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VSEPR_VOID
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 11:44
Disappointed with College Chemistry


Recently I skipped the last year of high school and directly enrolled in college. I was very excited about taking my first college chemistry class (Chem 1 and the lab) until I finished the first day.

The instructor gave us links to videos were we suppose to watch (crash course) and split us into groups. We also were instructed to take an online assignment and to, no kidding, color in a periodic table.

This disturbs me, not just because I am going to have to put up with something so low in quality, but because this is considered a college education. Some of my class mates pay hundreds, to thousands, of dollars for classes like this.

I imagine I could go back in time to 1860, listen to a lecture on the first day, and come back with more information. I think there is a legitimate argument for the idea of education as inflating similar to how the dollar inflates. Thins went down hill fast.




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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 11:59


I skipped general chemistry 1 my freshman year but when i took gen chem 2 i was still really disappointed because it was exactly what i covered in AP chemistry in highschool, no new content at all. since then i learned that general chemistry is purposefully made a relatively easy class because most people are only taking it as a requirement for some non chemistry major. Once you get into organic, inorganic and physical chemistry it becomes much more challenging and interesting. but by the time i got to those classes i was really frustrated that i had wasted my first year at college not learning anything new.
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 12:26


Is college = real university in your country?

[Edited on 28/08/18 by fusso]




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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 12:30


I had a similar experience. My general chemistry class in freshman year was a complete repeat of AP chemistry. It worked out for me because that class was also very early morning, and I was able to sleep through much of it :) I also apparently had the instructor that was afraid to do the more exciting demonstrations - other classes were exploding hydrogen balloons, and we did the silver tree. Not that there's anything wrong with that one; it's a beautiful demo, but not well suited for a huge lecture hall where everyone is so far away.

I wasn't able to do this at my school, but you might try seeing if you can test out of that class and skip ahead.

I never went farther than that because at the time I wasn't too into it, but I agree with walruslover that the more advanced classes are sure to be more interesting.
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VSEPR_VOID
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 12:52


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
Is college = real university in your country?

[Edited on 28/08/18 by fusso]


I live in the U.S.




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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 14:08


Does your college offer an honors program? Take that variant of the course instead if possible.

Often students may skip ahead through the earlier courses through some combination of AP courses taken in high school and/or testing (a question for your academic advisor).

Often times the introductory courses are taught by MS and PhD students, and quality may be lacking. A common exercise in introductory courses is to memorize certain attributes about the periodic table and elements within. I think a documentary on Dmitri Mendeleev's conceptualization of the periodic table (e.g [1][2]) would be more suitable than colouring it (there is a more inspiring documentary out there but I couldn't find it again).

Talk to your instructor first (network!), and look carefully at the syllabus. There may be concepts you don't know in sufficient depth yet, required for subsequent courses. They had almost certainly seen students like yourself. Perhaps they can give you more challenging assignments, or help you get into undergraduate research. Certainly take advantage of any undergraduate research programs your institution has? Put together some research proposals, especially if you're interested in graduate school, and present them to faculty.

I agree it is very frustrating to see burdens like these when you are driven. Make the best of your situation and apply yourself. Consider helping other students, making friendships and all that! This is part of the college experience, development of socialization abilities.

Consider, at my uni during each and every midterm, if you wait in the common area between the chemistry classrooms, you will experience weeping unlike any you'd seen before. Many grown women and men, leaving the classrooms earlier than their peers. Perhaps emotions you see very rarely in life in others, that of shattered dreams :(. You see, due to the pre-med students being required to take chemistry, they make the courses very difficult, aiming for C average. Such "weeding" makes the graduates more capable/proficient, and keeps up the status quo in terms of quantity of medical professionals for a given population (to keep salaries high and all that). I think more effort should be made to enable these people to pursue their dreams... better instruction for example.

EDIT: Also make sure your program is ABET accredited.

