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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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so this is what school is like. huh.
mmmm john
So. Chemistry.

All science majors can just skip over this because hey, I have science angst and I so plan to whine now about basic principles of chemistry. Also, my hand hurts.

He made an hour speech. I was disturbed to realize that even now, I can be vaguely pushed toward inspiration by well-chosen phrases and his certainty that we were a *committed* class due to the fact we voluntarily shuffled our asses into class at eight thirty in the morning.


There was some digression and some etc and some more etc, but it was interesting, though I had gotten vitamin water instead of coffee and was regretting it thoroughly. During five minute break, I got coffee. It was very bad. I did not care. Ritalin does many wondrous things, but it really does shit for keeping me awake. It just makes me *very good at concentrating* while wishing to die. Odd that.

He told us to google for his webssite and download his podcast. Seriously. He was a professional motivational speaker. I have no words.

A disproportionate number of pharmacology students--that actually did surprise me, since we only have twenty in our class and four or five declared for it. About five to eight full time students, one software engineer changing careers to--yes, pharmacology--one electrical engineering student from probable Rhode Island on loan to Texas with National Instruments and continuing his classwork here, one stay-at-home mom going back to school (my ageish), an older guy that sat in the middle front and looked determined (he's going to be good; at his age, that type tends to be tenacious, fanatic studiers, ask good questions, and basically make the younger students look kind of dumb and lazy, not to mention people in my experience over forty just tend to *get* this stuff on a practical level that most students, with rare exceptions, don't), and a few etc I'm still working out.

All except two work, and half the class works full time.

Race/sex leaned to usual for Texas: white male, white female (close in number), Asian female, African American female, Asian male (I actually meant to note this; I'm vaguely curious about how our diversity is going to work out in terms of natural grouping and for study groups; these sometimes do not overlap, which shows a difference between the people you like and the people you know you can learn from/with). One Nigerian female (young, extremely bright, natural student from her questions and her careful notes) I really liked and kind of want to see if she's interested in a study group. I have a mental study group; the older man, her, the stay at home mom, me, and the electrical engineer. I'm thinking she'll fall in with the intense right of the room (aka my right from my seat; I'm front far left), which is general breakdown eighteen to twenty-one.

Natural groupings observed so far: girlfriend/boyfriend, older male and stay at home mom and one of the pharmacology students, two of the younger guys (19-23 estimated age), with a transitional point with older male, software engineer and electrical engineer hanging in the halls. Others seem to be grouping by where they are sitting. I avoided human contact, mostly due to continuing problems with social interactions that don't involve the discussion of porn, but mostly curiosity. Our class is small enough that we *will* get to know each other fairly well and I kind of want to get impressions down first.

I was hoping for more adult students, because I hate to say this, but my patience with anyone I don't know well under twenty-two is vanishingly slim (fangirls are always exceptions to this). And to be honest, classes are a lot more fun and discussiony, since older students aren't as intimidated by professors, so they're willing to ask, contradict, or expound on points, and I tend to do better when everyone's involved with the coursework. There are reasons my worst classes were ones that involved pure lecture.

We slammed through chemistry intro with a few compounds, a couple of elements, and a sudden and shocking slide in how to create an ion from an atom. Chatted about horizontal periods versus vertical groups, metals versus non-metals, main, transitional, and the other things that aren't those, gases, electron charge, and I was vaguely surprised to realize how much I'd retained. I mean, as we worked through it. He's huge on class discussion and work--he learned five of our names early on and we (and yes, I was among the lucky ones) called on a lot, but he was surprisingly good at remembering names.

Anyway. First homework is estimated to take about eight hours--one twenty-nine page handout, prelab prep which includes a typed procedure for every lab and the prelab exercises, plus the first eight-four pages of a distressingly thick book.

Okay, why am I doing this again?

In closing: next time, I am bringing decent coffee with me. Screw health. I need the caffeine.

PS - Did I mention I rewrote all five pages of class notes over again in multiple colored pens? And did the the non-handout homework? My hand CRAMPED UP. This is my life, and it involves hand cramps. Gah.


*stares at bed* IT IS COVERED IN BOOKS. GOD.

I feel sad that I am under 22 and not a fangirl and got into a Debate with an instructor today. Also, dammit, I hate college football fans. Hate hate hate (see: public trans train packed like Japan and screaming girls in bras and spankshorts painting each other gold/green).

Also, is it really so strange that I'm widefreakingawake five minutes after I roll out of bed in the morning, yet don't drink coffee, tea, or soda? I have been told three times this semester already that I'm weird. You have the wisdom of years; what say ye?

