Just wanted to updatee!

Hi all,

its been ages since ive posted on this but ive been popping in now and then, reading everyones post.

I just wanted to share an update (if you havent been following my incredibly boring and sketchy blog) - i finally registered for Gen Chem I It’s been YEARS - over 7 - im so glad that i have the opportunity to try this again.

Id love some advice though, from those who have jumped back in the classroom after years and years. I’m nervous and excited at the same time!!!

Congrats on rejoinging the educationally insane, LOL!!!

Order the solutions manual to your chemistry book if you can. And check on Amazon if your bookstore doesn’t carry it!


in order to attain the ultimate goal and if during your journey through the darkness and uncertainty of OChem, look to follow the electrons, for they will enlighten your path.

Seriously, it is all a story of electrons… Enjoy. OChem I is usually feared, however, it is very interesting. But it is also quite some work (lots of exercises) so make sure you can put in at least 1h for every lecture hour, plus extra for the labs.

Another thing that’s frustrating with o-chem is that the experience varies greatly depending on the professor. At my school, we have four professors that teach it. The hardest, who probably really prepares you the most for really knowing this stuff, gives very few As in his classes. Actually, the class average on most tests are in the 50s. At the other end, we have the guy that probably prepares you the least, but his class averages are in the 80s, and if you put in some effort, an A is easily doable.

So…which do you want?

Do you have any advise or pointers on how to approach Biochemistry class for best result?

Being a Biochemist by training, you just have to know the stuff. After seeing a bunch of pathways, you will be able to see some logic (same functions -> same behaviors).

There is also all the stuff in enzymology (algebra stuff) and the physico-chemical properties of macromolecules. I think Biochem is just knowing the stuff. But I remember that was a lot of work. So just hit the ground running. Don’t let the stuff pile up.

  • redo-it-all Said:
So just hit the ground running. Don't let the stuff pile up.

I've heard this exact advice (in very nearly this exact wording) repeated over and over again for O-chem and Biochem, so at this point I'm assuming that it's less a suggestion and more "the only way to do it".

I’m just finishing up biochem II now. My advice is to start practicing the mechanisms right away. My strategy was to practice a few mechanisms for at least 10 minutes right before going to bed, every night. Also, because I found that, although I could remember the different steps if I did them straight through, e.g. write all the mechanisms for glycolysis from beginning to end, I was much slower if given the name of an enzyme taken out of context. To solve that issue, I wrote the names of enzymes on little pieces of paper and put them in a plastic bag. I would randomly select one from the bag and write the reactants, products, and mechanisms. It’s a difficult class, but also really interesting. And by using this strategy, I felt well-prepared for each test and scored in mid-A’s on each (class exam average around 50% - no extra credit at this school). So I agree - start early and don’t let it pile up. There’s no way to effectively cram 40-50 mechanisms with reactants and products as well as regulation schemes, etc.

Anyway, as the OP has signed up for a GEN Chem class and we’re all giving advice for Bio/Org…

I’ll say: be happy it’s only 7 years, I returned last fall after a nice 20 year break O_o Here’s what I saw. I was FAR from the only non-trad student in any of my (first-year) classes, which surprised me. I’d estimate a pretty even 50/50 split between 25+ and fresh out of high schoolers.

With the economy in the toilet, a LOT of people are going back to school, especially in states (like IL) where they have Dislocated Workers or Business Employment Skills Team programs that pay to educate people who are collecting unemployment.

I also quickly found that the non-trads, by and large, make up a significant portion of the upper end of the grading curve. We’ve got time-management skills and the maturity to buckle down and do the work that is so rare to find in an 18 year old.

The kids (sigh hate calling them kids, I feel like I should be chasing someone off my lawn with my cane) have been extremely friendly and I’ve had no problem fitting in with any group I find myself in for labs, test prep, etc. Granted, I’m sure part of that is that I’m sarcastic and tend to make people laugh, but I’ve not noticed anyone getting excluded for their age. In fact, we tend to get sought out because we know the material so well.

I’ve also been pretty lucky so far. I need remarkably little time to assimilate the material, so I haven’t had too many issues balancing my job/family/school, but I know that can’t last forever. I expect to see that changing next year when I’m taking Calc, Physics and Macroeconomics at the same time, so I plan to enjoy the hell out of my summer!

Nightgod–I’ve had exactly the same experience in Chem 1 and Bio 1. In fact, my biology class turned into a comical situation… the professor’s English wasn’t good, so she was limited in how she could communicate material. I just seemed to get the way she taught, though, so I made almost perfect scores on all her exams. After the first test, no fewer than 5 (and sometimes 10 or more) “young” students would come in early before class (I was always there early) and talk over the lecture with me. They’d bring questions, and I didn’t mind, because it helped me study. So I ended up kind of leading a study group, I guess…and the students were extremely welcoming and appreciative. Zero bad vibes at all.

When I did my original undergrad degree 12 years ago, I didn’t have many nontraditional students in my classes–but it’s just like you said… times are SO different now, and many people are going back to school. So “traditional” students are very used to seeing “nontraditionals” around campus and in class, and it’s just not such a big deal anymore. I found that the environment is truly an enjoyable one!

wow guys thanks a lot for all of your tips. Nightgod- Im hoping the “age factor” will work in my favor, i.e, being more mature and able to balance my work and study schedules, time management etc… the majority of my nerves stem from the fact that i had a bad run the last time (first time) I tried to take my pre-reqs… but that was when i “young and stupid” lol…

But yea guys im not ready for biochem yet haha… I was only able to sign up for this one gen chem class anyway as it was all they were offering during the summer in the evenings.

I even ordered a book on Amazon, which ive been flipping though to brush up. Ugh…im not looking forward to balancing equations…

My only saving grace from my “first time” is that I managed to talk them into giving me Is instead of the flat-out Fs I deserved. I had mono about half-way through the semester and used that to weasel my way into a medical excuse when the reality is I was partying too much. Talk about young and stupid (and obviously thinking with the wrong head). You could literally send in a bonobo chimp that can hold a pencil and make random marks on a piece of paper and they would get a better grade than I did that “first time” just by virtue of showing up every day. My bright side to this is that showing an upward trend will definitely not be an issue!