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I'm seriously considering dropping pre-med because of Orgo

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vin5cent0

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I realize how stupid that sounds, but god, I am so damn lost in this class. We had one 50 min lecture on NMR spectroscopy. The next day, we had an in-depth lab on it. My teacher made me feel like a ******* when I started asking basic questions. The next day at lecture, we had already moved on to a new topic, yet we're supposed to understand NMR spectroscopy enough to be tested on it from now on. Every subject is treated like this; we have one 50 min lecture on something, and then we're done. Moved on. Expected to know it by the next lecture completely.

I just spent 3ish hours in the library going over our text on NMR. I walked away just as confused as I was earlier. I can't even talk to my teacher because he makes you feel like a *******.

We had our first test last week. I got a C on it. I suppose I should be grateful because our class average as an F! I did decently on it until I got to a section where our prof asked us the same question 3 different times, using different molecules. I apparently didn't know how to do it and got all of them wrong, which lowered my grade drastically.

I remember last year a doctor came in and joked about how when he was in college, 90%+ of pre-meds at his school droppd because of Orgo, and I laughed thinking how ridiculous that was. Now I'm thinking that if I can't even get a decent grade in Orgo, how can I really expect to do well in med school?

I've tried talking to my teacher, I attended a few student instructor lessons (didn't help), I've now purchased my THIRD self-help book (Orgo for dummies, Orgo has a 2nd language, Orgo Demystified).. still lost. Has anyone else gone through this and prevailed?! This is driving me nuts because I'm now taking only upper level classes for my major, and this is the only one giving me any trouble. I spend 90% of my study time on this one class and still do poorly in it. I dont' want to come accross as a whiner, I just want to know (and hope) that others have gone through this same crap and still wound up walking away with a decent grade come the end of the semester. Lie to me if you must!
 

mbdenver

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A C on the first test should not kill your grade for the semester. However, in my experience O Chem professors love spectroscopy - NMR, IR, MS. You will see it again so you will have to learn it. I know you said you went to student instructor lessons, have you tried meeting with a tutor? They are hit or miss but if you find a good one it might be enough to get you through the class with a decent grade. You'll still have to work your ***** off but hopefully it will be for A's and B's instead of C's. Don't let the orgomonster derail your plans!
 

JJMrK

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NMR is pretty critical to ochem, but luckily enough it just takes some practice. If there are problem sets in the book, do them. Problems that give you a few compounds and ask you to match a spectrum to them are particularly good.
 

redlight

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honestly, nmr/organic in general is no big deal with enough practice. if you are shaky on the concepts, and your text isnt helping you, think outside the box for more help. look for other sources of help. my favorite is to just google the topic. wiki usually comes up, but there are other great/detailed sites for help. if you are a visual/audial type of learner, just youtube nmr or something and im sure a great lecturer will pop up. once you've read about it, seen it, heard it, etc., from different approaches im sure you'll find one that works for you. don't give up; just keep working at it. if your teacher sucks, try and find a friend who has taken organic or a nice tutor/TA/prof to help you out.

the final step is to do a butload of example problems from everywhere (online quizzes, book psets, random common organic molecules you see online). just remember to revisit class notes and review all examples done in class. that's what you truly have to know 100% for the test, in my experience.
 

CoolWhipp

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O-chem is just one year of classes, don't let it stop you.
 

iMD

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man im so bewildered as to how people say ochem is hard. it was easily my favorite class and i would take it 10 times out of 10 over any other pre-med class. good thing for you med school is nothing like ochem.

anyway, all you have to do is memorize, practice, and seek out a tutor if you have to. rinse and repeat until you got it down.
 

280224

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There really isn't anything too complicated about NMR if you take it step by step. Make sure you know the basic concepts first and memorize all important information and numbers WELL before moving onto the more advanced concepts. Don't approach the subject like it's something that's impossible for you to grasp.

I do think that if you don't do decently well in ochem maybe medicine isn't the right career for you. But people have gotten into med school with Cs in ochem before so don't panic too much, just make sure you excel where you can.
 

JJMrK

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man im so bewildered as to how people say ochem is hard. it was easily my favorite class and i would take it 10 times out of 10 over any other pre-med class. good thing for you med school is nothing like ochem.

anyway, all you have to do is memorize, practice, and seek out a tutor if you have to. rinse and repeat until you got it down.

