You know those classes you strategically attempted to avoid in high school? Or even those classes that you were able to skate by in because you had a pretty good memory and could do some last minute studying? Well here at Cornell, they have that wonderful “strategy” figured out and force you to take all those classes in order to get that wonderful diploma we’re all striving for. The class that I’ve always dreaded is Chemistry. I’ll apologize now to those people who enjoy the subject or possibly find themselves majoring in the subject (more power to you!). I, however, cannot wrap my mind around why it matters whether an electron is in an s, p, d, or f-orbital. The electron is going to continue moving in that orbital whether I know it is or not. I feel like I’m back in high school but honestly, I find myself asking the question, “Why does it matter to me?”
Part of this rant is in the heat of the moment after having had a less than satisfactory day in chem lab, where the ultimate low point was attempting to get my drawer of supplies (beakers, test tubes, etc) out when it went crashing to the floor, breaking no less than 5 pieces of glassware. I’m sure if I were looking for a lesson here, there would be boatloads of great chemistry lessons related to kinetic energy or gravity or such, but I’ll leave that to the experts!
While there will always be a lack of chemistry between myself and the actual subject of chemistry, I will admit that Chem 1560 is entertaining at least. The professor asks us to step outside our comfort zone, outside of the idea that we all have to have the exact same numbers and there’s only one right answer. He asks us to consider the Order of Magnitude-meaning “close-enough” counts. So basically we’re back to rounding and roughly estimating numbers and weights. Maybe there’s hope for me and chemistry yet! If I only have to estimate answers-that means I can almost be right and still get the grade I’m looking for, right? Hopefully my professor agrees with my logic!