[Edited on 29-8-2018 by andy1988]
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 15:05


I also have heard bad things about college General Chemistry 1. My situation was a bit similar to yours, in that I took college chemistry during my last 2 years of high school. However, I had taken the AP Chemistry exam (I didn't take the course, just self-studied, but this was enough) so they let me skip General Chemistry and go straight to Organic Chemistry.

VSEPR_VOID: I would expect that through amateur experimentation you have already learned nearly all of the General Chemistry course material. I would talk to your instructor, or academic advisor, and see if they can put you in a more appropriate course. Given that it is early in the semester it is still likely possible to change courses.




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DavidJR
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 16:30


Frankly I felt similar about my degree (electronics/software engineering). It didn't get a whole lot better. Unfortunately, university education has become an expectation. I certainly get a lot more from independent study than I ever did from university.

edit: actually, there is one thing university gave me: a severe / disabling anxiety disorder....

[Edited on 29-8-2018 by DavidJR]




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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 18:23


Like Metacelsus, I got general chemistry taken care of by taking the AP Chemistry test in high school and using that credit to skip right to organic my freshman year. You may be able to test out of the course at your university, though I don't know how exactly that would work for you. Ask your professor.

With that said, I've also tutored some people in gen chem at my university so I'm familiar with the curriculum here, and while it is certainly basic material, it doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as what you're experiencing. The professors here actually do lecture and teach, rather than showing Crash Course videos... So see about testing out, but if that isn't an option, you'll just have to muddle through. Organic should be a lot better.




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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 18:23


General chemistry for science majors is different than general chemistry for other majors at some colleges. I took general chemistry for science majors, and I thought it was slightly less challenging and informative than high school general chemistry, but the topics covered were pretty similar. I remember doing more electrolysis in high school, though.



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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 20:06


Wow, either some of you are kind of dim or your High school didn't explain what an AP class was. It's called Advanced placement for a reason. Many classes use a college textbook for the class, mine did, and my college bio class was MUCH easier than my AP high school bio class, even bio 102 was easier than AP bio. I has 2 semesters of bio in college that was 90% repeat from one AP class in high school.

I'm sorry to say, but don't expect to learn a lot of amazing high tech things in college/uni unless you are in a specialized program. Many prof's seem to have not learned anything new in 20-40 years and much of what is taught isn't exactly up to date (epsecially in the tech field).. I learned a lot more by reading forums online, reading magazines and tech journals - and obviously personal experience, internships and jobs probably a 10:1 ratio of personal learning vs uni learning - too bad so many people demand a degree to be employed.
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[*] posted on 28-8-2018 at 21:58


Quote: Originally posted by RogueRose  
Wow, either some of you are kind of dim or your High school didn't explain what an AP class was.



Not every high school has AP chemistry. The only AP class that was available at my high school was AP bio, but I did take Organic I and II, not to mention Calc I and II, Nuclear, and a bunch of other classes.




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 00:45


1st year Uni was recapping what I learnt at A-Level mainly. It got a lot harder after that - especially the physics. I think the 1st year is supposed to be easy to bring everyone to the same level maybe, idk. Maybe they don't want to scare off the new folks.

That being said - a few years back we did compare some o-level maths papers from the early 1970s to some A-level Maths papers from the late 1990s.... they were pretty similar. Maybe it is getting easier as we churn out a higher percentage of people with degrees. In the past it was a measure of speciality and a degree of excellence that you did if you were in the top few percent of the year.... now it is considered a standard part of education. If you want to include everyone in the education system then it can't just be for the top 5%. I guess it has to be getting easier otherwise 90% of people that attend uni won't cope?




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 03:21


Quote: Originally posted by VSEPR_VOID  
Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
Is college = real university in your country?

[Edited on 28/08/18 by fusso]


I live in the U.S.


So the answer is no?




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 04:10


In the U.S., a college is a university department. If an educational institution is not organized into colleges but conducts itself basically like a university, it's called a college. There's no real distinction drawn between graduating from college and graduating from a university.