Different strokes for different folks.
 

vman51

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If the prof isn't too receptive, try the local tutors, or just a friend/acquantance who took it before..

I'm sure there's people on here that wouldn't mind..

if books arn't cutting it, try video's online..I know some of the MCAT prep-books had pretty good bare-bones info on some O-chem topics, that may be a good place to start getting an idea and dig deeper once you have a fundamental understanding..

don't worry, orgo is tough for most, including myself..but one day, hopefully, you'll be able to look back and wonder why you stressed as much as you did..
 

jakefsu

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ha, i also loved ochem.

But i went to a state school, it's not that hard. Just a lot of memorizing.
You may also want to try buying another text book (the big $100+ ones required for the course, but a different one). not all of them are the same.
 

Raigon

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Hey - every path someone takes has a brick wall, whether it's law, political science, business, engineering, etc. I barely passed Organic chemistry, because I almost flunked my 1st two exams.

And yes 90% of the students drop because of OC, but in a way, it's also a natural selection system. Do you really want to become a doctor? If so, then don't give up. Some people meet this brick wall and turn around. Some smash through the brick wall while some chip away at it one brick at a time.

A poem I wrote to encourage my friend should demonstrate this:

"Though day may pass and come forth black night,
With every coming darkness, there will always be new light."

I'm applying right now and organic chemistry didn't stop me.
And if OC didn't stop me, nothing can and nothing will stop me from becoming a doctor.

And form a study group. That saved my arse.
 

Depakote

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Sometimes a good professor/tutor/etc can really be a lifesaver, I'm sorry you're struggling with your current prof.

I wouldn't give up just yet.

As mentioned above, I wouldn't quit just because you're struggling. I'd find a tutor, a student that really understands the material and work with them until you've got a good grasp of the material. Do practice problems, work through what you expect to see on the test until you've mastered it.

It's a tough class with some hard concepts, and it's not always taught well... but it can be tackled.
 
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Clairea11

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We had our first test last week. I got a C on it. I suppose I should be grateful because our class average as an F!

If you got a C, and the class average is an F, won't you have a high grade after the teacher makes the curve?

I agree with the other posters. Tutors are very helpful. And keep going to your professor and TAs, if for no other reason than they'll know you're trying hard to understand the material.
 

flip26

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If you are thinking about quitting now, just wait until the MCAT.

I say quit now - this process will consume your life for the next 2+ years - and 60 percent of those who apply don't get accepted anywhere - these are people who actually survived O-Chem.

The odds are against you every step of the way.
 

Suenya

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I also found Orgo to be one of the easier and more fun premed classes, but alot of people struggle with it, and many of them become doctors.

First, your class may be curved so that a C becomes a B or something in the end. If you don't want to be a doctor enough, there are other fields that are great and that are not as hard to get into. You may want to consider them. There are other routes to similar careers without as hard orgo classes.

There are other medical options too, if you want to work in medicine. Even NPs have far easier orgo to take (and just one semester), and while they generally make less and have a bit less independence (at least technically if not practically in some arrangements) they tend to be great. They don't have the same depth and breadth of education as physicians, but that doesn't stop the at least (estimation) top 10% of NPs from being better clinicians than the bottom 20% of physicians.

If you are committed to this path, however, there are alot of options.

If your school doesn't have a tutoring service, you should try to find someone who has taken it or is taking it and understands it better than you.

The internet is a great, great resource. I don't have any of the sites saved, but I found tons of sites on NMR and different reactions that helped explain things way better when I was in orgo.

Some books have great workbooks with them that have even more questions, and then step by step answers with reference to where you should find them in your book. If your book doesn't, it might be worth getting a second book with a workbook, and using that with your book to help you through. You just have to make sure you are matching topics right, which could get confusing.

If you are that worried about your grade, and you still can drop without a mark, you might want to drop orgo and try next year, or after graduation somewhere else. It might help you to take it alone, or with fluff classes, so that you can devote alot of time to it. I know people who have done that for all sorts of different classes and then done much better.
 

ruiner

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Orgo was my favorite pre med class haha. <--nerd
 

eschaton88

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Honestly it sounds like you are already at the high end of the curve...the prof won't leave the average at an F or he/she will just end up with the same students retaking it next year, so your C will probably get adjusted up. I can't really give you any studying advice seeing as I did pretty poorly in Orgo, other than concentrate more on general mechanisms than individual synthesis.

