ochem blues

This is a bit of me venting and a bit of a legitimate question. When I started out with bio and a&p I loved it. The subject matter was interesting and I had no problems with the classes. My last 3 classes have been ochem1, biochem, ochem2. Since I work full time, I only take 1 class a semester. Now, I did just fine in the first two classes, and have a solid B, ample opportunity to pull off an A in ochem 2. The problem is that I am losing motivation rapidly. I find the material uninteresting. It has been a dreary year and a half.


Before FUD sets in, can anyone comment on some of my concerns?

  1. As a med-student, do you end up taking several chemistry classes simultaneously? I don’t want to end up in this funk again.

  2. As a physician, how often do you have to reach into the dark recesses of you brain and spew forth the countless ways of doing substitutions and eliminations? What is the link between o-chem and being a doctor?

  3. If I am to continue down this path, do I need a serious attitude adjustment? Is chemistry just one of what could be many lulls in the curriculum that I need to suck it up and deal with? Or perhaps the fact that I am disinterested with even one pertinent subject is a red flag that I’m not cut out for a career in medicine…ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here :wink:


    I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts. Please don’t sugar coat anything. Am I alone in singing the ochem blues?


    Thanks!



No, you’re definitely NOT alone!! Ochem 2 was nearly a dreamkiller. Ten years, med school, residency and a couple of years of practice later, I’m not sure I could do much better if I took it today. The relevance of ochem is that it is a building block. If you understand the basics of ochem (at least minimally, which is about all I could do), you’ll grasp the basics of biochem, which are fundamental to understanding cell biology, which is fundamental to understanding pathology…you get the picture. Best advice at this point is to try to see the forest through the trees. What you’re muddling through today will be the basis for something else that will be relevant later.

  • jmdmd Said:
No, you're definitely NOT alone!! Ochem 2 was nearly a dreamkiller. Ten years, med school, residency and a couple of years of practice later, I'm not sure I could do much better if I took it today. The relevance of ochem is that it is a building block. If you understand the basics of ochem (at least minimally, which is about all I could do), you'll grasp the basics of biochem, which are fundamental to understanding cell biology, which is fundamental to understanding pathology...you get the picture. Best advice at this point is to try to see the forest through the trees. What you're muddling through today will be the basis for something else that will be relevant later.



It is not just a building block in content but also in process. As was pointed out by the original poster, when you have packed days of classes in medical school throwing fire hose of info at you, so much that you cant place it in the relevance that will be for the future, you better have the skill sets of note taking, reading, understanding, and exam taking down pat. Think of Ochem as a senior varsity course, a bowl game, any sports analogy you wish that may make or break you from getting pick by a professional team.

BTW, when I took Ochem in the summer, I got the bluse so much I wrote a song

Link orginal Summertime Organic Chem Blues posting



Organic Summertime Blues

I got 15 weeks of schoolin' but I'm doing it 5!

I said, I got 15 weeks of schoolin' but I'm doing it 5!

I study so much that I feel more dead than alive.

I don’t know my mechanisms; reactions are killn’ me!

I said, I don’t know my mechanisms; reactions are killn’ me!

I study so much, my eyes they hardly see.

Alkenes and Alkanes! Alkynes and Alcohols!

Oh there so much to knows but I can’t knows it all!

I said, I got 15 weeks of schoolin' but I'm doing it 5!

I study so much that I feel more dead than alive.

I don’t mean to hijack your thread, but how are you working full-time with ochem (if you don’t mind me asking)? I’m not there yet, but looking ahead, my school only offers ochem during the day, which limits employment options.


Back to your thread…I haven’t taken ochem yet, so I can’t advise you, but thanks for scaring me. I can only offer conventional wisdom for trying times such as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Maybe look at it as an opportunity to gain some separation from the other pre-med students that don’t have the perseverance to stick it out.

