence shells...now why does it go V 3d3 Cr 4s1 3d3 then back to Mn 3d3 I don't get it.

    Fizban140 on
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    SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The short explanation is: Those configurations have the lowest energy available. 4s and 3d are really close to each other in energy. For now it's probably better to remember where the skips are.

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    BoomShakeBoomShake The Engineer Columbia, MDRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Read this: Electron Configuration
    Two images on there to pay attention to are:
    500px-Electron_orbitals.svg.png
    and
    500px-Klechkowski_rule_2.svg.png

    This fill order is because energy levels are actually split.:
    Level.gif

    BoomShake on
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    DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    Honestly, I'm just going to straight up say you should change majors based on the number of threads you've made in H/A asking for help with math. I'm not calling you stupid, but it's clear you just don't get some pretty fundamental stuff. I'm not going to pretend I know why. But you're just not getting it and it seems like you picked your major not because you have any interest in any of the sciences but because you see job potential in them and figure it's as simple as declaring a major and going to the classes and now you're really frustrated because none of it makes sense to you.

    Druhim on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    Druhim wrote: »
    Honestly, I'm just going to straight up say you should change majors based on the number of threads you've made in H/A asking for help with math. I'm not calling you stupid, but it's clear you just don't get some pretty fundamental stuff. I'm not going to pretend I know why. But you're just not getting it and it seems like you picked your major not because you have any interest in any of the sciences but because you see job potential in them and figure it's as simple as declaring a major and going to the classes and now you're really frustrated because none of it makes sense to you.

    So I am just suppose to suck at math and never get better? I haven't done math in like 6 years, and when I took math classes in school I didn't even really do it, there was never a need. I just cheated and on the homework and bullshitted the tests and passed every class.

    Going into a career without job potential is for idiots, it is a huge life and financial decision. Spending $40,000 and four years of your life on college better have a nice pay off, if not you are sort of fucked in life.

    I didn't just pick a major, I enjoyed biology and the chemistry parts of it so I am trying to narrow down a science.

    Fizban140 on
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    DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't get how you enjoyed chemistry but you aren't getting this basic stuff. Electron orbitals were covered in my survey chemistry course for an AA. I'm just being practical enough to observe that you're constantly having to ask for help on really basic stuff here on the forums. You simply don't seem to be learning what you're supposed to be learning, and you're not even getting close to the challenging stuff yet. Are you going to bring the forums with you to take your chem or bio tests for you in the future when you still don't get it?

    Druhim on
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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm slogging through physical chemistry, this semester, which explains in excruciating detail why you get to look at those fancy balloon animal orbital diagrams, using multivariable calculus.

    FWIW: Quantum and orbital structures will not make solid sense to you without multiple years of chemistry and mathematics behind your belt, as well as basic physics. You aren't asked to know these things in detail at your level, mainly because it would both drive you insane and be way above your head. The best part about a chemistry major is that EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING you learn will come back in another class in greater and more glorious detail. Trying to pretend you don't need to know it because it doesn't have a point right now is futile if you want to stick with chemistry.

    That being said, follow aufbaus rule, be able to draw the thing on your test and then profit! If you know how electron orbitals fill, which you do from aufbaus filling rule, you can figure out orbital diagrams. It can be daunting, based on the amount of letters you end up with, but just remember that those are shorthand for stuff you would never want to write out all the way.

    ALSO HERE IS THE MOST FANTASTIC HINT EVER:

    The period table already holds all the info you need, you just have to know how to extract it!!!!
    periodic-orbitals.gif

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    You are totes right dude, chemistry is too hard for me I just can't make the cut. I should quit now while I am ahead.

    Man I am probably not smart enough for physics either, mind as well not even try that. I should just become an english major and work at starbucks.


    That is the joke right?

    Fizban140 on
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    DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't see how it's a joke when you have to keep asking H/A to help you with your homework at least once a week and you're just on the basic stuff. But it's your life. Do what you want.

    Druhim on
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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    Does motivated and good at what you do mean masters+? Usually from what I hear it doesn't matter how well you do in college really, more about the connections you make.

    Most biology and science jobs that pay well require at least a masters. If you don't like something, don't make it your major. If you enjoy politics and composition, do political science. People may say "useless degree", but you can still get a corporate job with any major, really.

    schuss on
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    Raif SeveranceRaif Severance Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm slogging through physical chemistry, this semester, which explains in excruciating detail why you get to look at those fancy balloon animal orbital diagrams, using multivariable calculus.

    P-Chem and P-Chem lab were the most difficult classes I've ever taken and I don't envy you. I sometimes wake up at night in terror thinking I've forgotten about a lab report.

    I didn't really do that great in general chem and I actually found organic chem to be much easier for me to wrap my head around. Don't be upset if you don't understand all there is to know about chemistry in two semesters. As someone mentioned previously, it is a new language and it takes a while to understand what the hell it means.

    I ended up getting a degree in biochemistry and really enjoyed the biology aspect more than the chemistry but was too close to finishing my chem degree and I wanted to get the hell out of undergrad. When I started looking for jobs about 2-3 years ago I had an extremely difficult time (read: impossible) finding anything. Now I'm back in school. Yay.

    Raif Severance on
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    IceyIcey Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fizban, how much do you study? You should generally be spending at least two hours studying on your own for every hour of class time. I'm also kind of curious what school you are going to; are you in the Twin Cities? The Chem department at the University of Minnesota has a list of graduate students that provide private tutoring (you don't need to go to the UofM) that I could probably find the contact information for, if you're interested.

    Also, I wouldn't be too discouraged yet about Chemistry. I was great at it in high school, and then got to college and struggled with the pace of gen chem my first semester. I eventually realized that I was studying like I was in high school (hardly at all) and that I just needed to put a little more effort in.

    About your complaint about "random stuff" I think you'll run into that with any freshman-level science class. You just don't have enough of a background in the subject yet to understand the real physical/chemical reasons for many of the things you learn. A lot of it you just have to accept for now and memorize. That said, some professors are better than others, a good professor will probably provide a context for what you are learning. That is where a tutor could really help you, by giving you a different perspective on the material.

    Icey on
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    DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You seem very job oriented.

    My advice would be to go with that and look at your endgame. What do you want to be doing? If you're down with chemistry, start thinking about being a chemical engineer. Talk to your chem professors and get some contacts and talk to them. See if you can set up a shadowing at their work.

    I say this because it doesn't seem like you love the science, so you better make damn sure you love the job. I have friends that are chemical engineers, and it's not an easy job (though they do make bank pretty much right out of college- caveat- they had to move cross country to advance their careers).

    If you don't have a particular passion, it's much more helpful to think about the actual careers and lifestyles that go along with a given field.

    Derrick on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2011
    I go to Minneapolis Community College, I don't study enough, I didn't realize until recently how far behind I was in Chemistry since I was doing so well on the quizes, except the last one. I studied less than an hour a week outside of school but I am going to change that.

    I don't know what my passions are, I like games? That doesn't help me, I mean I never thought of rigging up a hot air balloon outside my 3rd story window, or starting to grow bacteria in dishes for fun, but I don't think that means I hate science.

    I have no fucking clue about where I want to work, like I have said before I just know it isn't in the military. I don't want to work on aircraft and I don't want to work outside all the time. I hate jobs that don't keep you mentally engaged, things that keep you busy make time go by faster.

    Fizban140 on
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