Also when I was taking orgo I was really freaking out over my grades and went around and asked every doctor I knew how they did in the class. Out of the 15 or so docs I talked to the answer was Cs or "Horrible. It was so awful I don't even want to tell you." The only doctor I know who got As both semesters of orgo took 3 tries to get into med school. I mean most of them didn't go to a top tier school but you can still be a good doctor with a sub-par orgo grade. You just have to get through the class.
 

BlueElmo

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It would be silly to give up your aspirations to become a doctor just because of difficulty in one class. Chances are, you are going to be facing harder classes down the road in college and medical school. You should grit your teeth, and explore ways to improve yourself here. Like others said, study groups, going to office hours, different study strategies, tons of practice problems etc to better understand the material. Good luck, OP.
 

Blesbok

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Dont stress.

I was a chem major and I hated ochem. I loved every other chem class but ochem. I just pushed through and you should also. I am doing better than fine in med school without a love for ochem.
 

Nilf

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I realize how stupid that sounds, but god, I am so damn lost in this class. We had one 50 min lecture on NMR spectroscopy. The next day, we had an in-depth lab on it. My teacher made me feel like a ******* when I started asking basic questions. The next day at lecture, we had already moved on to a new topic, yet we're supposed to understand NMR spectroscopy enough to be tested on it from now on. Every subject is treated like this; we have one 50 min lecture on something, and then we're done. Moved on. Expected to know it by the next lecture completely.

I just spent 3ish hours in the library going over our text on NMR. I walked away just as confused as I was earlier. I can't even talk to my teacher because he makes you feel like a *******.

We had our first test last week. I got a C on it. I suppose I should be grateful because our class average as an F! I did decently on it until I got to a section where our prof asked us the same question 3 different times, using different molecules. I apparently didn't know how to do it and got all of them wrong, which lowered my grade drastically.

I remember last year a doctor came in and joked about how when he was in college, 90%+ of pre-meds at his school droppd because of Orgo, and I laughed thinking how ridiculous that was. Now I'm thinking that if I can't even get a decent grade in Orgo, how can I really expect to do well in med school?

I've tried talking to my teacher, I attended a few student instructor lessons (didn't help), I've now purchased my THIRD self-help book (Orgo for dummies, Orgo has a 2nd language, Orgo Demystified).. still lost. Has anyone else gone through this and prevailed?! This is driving me nuts because I'm now taking only upper level classes for my major, and this is the only one giving me any trouble. I spend 90% of my study time on this one class and still do poorly in it. I dont' want to come accross as a whiner, I just want to know (and hope) that others have gone through this same crap and still wound up walking away with a decent grade come the end of the semester. Lie to me if you must!

Adapt or quit.

This is the advice that you will be hearing over the course of your medical career. Over and over and then some more. Get used to it.
 
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shiftingmirage

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What book are you using? We used a book by Janice something with a G Smith. I really liked and and found it easy to understand. Examples galore. I'm sure others on here have orgo books they recommend. Find one that works for you.
 

oaklandguy

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Yeah, orgo is the weed-out class. They are trying to get people to drop Pre-Med. Just fight it, practice the NMR a ton and you'll be fine. NMR doesn't come naturally, no one understands it without practicing it and reading about it and going over examples. It's worth it when you figure it out and understand it because most chemistry labs that do research use NMR.

Orgo is a hard class, just devote yourself to it and treat it like it's the hardest thing ever. Because in reality it is one of the harder classes you will take in undergrad.

My book also happened to suck. We used the book with Author: Bruice. Make sure to use all your resources including tutors and what-not and study as hard as you can for the next test. Don't allow yourself to do poorly and you won't do poorly.
 

Long Dong

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If you can't handle orgo (cake walk) you most likely won't be able to handle med school (drinking from a fire hydrant).
 

Diggidy

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Honestly, learning NMR in lecture is pointless and would take too long. I took OCHem II with Organic lab and NMR became a breeze, because in lab you do NMR all the time and it becomes second nature. It's tough to learn for lecture because really you just need to practice it a lot, which you get in lab. I wouldn't drop OChem, or let ONE class stop you from pursuing what you want to do. Although, I think you need to 'sack' up a bit and get some confidence, because second guessing yourself and having a defeatist attitude isn't going to help you out at all.

