O-Chem before Chem? With Chem?

Has anyone taken O-Chem before Chem? Or taken O-Chem and Chem at the same time? If so how did it work out for you??
Tammy

Three simple words: DON’T DO IT. I can’t even begin to imagine. O-chem requires familiarity with chemistry and its concepts - even though general chemistry is “inorganic” and therefore rather different from o-chem, o-chem is still building on all the basic chemistry principles learned in gen-chem. Not to mention that the labs in gen-chem are EASY, whereas o-chem labs are complicated, and it’s wise to have polished up your skills prior to tackling o-chem. I am serious as a heart attack on this one: DON’T DO IT.
Mary

I did know a pre-dental student who took both at once. He had some pretty solid familiarity with basic chemistry first. I wouldn’t do it if you paid me. If you decide to do it anyway, please have a serious familiarity with acid-base chemistry, drawing Lewis structures, a qualitative understanding of equilibrium, and a seriously heavy-duty memory.
Did I mention I wouldn’t do it if you paid me?

No! I wouldn’t even think of it. They are different subjects but you do need to know your gen chem in order to keep up in organic.

I completely agree with Mary! As someone who is in the middle of second semester Organic Chemistry, I would strongly urge you not to attempt both Orgo and Gen Chem at the same time. It may not even be possible given your school’s prerequisite requirements. At the University of Maryland, a C in General Chemistry is a prerequisite for beginning Organic Chemistry. If you are interested in taking more than one class, why not take Physics or Bio in conjunction with Chemistry? Either way, good luck.

I thought that might be the case. It’s the impatience “thing” happening right now. Now that I’ve decided to do this, I want to do it NOW. I signed up for Chem I&II this summer and then realized that I would be away from home from 8-4:40 each day this summer. I wouldn’t get to take the kds to the pool or do anything fun with then at all thi ssummer. With the ages my kids are this summer and next are all I have left before one goes the 2 little ones are in K & 1st and my oldest will be heading off to college.
I thought that, since CHEM I & II are not pre-req’s for O-chem, maybe I could do o-chem at night and still have the day swith my kids. How I wish I could do it at comm college!
Thanks for the advice - O-chem will wait!! Anyway, what’s an extra semester or two, really (feels like forever but it’s only 4 months right??)
Tammy

Oh, we have ALL had those attackes of impatience. Mary Renard saved my impatient you-know-what, too! I can’t remember what I wanted to do all at once, but it was a bad idea, whatever it was.
And honestly, you need to take the time you need to make sure your spouse will be on board with this before the bad part starts. It’s a big dream and your whole family has to ride the ride with you.

Hey Denise,
Thanks for the input. The “you couldn’t pay me to do it” gave me a real sense that taking the two together was not something I wanted to do!!
Glad I’m not the only one with bouts of extreme impatience. I guess it’s because I’m not 20 anymore and part of me still believes it’s just too late to start this new venture. Not too late for me to learn it and accomplish it, it’s more of a “Okay, so I do it - how long can I actively engage in the practice once I’m done” type of feeling. The longer it takes the less time I have…
Anyhouse else have those feelings of doubt? I can’t wait for the conference. I hope it will help me to meet all of you guys:-)
Tammy

I’ve read this before on this forum, but now that I am in my second year of post-bacc classes, I understand what they meant. Take the time to enjoy this part of the process as well. I have met some very interesting people in my program, and they have indirectly pushed me forward when you have one of those doubting moments. The camraderie has been one of the best parts of this experience, and my clinical volunteer experience has been invaluable and equally inspiring. Don’t worry. You’ll be sending off that application before you know it…

Thanks for the encouragement! I’m going to hold off on trying to do the two at one time and just spread the coursework out a little more. Heck, my kids may still get to see me if I do that!
I noticed you’re in DC - do you live in DC or just go to school there? I live about 25 minutes away in VA.
Tammy

I live in DC and work in Bethesda. I am currently taking classes in an informal post-bacc program at the University of Maryland in College Park. Maybe I’ll see you at the convention this year!

Quote:

I signed up for Chem I&II this summer and then realized that I would be away from home from 8-4:40 each day this summer. I wouldn’t get to take the kds to the pool or do anything fun with then at all thi ssummer. With the ages my kids are this summer and next are all I have left before one goes the 2 little ones are in K & 1st and my oldest will be heading off to college.
I thought that, since CHEM I & II are not pre-req’s for O-chem, maybe I could do o-chem at night and still have the day swith my kids. How I wish I could do it at comm college!
Thanks for the advice - O-chem will wait!! Anyway, what’s an extra semester or two, really (feels like forever but it’s only 4 months right??)
Tammy


Tammy, there are a couple of flaws in your thinking here. I really don’t want to be pouring cold water on your plans but you’ve got to chill out a bit and really think through what’s involved in pre-med coursework. I think your enthusiasm is getting in the way a bit…
First, summer school time commitment: know that if you are in class all day every day (and I know the chemistry schedule, it’s lectures all morning and labs every afternoon), don’t kid yourself about having evenings free. You would need to spend every waking moment of every day on chemistry.
If you take an o-chem course at night, you’ll need to be spending a good portion of your day time hours on studying. This is KEY. You can’t only study on the weekends with these courses. You need to review textbooks, lecture notes, and problem sets daily. With some time and practice, you may find that you can adjust this expectation, but initially you will need to be sure that you have read through the assigned text prior to lecture; you’ll need to do problem sets after every lecture, and you’ll need to read ahead and be well-prepared before every lab.
The old college rule of thumb - two hours of studying for every hour of lecture - never seemed quite enough to me for these pre-med courses. I would say that I probably did three hours of studying for every hour of lecture; I spent an hour of prep time for every lab session and at least three hours after lab writing up lab reports. It makes me tired just to think about it.
You express regret that the CC coursework isn’t acceptable. But look at it this way: If the CC coursework would be less demanding of your time, it would not be worth ANY of your time. In other words, it has to be hard. (sorry!)
Also I think that perhaps you’ve overlooked something when you say that gen-chem isn’t a prerequisite for o-chem. I’ve NEVER seen an o-chem listing that didn’t state gen-chem as a prerequisite.
“Slow and steady wins the race.” When you are only planning to do the prerequisites, your grades really need to be stellar from start to finish - it’s not that extensive a list of courses, and even one bad grade will stand out. If this means that you need to go slower while you figure out the balancing act with family and kids, go slower. I am pretty sure that it would be easier to explain why you weren’t going to school full-time than it would be to explain a C.
And remember that your current life is not a waste. When we’re in a hurry to achieve a goal, we do ourselves a tremendous disservice if we think of our current lives as somehow less meaningful. I KNOW how hard it is to pace yourself but it is important to recognize that your current life as mom and student is valuable in and of itself - try to enjoy the ride.
Mary