The Half A**ers

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Many courses offered in college these days are half assed. What I mean by this is classes that require learning done at home, by yourself, in your textbook. This is very favorable to those who are visual learners; however, for hands on learners and those that learn better by listening to a teacher (myself), this is not the best method.

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On February 16, 2015, I observed in my Organic Chemistry II class that many students were not paying attention. I also was not and this is simply due to the fact that the teaching style presented–learning at home–is not the most comfortable for myself. I believe that the best way for students to cope with this is to be given the option of seeing what teaching styles are available for a particular course. This allows those that favor this teaching style to have the opportunity to be in the class, and those who do not to opt for a different teaching method.

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This self-teaching teaching style has many downfalls, and I believe that the primary one is the inability of asking the professor questions as knowledge is learned. If I have a question on the formation of hydrates, I should be given the option to ask questions in class as I am learning. This is available, for the most part, in my Organic Chemistry class; however, I would feel more comfortable asking questions as I learn rather than learning something wrong at home and trying to unlearn it later in class.

As a student paying a large sum to attend college here, I expect that teachers do not half ass classes that I require to learn the most knowledge from. I strongly believe that we deserve a chance to choose the teaching styles that best fits with how we learn, giving us the option of learning how we want to learn.

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Chemistry and What It’s All About

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Explosions. Explosions everywhere. The accepted life of a chemist by society–or at least by most.

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The rest believe chemists make drugs–lots and lots of drugs.

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After being educated with actual chemistry classes, I have found that some aspects of these two theories are true, and some are false.

In Organic Chemistry (Chemistry 251), nearly all types of hydrocarbons (carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms in long chains) react with oxygen to produce tremendous amounts of heat and light. These are the combustion reactions that so many uneducated people believe chemistry resides around. Yes, these molecules fuel your sport cars and minivans; however, they are not all that chemistry involves.

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Drugs. As a chemistry fanatic, I love the television series “Breaking Bad.” Walter White makes large quantities of one drug–methamphetamine. As you may guess, this is not what organic chemists do in lab everyday; however, drug making is a step in the right direction of what organic chemistry is all about.

Have a headache? Feeling sick? Take a drug! Meth may not be the best option here as you might infer; another more common option is acetaminophen–Tylenol–or ibuprofen. I synthesized ibuprofen in  Organic Chemistry Lab last week after utilizing large amounts of reagents, compounds, and techniques.

A tool that I utilized is called a RotoVap. For a couple thousand dollars, even you can use this tool to evaporate solvents.

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In Chemistry 150 I learned that as pressure decreases, boiling points decrease. This is very useful to organic chemists because we can utilize this to separate aqueous compounds that have different boiling points. The RotoVap decreases the pressure and forces the compound with the lower boiling point to boil away, leaving the product that we search for behind.

With the ibuprofen–or any drug–remaining in the beaker, organic chemists help people with pains and aches that they might experience everyday.

Although explosions and drug synthesis do not depict all that organic chemistry is about, some aspects are true. The next time you take a pill, think of how organic chemistry might have influenced the creation and design of that specific medication.