EDIT: I really don't agree with people saying OChem is the hardest UG class pre-meds take. I got an A both semesters of OChem, and although it was a lot of studying and practicing problems, there aren't terribly difficult concepts to understand, there are just a **** load of mechanisms and reaction you have to memorize. Now my neuroscience class on the other hand is slowly pounding me into the ground.
 

boaz

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Your predicament is very common. There are lots of 4.00's out there who get to orgo only to find that it is a qualitatively different way of thinking from what they've seen or ever will see again (as all you med students, residents etc. can attest to).

You need to shift gear when approaching orgo. It is especially important to get to the bottom of every mechanism. Keep asking yourself "why does this happen" until you annoy yourself.

Don't let this beast scare you.

Good luck.
:luck:
 

casillas

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my school has group tutoring for O Chem and i think that kept me from failing the class.

I honestly understand what you're going through. On the day i finished o chem, i went and bought myself a gift.

One thing i wish i had started doing early on is reading the text before class and understanding the best i can and then going over it again after class. The class needs A LOT of time as in a couple of hours a day (Whether or not you have a midterm coming up) and do ALL the practise problems in the book and ask for help if you do not understand anything.

Organic Chemistry is honestly like learning a foreign languauge it takes a while to get the basics of the language down but then after that it becomes a bit easier (not easy, just easier)
 
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Confused2626

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Yeah, orgo is the weed-out class. They are trying to get people to drop Pre-Med.

Don't adopt this attitude because then you're setting yourself for a heap of trouble. THEY, "the man", your school, your prof, whatever....are not trying to fail you! Nobody gets pleasure out of failing anybody.

You said you feel stupid talking to the professor? Suck it up. Ask questions that you want to ask, you are PAYING for this service and it is your professors job to answer. Most are very happyto take questions, and you can always talk to other ochem professors at your school.

A smart person doesn't necessarily know the answers, but will pursue their questions until they get them answered.
 

RogueUnicorn

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hope you weren't expecting a pity party. move on or move out.
 

Blesbok

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Don't adopt this attitude because then you're setting yourself for a heap of trouble. THEY, "the man", your school, your prof, whatever....are not trying to fail you! Nobody gets pleasure out of failing anybody.

You said you feel stupid talking to the professor? Suck it up. Ask questions that you want to ask, you are PAYING for this service and it is your professors job to answer. Most are very happyto take questions, and you can always talk to other ochem professors at your school.

A smart person doesn't necessarily know the answers, but will pursue their questions until they get them answered.
You have been raised in a bubble, haven't you?

This is a great attitude in medical school and is true, but in college there are a lot of professors out there that need the power kick of proving they are smarter than you by making tests that no one passes. In reality it just shows they are horrible at teaching.
 

vin5cent0

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What book are you using? We used a book by Janice something with a G Smith. I really liked and and found it easy to understand. Examples galore. I'm sure others on here have orgo books they recommend. Find one that works for you.

I'm using the same one. I think it's awful based on the fact that it has a million sample problems, but they don't give you any of the answers unless you spend another $100 on another book. If I ever met the person who decided to sell a book without the answers after charging me $250 for it, I'd run them over in a heartbeat!
 
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Uisa

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Hey to make you feel some what better I ended up getting my first ever C because of orgo 1 and yet I'm still a pre med. I talked to various adcoms about this and they have told me that one C isn't going to kill my chances, but I just had to prove to them I could do better in orgo II.

Well I'm taking orgo II now and so far it's an A
 

Baller MD

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"Orgo," which should be called "ochem" for short because it makes a lot more sense, like math, is largely an application-based subject. You just gotta practice with the right foundations.
 

BlueElmo

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"Orgo," which should be called "ochem" for short because it makes a lot more sense, like math, is largely an application-based subject. You just gotta practice with the right foundations.

OChem FTW!
 

Beta Cell

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NMR is pretty critical to ochem, but luckily enough it just takes some practice. If there are problem sets in the book, do them. Problems that give you a few compounds and ask you to match a spectrum to them are particularly good.

That's very good advice. Just start to practice looking for multiplets, the n+1 rule, and don't forget to memorize the values for certain functionalities (like benzene H's, aldehyde H's, etc.).