I can totally relate to your frustration. I am struggling to get through Org Chem 2 right now while working full-time and being a single mom. I love Biology so much more than Chemistry and I constantly find myself asking “why am I doing this to myself?”. I find the material in Org Chem 2 to be almost overwhelming at times. I just keep telling myself to keep plugging away and that, hopefully, all my hard work will pay off in the end with a good grade and a solid knowledge base.


Hang in there and good luck with the rest of your course!


As much as I’m dreading the final exam in my class, I can’t wait til it’s finally over!

I can at least reassure you that in med school you are not taking several chemistry classes together. First year we did have biochem but totally clinically related…glycolysis, lactic acid pathway, gluconeogenesis, lipid/fatty acid synthesis and metabolism, etc, etc.


What do you really need from ochem? So far, a good grasp of chirality and racdemic mixtures has been important with intro pharm. Henderson-Hasselbach (inorganic chem) and Michaelis-Menton (sp?)kinetics (for enzyme reactions) will come back repeatedly.


Kate

  • 2old4med Said:
I don't mean to hijack your thread, but how are you working full-time with ochem (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm not there yet, but looking ahead, my school only offers ochem during the day, which limits employment options.



I am a computer engineer, so I really don't have a set schedule. My class is mon-wed-fri 9-10am. I am usually in the office by 10:15 and don't miss any core hours.

To further my lack of motivation, when you leave the office at 7pm, an ochem book is the last thing you want to see when you get home.
  • gonnif Said:
BTW, when I took Ochem in the summer, I got the bluse so much I wrote a song

Link orginal Summertime Organic Chem Blues posting



If only I knew how to play a harmonica...
picks99 wrote:
1) As a med-student, do you end up taking several chemistry classes simultaneously?


No. There is only 1 chemistry class in medical school: biochemistry. It is a "basic" science class you take in your 1st year.
picks99 wrote:
2) As a physician, how often do you have to reach into the dark recesses of you brain and spew forth the countless ways of doing substitutions and eliminations?


Never.
picks99 wrote:
What is the link between o-chem and being a doctor?


In a practical sense, very little. You will never need to know how to convert 3,3-dimethyl-2-butanol into tert-butyl methyl ketone. You will never have to know the steps of a Swern oxidation. You will never have to know what the splitting pattern of 2-bromo-4-nitrotoluene looks like in proton-NMR spectroscopy.

You will mostly need to know stuff like this for the MCAT and even then, the MCAT is de-emphasizing o-chem in favor of biochem. I think I had 1 page (of many) on the entire exam that was o-chem related, but a quite a bit of biochem questions on the Biological Sciences section when I took it.

After the MCAT, a basic knowledge of o-chem will help you make sense of structures you will have to know in medical school biochemistry class - e.g. a few common monosaccharides, nucleotides, amino acids. It also gives you some basic understanding of how enzymatic reactions are catalyzed by the interaction of functional groups of enzymes and their substrates. Beyond these basics, biochemistry reactions are all enzyme catalyzed (unlike o-chem) so learning pathways (e.g. Krebs cycle, glycolysis, pentose-phosphate pathway, etc.) and names of enzymes and metabolites is really what biochem is all about - not so much the reaction mechanisms.
picks99 wrote:
3) If I am to continue down this path, do I need a serious attitude adjustment?


Not necessarily. Everyone has their share of favorite & not-so-favorite classes.
picks99 wrote:
Is chemistry just one of what could be many lulls in the curriculum that I need to suck it up and deal with?


Yes.
picks99 wrote:
Or perhaps the fact that I am disinterested with even one pertinent subject is a red flag that I'm not cut out for a career in medicine...


Not at all.
picks99 wrote:
ok, maybe I'm being a little dramatic here ;-)


Yes.

A lot of people stress o-chem. I know I’m hating organic 2 right now. It’s frustrating. I left the last exam, having felt very prepared for it, and thinking I really scored well. I didn’t. I still haven’t gone back and looked at how I missed what I did. I think I lost 10 points just on nomenclature questions, which I had practiced the hell out of in multiple books. sigh


Stressing is what one person in my class is really doing. She’s already accepted to pharm school, and has to have a C or better in this class. C- won’t work, and I think she has a D+ right now. She can’t take it over the summer either, since her pharm school starts before the O2 class would be over. She’s really hating life.