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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 04:40


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
In the U.S., a college is a university department. If an educational institution is not organized into colleges but conducts itself basically like a university, it's called a college. There's no real distinction drawn between graduating from college and graduating from a university.
More importantly, in the US, university is commonly referred to as college in casual speech which is what VSEPR is doing and he could've definitely answered that question better (yes, fusso, assume he is talking about university).



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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 05:53


Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
In the U.S., a college is a university department. If an educational institution is not organized into colleges but conducts itself basically like a university, it's called a college. There's no real distinction drawn between graduating from college and graduating from a university.
More importantly, in the US, university is commonly referred to as college in casual speech which is what VSEPR is doing and he could've definitely answered that question better (yes, fusso, assume he is talking about university).


More importantly? Eh, in my opinion (and I'm a Harvard graduate), that's less important.




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 06:14


In my experience, albeit almost 50 years ago - in the USA. There was no AP anything. Gen Chem was tough. 50 or 60 started in the fall. 20 or 30 finished in the spring. Organic chemistry the next year winnowed out more. The losers went to Law School. The object of a Chem department is to make chemists. The course was hard because the subject is hard. Look up what profession scores highest on the Wunderlich.

I think it is a mistake to dilute the course to pass more non-majors - it will make for lousy doctors. It is mistake to substitute videos for real wet chemistry. Woe betide the fool who ends up in a real life situation and has to do something not covered by their video playlist. Have a fire extinguisher handy.
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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 09:25


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
In the U.S., a college is a university department. If an educational institution is not organized into colleges but conducts itself basically like a university, it's called a college. There's no real distinction drawn between graduating from college and graduating from a university.
More importantly, in the US, university is commonly referred to as college in casual speech which is what VSEPR is doing and he could've definitely answered that question better (yes, fusso, assume he is talking about university).
More importantly? Eh, in my opinion (and I'm a Harvard graduate), that's less important.
More important to clear up the confusion in this discussion. Your response was extraneous information. You don't need a degree from anywhere to see that.

Edit: And to add something constructive, I would also strongly recommend getting into a research lab. Find out what the different professors at your university are researching, and go talk to the one(s) whose research seems most interesting to you. They won't mind- they like talking about their research. Even though you're a freshman, if you show interest and determination, they'll likely let you in. Bringing your home lab notebook along wouldn't hurt either.

[Edited on 8-29-2018 by Texium (zts16)]




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 09:37


Its like only the rich can be educated to get a career and suceed.
Thats what is frustrating classes too expensive physics calculus and chemustry they require labs what a pain the you have to match up the only class in chemistry that is 60 miles away in the snow to get to class to read a book and learn by the book what ever happened to hands on learning and seciring the future
Stem to steam its that bad you have to add art in it there
Just to get enough funding because art is the most important.

If it was set up community college could discove things that are normally on the university level
Like i said a community labratory would be great so how to fund this endever a gofundme page??

Chinese education is rough the study long hours my ex had a chinese exchange student perfect chance to practice chinese
They dicide what the want to do in high school they say college is a waste of time

[Edited on 29-8-2018 by symboom]

[Edited on 30-8-2018 by symboom]




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 10:32


Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
Your response was extraneous information. You don't need a degree from anywhere to see that.


If you truly believe it was extraneous information, I urge you to send it to Detritus immediately. If not, withdraw your statement.




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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 13:08


Hey hey JJay, way to go! Harvard, huh? I bet that was an experience. And an expensive one at that
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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 20:52


My high school chemistry year was good and there was no such thing as AP in those days (1960). The freshman general chemistry class at the University of Idaho was rigorous and challenging for me. We had regular tests and a 3-hr/wk lab. Many students did not show up for the 2nd semester. I did not have the self-learning advantages of today's youth, such as this forum.

The math hurt most students. It also wiped them out when taking math for engineering classes.




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