Are you guys doing 13C, 19F, or anything like that in your organic class? Both are interpreted differently, but once you get the hang of 1H-NMR, the rest should fall into place. Seriously, just practice all of the problems in your book. When I was learning NMR, I also searched for problems online to do and found a wealth of information there too.
 

azrael87

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I realize how stupid that sounds, but god, I am so damn lost in this class. We had one 50 min lecture on NMR spectroscopy. The next day, we had an in-depth lab on it. My teacher made me feel like a ******* when I started asking basic questions. The next day at lecture, we had already moved on to a new topic, yet we're supposed to understand NMR spectroscopy enough to be tested on it from now on. Every subject is treated like this; we have one 50 min lecture on something, and then we're done. Moved on. Expected to know it by the next lecture completely.

I just spent 3ish hours in the library going over our text on NMR. I walked away just as confused as I was earlier. I can't even talk to my teacher because he makes you feel like a *******.

We had our first test last week. I got a C on it. I suppose I should be grateful because our class average as an F! I did decently on it until I got to a section where our prof asked us the same question 3 different times, using different molecules. I apparently didn't know how to do it and got all of them wrong, which lowered my grade drastically.

I remember last year a doctor came in and joked about how when he was in college, 90%+ of pre-meds at his school droppd because of Orgo, and I laughed thinking how ridiculous that was. Now I'm thinking that if I can't even get a decent grade in Orgo, how can I really expect to do well in med school?

Shouldn't the fact that your class average is an F alone tell you you're not the only one who's having the same trouble? If you're 2 grades about the average, that's not a terrible thing at all.

NMR is a pain of a subject at first. The only way to really get it down is to pummel yourself with practice problems until you start to recognize common patterns. It basically comes down to taking the info you have, number of peaks, height ratio between peaks, the chemical shift (ppm), and weighing them against each other to deduce the shape makeup of the molecule.

Some common patterns you may start to notice:
Adjacent triplet-quartet is often an ethyl group
Adjacent doublet-septet is often an isopropyl group
A multiplet around 7ppm is usually going to be a phenyl group

In general for orgo (it may make less sense as a nickname, but it still sounds better to me) first thing to do is memorize every functional group right at the beginning. Next, master your nomenclature! The worst thing that can happen is that you know how to do a problem but don't know what molecules you're supposed to be working with. When you learn a new subject/reaction type, use the text/tutors/whatever, to get down the concept first (in other words WHY this is happening). Next learn every mechanism mentioned in class, even if there is no emphasis placed on it. Then make lists/charts classifying different reactions. Make one that groups reactions that start with the same functional group (alkane rxn's, alcohol rxn's, carboxyl rxn's, etc.), make one that groups together reactions that produce the same functional group (rxn's that form alkanes, etc, etc), make one that groups together reactions that use the same reagents. Then practice doing the NMR for the reactant and product of each of those reactions. After a lot of exposure you will start to see recurring patterns and those will stick with you. Also, just follow everyone else advice too lol.

Also, you now know the prof's testing format, style, and difficulty. You can use that first test plus current lectures to determine what you should be expecting on the next one. Make sure you go back and learn to answer everything you missed on that first test.

Seriously do NOT let the difficulty of this class deter you. Barriers are meant to stop you. Obstacles are there to be overcome. Any course you take is simply another obstacle. Remember, the road to medicine is one of flaming hoops for us to jump through...by the end, you should be a pretty fantastic jumper. (Yeah, I know, my metaphors are corny. I can't help it.)

And finally....suck it up! We all did this, many of us hated it, and we all got through it. Consider your confidence boost administered. I'd suggest you get a home prescription for such boosts in the future. (one more metaphor for the road)
 

njr3332

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It's called repetition. Do problems until you are numb and NMR becomes second nature. Also, take a break from it. I find that sometimes you learn more by coming back to your studies after you have had a good break so your brain can digest what you've learned. Good luck!
 

jschu121

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check out this spectral database http://riodb01.ibase.aist.go.jp/sdbs/cgi-bin/cre_index.cgi?lang=eng

You probably get a lot of common, well-characterized compounds. You can check you answers by looking up compounds, or search for a chemical formula and solve some structures. you might also check the sigma aldrich website. if you search for a chemical you may find an nmr of the compound.
 

