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Topic: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry  (Read 9375 times)

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Elementcone

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Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« on: May 08, 2006, 01:22:50 AM »
Hello everyone, I'm currently an undergraduate student at a military college on a 4 year Air Force scholarship. The school requires that everyone pick a major before they even start their first class, and because of my interest in the subject and pressure from my father (a PhD in Electrical Engineering), I chose EE.

To complicate the story even more, I was awarded my scholarship for chemistry. I had planned to major in chemistry but a very stressful year in my high school AP course dissuaded me. I have since learned that my teacher for that course had developed a brain tumor, which might explain the ferocious homework assignments and due dates (I’m talking 100+ problems due the next day), inability to really connect core subjects, etc….

I some how managed to score a 4 on the AP exam and gained college credit at my school (which has chemistry as a required freshman course). I have spent the year focusing on my classes and helping my fellow classmates with their chemistry homework. Every time I’d help someone I would have a nostalgic moment and a rekindling of my desire to pursue chemistry. This combined with the fact that A) all of the engineering professors seemed to be more boring than the chalk they wrote with and B) the Air Force only sanctions a Major change in the first year of school with no questions asked, I went through the process of changing my major.

In the process I was offered $3500 to stay over the summer and do undergraduate research with one of the professors (something about highly florescent organic chemicals from the lanthanides...).

So here I am at the end of the spring semester, freshly finished with my exams, as a chem. Major. I haven’t taken one real college level chem. course, but I’ve already worked out my course load for next year to include Organic, Inorganic, Physics, and Calc III, all of which are required and all of which have a lab. I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t know half of the stuff I need to know, I haven’t spent all year with the other chem. Majors, and I’m about to start nine weeks of undergraduate research. What the hell have I gotten myself into?!?!”

I feel like I’m about to crash hard. My question is: how hard can it be? Am I really going to crash? What am I in for? Anything that could make me feel better would be appreciated….

Oh, and I still haven’t broken the news to PhD.Dad.

Offline mike

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 02:02:48 AM »
Quote
I feel like I’m about to crash hard. My question is: how hard can it be? Am I really going to crash? What am I in for? Anything that could make me feel better would be appreciated….

Undergraduate research will be fun I reckon, especially if they are paying you for it ;)

Sounds like you have coped pretty well under pressure and adversity in the past so there is no reason you can't do it again, right.

Organic, Inorganic and Physics I have done and I think you could do them without a load of background. Especially if you are disciplined and willing to put in the extra effort (you can always come to this forum for help) I have done calc so I don't know about that, I would say it would be the same as any other undergrad course.

Self confidence can get you half the way as well as a positive attitude (if you believe you can do it then you will!)

Labs are generally lots of fun in chemistry, just read them before hand and do your background research so you understand the theory of the lab before you go in. There is nothing new in these courses that can't be found on the net or in your textbook.

What is the big deal about telling your Dad? Is he not very understanding or something? Who cares? You have your own life to live right? Make a decision and go for it, this will get you more respect from your old man than going in half-hearted, prove to him that you have made the right decision.

So, no more doubts. If I could do it then so can you (in fact I have no doubt you can do it better than me, what with you getting scholarships already!)

Good luck mate,

mike
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline Mitch

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 03:24:17 AM »
I found that working in a research lab often kept me more focused on my class work then I would of been.
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Elementcone

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 01:06:42 PM »
Hey, thanks. That's good advice.


Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2006, 10:17:00 PM »
I study chemical engineering. I like chemistry a lot. I whined a lot about the lack of chemistry in chemical engineering during my first year. I enrolled in the fine chemicals processing stream of the chemical engineering course at my department, and now I study organic and pharmateutical chemistry on top of my chemical engineering modules.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline edwinksl

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2006, 09:18:32 AM »
I study chemical engineering. I like chemistry a lot. I whined a lot about the lack of chemistry in chemical engineering during my first year. I enrolled in the fine chemicals processing stream of the chemical engineering course at my department, and now I study organic and pharmateutical chemistry on top of my chemical engineering modules.

Oh you are in Imperial College...had wanted to go there but decided otherwise :P

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2006, 09:47:59 AM »
Oh you are in Imperial College...had wanted to go there but decided otherwise :P

London is an expensive place to live.

Actually, University of Melbourne is not bad place. It's quite relaxed too, according to the Melbourne Exchange students at Imperial. They found Imperial to be very stressful. Looking back in time, I should not have rejected my offer from Melbourne U. University of Melbourne offered me a place in their joint law and chemical engineering program (5yr BEng-LLB) course. My interest is too wide already. Chemical engineering by itself is not sufficient to encompass all my interests.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline edwinksl

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2006, 10:10:27 PM »
Oh you are in Imperial College...had wanted to go there but decided otherwise :P

London is an expensive place to live.

Actually, University of Melbourne is not bad place. It's quite relaxed too, according to the Melbourne Exchange students at Imperial. They found Imperial to be very stressful. Looking back in time, I should not have rejected my offer from Melbourne U. University of Melbourne offered me a place in their joint law and chemical engineering program (5yr BEng-LLB) course. My interest is too wide already. Chemical engineering by itself is not sufficient to encompass all my interests.

Haha, maybe you should have gone to US and take a liberal arts degree. :P

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Spent the year as an Engineer, switched to chemistry
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 12:21:25 AM »
Do you know if you have a LLB from Melbourne U, you must be within the top 30th percentile in order to even qualify to apply for the Singapore bar?
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

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