At least we’re almost finished up with the carbonyl mechanisms… Shoot me.

I have used Orgo2 ONCE in my two years of Medical school, and it was on a BS question that got thrown out.


Yes, what you learn in orgo2 is the basis of an MRI machine, but learning to discriminate between different shades of gray will be far more useful than what you learning… (beyond doing well on the MCAT).


Though I don’t know if that’s what you wanted to hear. I know I am far more motivated to learn things that I will later use, then shoving details into my short term memory to regurgitate on an exam. But know this, if you suck it up now, get a good grade, then review what you need to know for the MCAT, you will be rewarded.


You will get to be a Doctor and never have to worry about spin-spin coupling again.


– Edit–


Oh and I should add, when I worked full time and was doing pre-reqs, I was fortunate to have a bad boss. I’d come home so angry from my mistreatment that studying until midnight seemed like a dream… because I would tell myself “If I study this book, one day, I’ll never have to work with this jerk again.”

As OPM about to register for OChem for fall 2011, it is great to see everyone else’s explanation. First time around, my only “bad” grade was OChem, as I just “didn’t get it,” or couldn’t relate. Many people had “OChem Phobia” thinking it was just too hard to ever understand.


Many residents and practicing physicians have told me in practice, they never have had to use anything from O-Chem in their careers. Still, as a foundation for cell and biochem, of course, it is necessary. Shedding the phobia is probably the most important tool to use: confidence it will be fun and you can do it! That’s my philosophy anyway.


Plus, cheating the system by buying the books now and learning all of it on my own before walking into the 1st day of class will help a lot!


Good Luck!

Love Love Love the original poem by Gonnif!!


Like the old joke about operas: The poem (or the opera) isn’t over “until the Fat Lady Sings!” with her Nordic headgear on! (See emoticon). (Definitely not calling anybody “fat”!)


So how about it: A YouTube of Gonnif singing this put to music?

Thanks to everyone for posting. It’s great to get other opinions and insight into med school. And to those who have yet to take ochem, dont be put off. As of my original post, we have covered carbohydrates and amino acids, something I thought was reserved exclusively for biochem. The material seems infinately more relevant and I feel my motivation returning. That and it feels good to rant sometimes!

So, took our third test in O-Chem 2 last night. No matter how much I study and prepare for this class, I always feel like I know absolutely nothing when I take these exams. In all my years of college, with my hundred of college credits, O-Chem is by far the hardest class I’ve ever taken.


Hoping for at least a 70 on this test…


Two more regular exams to go and then the dreaded final exam…


I seriously can’t wait to be done with chemistry although I’ll probably take Biochemistry in the future. I’m sure I’ll enjoy that class since it ties Biology and Chem together.


How’s everyone else doing in their Chemistry classes? At least there’s only one more month to go til the end of the semester!

I have an A in OChem II right now. It’s funny, I am hoping to take BIoChem from the Chemistry department because I hate the Bio department at my school.

Here is an interesting question…


In your experiences, which upper level undergrad classes did you enjoy the most?


Since I loved bio and a&p so much, any thoughts on what class I should take next to renew my interests in medicine? Something fun and applicable? I have ochem1&2, biochem, bio, a&p, and all the other freshman/sohpomore prereqs done.


Thanks!

Which level of A&P did you take. We have two at our school. The second one is straight physio though. Genetics while not necessarily the most interesting will be useful on the MCAT. Cell Bio is pretty good. I enjoyed Micro, if you have a Micro Bio that focuses on disease that would be good. Histology is also helpful on the next level, but I am taking it this fall.

I’m enjoying Cell Bio at the moment. A lot of med students say they wished they had taken Immunology premed, which at my school requires genetics as a prereq.