I was an Organic TA last year. You should see the shortcuts we had to come up with just to keep the experiments under 3 hours. They are too long, I agree. You really can't think about the chemistry behind them because you get so rushed.
Each of my orgo labs took at least 4 hours. It wasn't bad though. It was actually fun when you're doing them. But, just thinking that you have to devote a huge block of time to one class for the semester just makes you ill -- i know I felt that way.
I hear ya....I studied more for that lab than I did for some of my other classes!! Our professor would give a "pre-lab quiz" before every lab, AND A COMPREHENSIVE FINAL!! Hang in there...we're almost done!!
Yep, orgo lab IS a tremendous amount of work...but worth it. Our labs ran 5 hours even though they were scheduled for 3. Once I even stayed until 7:30 and the lab started at 1:00. The first term we learned the techniques but second and third terms we worked in individual projects. Our class was small enough that each of us decided something that we would like to synthesis and then had to determine how to go about it. I spent 7-8 hours PER WEEK looking up stuff to decide how to get to the end product. THEN there were the problems that arose like contaminated chlorosulfonic acid. THey wouldn't let me order more so I had to distill the nasty stuff just to attempt my synthesis. THEN it still didn't work and I had to figure out why. Took two more days of lab to devise a reason why it wasn't working then another couple labs to pass that hurdle only to find another problem.... And don't forget the book work that had nothing to do with my project...and the quizzes....and the final.
However, I don't think I've ever learned more than I did in that lab. In the end I was successful in my synthesis although not everyone in the class was. What an incredible experience....
When I was going to live in an apartment for the first time, one of my friends said, "you'll be fine. It's easy to cook. You took orgo lab! If you can do orgo lab, you'll be fine for cooking. Boiling stuff is just like refluxing..."
Well, I was pretty worried, as I didn't do so well in orgo lab first semester. Nonetheless, I am much better a cook than orgo lab would lead you to believe, or at least people tell me so.
At least I was usually out of orgo lab in 3-3.5 hours (occasionally 2-2.5 if I was lucky). Physics lab was much worse. It started at 1:30, and I think one day I was there until like 6:30. That sucked...that and the fact that physics lab was totally worthless, and I learned absolutely nothing from it (might have even lost intelligence given that my brain probably wasted away while I was there). The main point on lab reports was to do error calculations correctly. What a waste of time!
i used to spill my product at the end of almost every single orgo lab, because i'd be so tired after a full day of classes and tennis practice. my instructor always thought it was hilarious! they actually are kind of fun when you're not stressed out about how to put the equipment together.