*grins* You are lucky. I've met a few natural morning people, butnot many.

good luck! Chemistry has always been my academic nemesis, so I sympathize with the desire to whine about it.

In the throes of my MBA, I sympathize with you. Chemistry, though, is life, which at least makes it more interesting than accounting.

I don't know; so far, it's staring at symbols and being told it's the alphabet of teh chemical world.

...I have notecards ready to go for this.

Yeah. I took condensed chemistry last summer. You'll notice I'm not longer in a pre-med program? Funny that.

Rule 1. If there is a tutoring center, plan to do your homework there, or at least any moderately challenging problems there. It allows you to ask for help before you reach the head bashing stage of frustration.

Rule 2. The TA is your friend.

Rule 3. Chemistry is kind of like bondage. Some people like it, some people like reading about or watching other people doing it, and a large number of people's reaction to actually doing the serious stuff is to recoil in horror.

Oh yes. Definitely on all three.

(laughing at the *accuracy* of the third one. TRUE.)

What are you studying, overall? What is your Plan?

It's a secondary plan that is now my Plan plan. I'm giving up my major in political science due ot extreme impossibility of scheduling and flipping it to a minor with the new major being BA in computer science. Which took me from around less than twenty-eight hours needed to about fifty. With the unspoken option of changing it again to a BS with a minor in political science and secondary in math to get a certification and make it easier when I enter the Masters program.

So in the shortest version, it's a two year plan if I include summers, and longest, a three year plan plus three summers if I go the BS route. A lot depends on how well ritalin actually *is* working on a long-term and long-use basis. So far, I can tell a decided differnce in my absorption and retention, so in the end, it will depend if I really *want* that BS or I can live with a BA. Sadly, at that point, if I did the BS, I would have enough hours for a BA/BS if I could finish political scinece, since it needs only three classes total to do the major, but again, the scheduling problem.

The second reason I chagned is because of work. I had to work with a program for determining eligiblilty that is so badly designed, yet visually pretty, that all I could think for the years I had to use it (and the years now that I have to go into it to find information) is that I could do *so much better* on a basic user-friendly basis. And because I'm writing the user guide for another program and working with the programmers has been a revelation. And because I *like* sitting for hours coding and I might as well get paid for it.

*G* And because my ten year old son and light of my life is in a science academy and I have to oversee his homework and I got nervous looking at his syllabus for math and science.

You're doing it because after you will know how to create really cool explosions? Or at least which common house-hold cleaners and products to mix together to get the best scaring effects on your most hated enemy?

I kid, of course. After all, all I got from chem class was an undying hatred for thermodynamics and a short-term boyfriend.

Power to ya

Unfortunately my experience has been chemistry = evil. Bane of my existence, almost made me give up biology, sent me into regular crying fits.


However, I'm hoping it goes better for you.

deadlychameleon was very right about everything s/he said.

I managed to avoid chemistry at both the high school and college level, so more power to you!

Oh god, I so want to go back to Uni and do chemistry...

Every so often, during my undergrad degree (Physics and astronomy), I'd have a sudden hankering to do Chemistry. And I still would like to go back and do it. However, in my case, the difference between Chemistry-Degree-Is-Awesome-In-Theory and Chemistry-Degree-Is-Awesome-In-Practice is vast and likely uncrossable.

My chemistry teacher in high school was utterly shite. I mean, he was seriously on the Wrong Medication, and we literally repeated the same chapter and a half four times.

In the last two months of the year, we got a new teacher and managed to get through another three chapters -- but I'm guessing that over the whole year we covered exactly what you covered in a single lecture. Except that we barely touched on the existence of the periodic table.

Once in a while I wonder if I should see about enrolling in the local junior/community/technical college's remedial chemistry course.

Then I remember the concept called 'homework' and say screw it.

continuing problems with social interactions that don't involve the discussion of porn

You and me both. :D


I feel for you. My son has to take chemistry in order to graduate high school this year, which pretty much means I have to take chemistry. His reading comprehension is probably about third grade and I have to explain this stuff to him and try to help him answer all these questions using words he knows the meaning of (very teeny tiny vocabulary). I remember the good old days when students who went into vocational classes didn't have to take algebra and chemistry and all that. I hate schools.

You have a freaking motivational speaker? Who you have to listen to that early in the morning? That's just cruel. I hope it's effective!

continuing problems with social interactions that don't involve the discussion of porn
This is a shared problem. Why can't the universe run on (our kind of) porn?

"Okay, why am I doing this again?"

I have great respect for anyone doing what you're doing. Good for you.