Difficult courses/major with no science background

Pose

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I'm a soon to be freshman with basically no science background from high school. That's so everyone knows why this information is relevant to me.

So, I have a somewhat broad question about difficulty levels, as far as science classes go. Are some classes just out of people's (people like me?) league, or do they simply not apply themselves enough to get good grades?

I ask because as it comes close for me to start school, I'm definitely questioning my abilities. I haven't really taken any science for a long time (aside from reading books on Biology), and it was very basic at that. I'm no math wiz, only have covered Intermediate Algebra. With all of that known, I'm very interested in Biochemistry, which is my desired major. Although I havent even taken high school chemistry, before.

Without beating around the bush further, am I too stupid for such a major, and to be able to handle the pre-med curriculum, or as long as I apply myself fully, I should be able to do just fine? I'm afraid I wasn't born with the right mind, although the topic is where my interest lies.

*FYI my high school study habits and grades reflect very little of what college will be like, I was homeschooled (travelling around the country for my mothers job (she's an agency RN)).

Thanks
 

TwoLegacies

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My undergrad had science classes for non-science majors. If yours offers that, try it. Those courses will be easier/less in-depth. Without having taken science in high school, you will definitely want to test the waters before jumping into a difficult major like biochemistry.

Another option, if you have it, is to take a science class pass/no pass instead of for a letter grade. There you can gauge your science ability without the risk of getting a bad grade (that is, if you can pass the class...).
And I'd suggest just taking one science class along with other gen ed non-science classes for your first semester. From there you can decide if it's right for you.
 

PineappleGirl

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I also would advise taking the most introductory science classes first, the ones designed for non-science majors. Usually these will be the first classes listed in the biology or chem department's course listings, or, if your school uses this system, the ones marked 100 or 101. Take a general one, not something specialized like geology or sociobiology. This should give you a feel for science. Make sure too you take one with a lab, so you can see what that's like.
 
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Thanks. I just looked it up. There is a Fundamentals of Chemistry course, split in to two semesters. Only problem is, it's for non chemistry majors only. Should I list my major as undeclared and test the waters, and then switch to biochemistry if I do well? Would that work?

Thanks.
 

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Pose said:
Thanks. I just looked it up. There is a Fundamentals of Chemistry course, split in to two semesters. Only problem is, it's for non chemistry majors only. Should I list my major as undeclared and test the waters, and then switch to biochemistry if I do well? Would that work?

Thanks.
If you have had very little science to date, it seems odd that you would select biochem as a major. I hope you realize that virtually any major is acceptable to med schools, so long as you pick up the necessary prerequisites. My advice is to try an introductory level science or two, like the one you mentioned, and then decide if you like it enough to major in it...
 
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Yeah, I understand the any-major-with-pre-reqs thing, but science has generally always interested me more than any other subject. I really-really enjoy neuroscience, aswell, having read everything I could find online and in the library over the past few years. Only my school doesn't offer anything like that as a major.

I'm just overall very fascinated with the evolution of life, and how everything living is made up of certain chemical makeups, and reactions. I have some weird little itch to understand anything about it that I can, and I guess I feel biochemistry will give me the biggest picture?
 

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Pose said:
Yeah, I understand the any-major-with-pre-reqs thing, but science has generally always interested me more than any other subject. I really-really enjoy neuroscience, aswell, having read everything I could find online and in the library over the past few years. Only my school doesn't offer anything like that as a major.

I'm just overall very fascinated with the evolution of life, and how everything living is made up of certain chemical makeups, and reactions. I have some weird little itch to understand anything about it that I can, and I guess I feel biochemistry will give me the biggest picture?

were science courses offered at your highschool?
 
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I was home schooled through an (accredited) organization that had all of it's course exams on their blackboard site, which boiled down to knowing a few definitions, and no labs whatsoever.

I guess a good first step would be to e-mail or call the admissions guy at the college, and try to get an appointment with someone. Maybe an advisor or something. If any of the intro level science courses were offered to chemistry majors, I'd be sure to do that, but as I figured, they expect you to already have a big foundation in the subject when choosing such a major.

