General Chemistry: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The very sound of its name strikes fear in the hearts of freshmen everywhere and inspires shocks of post-traumatic stress disorder in the memories of upperclassmen. It's known as General Chemistry 1171 or Chemistry 101 or Chemistry A - no matter the name, this class is  a ginormous bulldozer squashing its victims left and right. Year after year, hundreds of students make their way through what is known as one of the toughest classes of a college career.  So for the students struggling through their chemistry problems right now (or the upperclassman who are looking back on those oh-so-fond memories), here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of General Chemistry.

The Ugly (Let's get the worst parts out of the way):

General Chemistry is considered a weeding-out class for science majors.

If you want to be an engineer, doctor, researcher, or of course chemist, chances are you are taking Gen Chem first semester of freshman year. By putting the hard material near the beginning, professors and deans hope to weed out those who are uncommitted to a science major. It’s like the Hunger Games of the College of Science. 

The Bad:

There are hundreds and hundreds of kids taking General Chemistry. 

This environment can prove to be very difficult to learn in. During lectures, the kid next to you could be on Facebook, watching Netflix, sleeping, or chatting with his/her friend. And there is always the fight for the TA’s attention during office hours. 

The Good (I know, it's shocking that there might be something good about Gen Chem):

You could meet your best friends on the Chemistry Struggle Bus. 

Late nights, labs, and difficult problems create a certain bond (lol, chemistry puns) that can lead to life-long friends. Collaboration and joint misery are great ways to start a conversation that doesn’t involve your typical ND introduction (Name, Hometown, Major and Dorm); something that all freshmen need a little help with. 

So get studying Collegiettes! And remember, the people next to you in class probably wants to rip their hair out just as much. XOXOX 


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