TurkSurg

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I realize how stupid that sounds, but god, I am so damn lost in this class. We had one 50 min lecture on NMR spectroscopy. The next day, we had an in-depth lab on it. My teacher made me feel like a ******* when I started asking basic questions. The next day at lecture, we had already moved on to a new topic, yet we're supposed to understand NMR spectroscopy enough to be tested on it from now on. Every subject is treated like this; we have one 50 min lecture on something, and then we're done. Moved on. Expected to know it by the next lecture completely.

I just spent 3ish hours in the library going over our text on NMR. I walked away just as confused as I was earlier. I can't even talk to my teacher because he makes you feel like a *******.

We had our first test last week. I got a C on it. I suppose I should be grateful because our class average as an F! I did decently on it until I got to a section where our prof asked us the same question 3 different times, using different molecules. I apparently didn't know how to do it and got all of them wrong, which lowered my grade drastically.

I remember last year a doctor came in and joked about how when he was in college, 90%+ of pre-meds at his school droppd because of Orgo, and I laughed thinking how ridiculous that was. Now I'm thinking that if I can't even get a decent grade in Orgo, how can I really expect to do well in med school?

I've tried talking to my teacher, I attended a few student instructor lessons (didn't help), I've now purchased my THIRD self-help book (Orgo for dummies, Orgo has a 2nd language, Orgo Demystified).. still lost. Has anyone else gone through this and prevailed?! This is driving me nuts because I'm now taking only upper level classes for my major, and this is the only one giving me any trouble. I spend 90% of my study time on this one class and still do poorly in it. I dont' want to come accross as a whiner, I just want to know (and hope) that others have gone through this same crap and still wound up walking away with a decent grade come the end of the semester. Lie to me if you must!

Have you tried asking other orgo professors or (TA) for help? I was going to say try to get a study group but I changed my mind after reading the class average was an F. Try finding some youtube videos maybe that'll help.
 

ChemEngSoonMD

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If you are thinking about quitting now, just wait until the MCAT.

I say quit now - this process will consume your life for the next 2+ years - and 60 percent of those who apply don't get accepted anywhere - these are people who actually survived O-Chem.

The odds are against you every step of the way.

If you can't handle orgo (cake walk) you most likely won't be able to handle med school (drinking from a fire hydrant).



Yep. Weedout classes are there for a purpose.
 

vin5cent0

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Kinda funny to read this thread two years later. F*ckin ochem.. I wound up dropping that class and retaking it with a different prof in the hopes that she'd be better, and it wound up being even harder.

I had a friend of mine come with me to lecture for a week when he came to visit us. He's the TA for ochem at his school, and even he found out lectures wildly confusing and full of errors (when learning carbonyl chemistry, the first day of lecture our prof. accidentally explained to us why the carbon acted as the nucleophile). It's no wonder I used to walk out of that class every day shaking my head in confusion.

On the plus side, I'm finding the MCAT's ochem to be a breeze now. It's amazing how much simpler something is when you don't have a professor testing you on made-up reactions (and yes, my professor once made a test full of mythical reactions because she felt some of the stuff we were learning, such as diels-alder reaction, was too simple). My life has seriously gone up like 50 rungs on the happiness ladder since that class ended! haha
 

Frazier

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Kinda funny to read this thread two years later. F*ckin ochem.. I wound up dropping that class and retaking it with a different prof in the hopes that she'd be better, and it wound up being even harder.

I had a friend of mine come with me to lecture for a week when he came to visit us. He's the TA for ochem at his school, and even he found out lectures wildly confusing and full of errors (when learning carbonyl chemistry, the first day of lecture our prof. accidentally explained to us why the carbon acted as the nucleophile). It's no wonder I used to walk out of that class every day shaking my head in confusion.

On the plus side, I'm finding the MCAT's ochem to be a breeze now. It's amazing how much simpler something is when you don't have a professor testing you on made-up reactions (and yes, my professor once made a test full of mythical reactions because she felt some of the stuff we were learning, such as diels-alder reaction, was too simple). My life has seriously gone up like 50 rungs on the happiness ladder since that class ended! haha

inb4 cool story bro
 

CuttingCorneas

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this this this this this.


But on another note... orgo sucks. Like for real. If orgo wasn't a pre-req for medical school.... no one, and I mean NO ONE would take it.

Agreed. Except chemistry majors and gunner cocaine dealers.
 
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