Thanks for all of the advice, and any more is welcome.
 

PineappleGirl

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I suggest you go with an undeclared major for your first semester or two at least. So many people start as undeclared and so many people change their major that it's practically expected. I think your best bet in terms of testing the waters in science and maintaining your gpa is to be undeclared and take that fundamentals course you mentioned. It may be for non-science majors and likely you won't be able to use it as credit towards a biochem major, but it should give you a good feel for science and if you do well in it and decide to go on to biochem it will be a nice way to keep your science GPA high, very important if you're considering on applying to med school.

Definitely talk to an advisor at your school too, of course.
 

myodana

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for the the intro science courses. bio 101, chem 101 etc... in your first couple of semesters. you most likely won't have to declare a major until the end of your second year. they're tough, but you'll need them if you do end up applying to med school, even if you don't do the biochem major. good luck!
(OC class of '00 - double major in biology and dance, minor in chem)
 

KonHndrkx

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this reminds me a little of my own situation. in high school, i failed my science classes most of the time, and barely graduated. with a LOT of luck, i made it into college, and spent 2 years as a music major. when i decided to give medicine a shot, i switched my major to biochemistry. i managed to finish my degree 2 and a half years later, graduating cum laude with a pretty darn good science GPA.


i guess the point i m trying to make is that if this is what you want, you can pull is off. science classes can be just as hard or easy as any other class, so put your back into it and you'll be fine - whatever you decide to do, don't let the science intimidate you. g'luck !
 

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I never really took any serious science class until I got into college and I did just fine. You already answered your question though... "as long as I apply myself fully, I should be able to do just fine?" ;) I had to really apply myself and I spent A LOT of time studying. I started off with intro to chemistry (chem 101) and did fine. I didn't even do the 2nd part of it. I just went on to general chem, which is what entrance into med school requires. Intro to chem will not cut it for med school, but it's a good way to test the waters.
 

PuKcAo

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I came into college having never taken a hard class in my life. I made bad grades in hs and my senior year became very interested in medicine. My first semester of college i took animal biology--it is a pretty intense class compared to normal highschool classes. Anyways, I have done fine through all my pre-med reqs. All it takes is some hard work; go into the class knowing that you are going to have to study hard and study a lot. Maybe you should start out with a biology class so you can adjust to the increased rigor of college science before you are introduced to more difficult concepts associated with chemistry. This way, if you feel comfortable, you can move right in to general chemistry and not waste time in intro.

If you have the desire, then difficulty shouldn't stop you; learn to love challanges. Before you know it, it will be normal to you.
 
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Thanks a lot for all of the positive adivce, everyone. It's given me a better outlook, and boosted my confidence, which I guess is a large part of what I need. Confidence is motivation for a large part. Atleast to me.

Thanks again.
 

45408

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Pose said:
Yeah, I understand the any-major-with-pre-reqs thing, but science has generally always interested me more than any other subject. I really-really enjoy neuroscience, aswell, having read everything I could find online and in the library over the past few years. Only my school doesn't offer anything like that as a major.
Neuroscience is hardly related to biochemistry. If you like neuroscience, you should go into psychology, which is where most neuroscience research is done.
 

PhotoMD

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TheProwler said:
Neuroscience is hardly related to biochemistry. If you like neuroscience, you should go into psychology, which is where most neuroscience research is done.
I would say most neuroscience research is done in neuroscience, not psychology.
 
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I'm fully aware of the differences, thanks. I said as well as biochemistry.
 

45408

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PhotoMD said:
I would say most neuroscience research is done in neuroscience, not psychology.
ah, yes, let's please be a little more anally retentive in our definitions. Carry on.


hey, look at this! http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/bauer/1996/squire.html

The guy with several hundred neuroscience publications (I dare you to find someone with more) has a PhD in Neuroscience. Er, wait. Negative on that one. A PhD in PSYCHOLOGY. Go figure. :rolleyes:
 
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I downloaded the psychology handbook and list of available majors and concentrations, and the closest thing they have is a neurobiology course. I don't know. I'm not stuck on either of the two completely, we'll see which keeps my attention the greatest after I experience some.