I don’t know about your particular university, but for the students at my school, organic chemistry was known as one of the weeder classes. Meaning that this class made many pre-health students turn and run with their tail between their legs. For those of you who have taken this class, you understand exactly what I mean.
To tell you the truth, I find it really interesting that organic chemistry is a requirement for medical school at all. I have had doctors tell me that I’ll never really use it in my career or in med school and one of my Organic Chemistry teachers told the class, the very first day, that Organic Chemistry is really only beneficial for those wanting to be pharmacists.
However after having taken all of my required Organic Chemistry classes, I have grown to really like the subject. Also whether this class will ever be applicable to medical school or not, I believe that this class is absolutely necessary for a few particular reasons.
- It is full of concepts that build upon one another. Think about when you learned how to do an SN1 reaction versus an SN2 reaction and why it was necessary to do so. Then you learned that sometimes elimination reactions result as the major product in certain situations rather than SN1 or SN2. The beauty of O. Chem is that it is something that you must constantly remember for each test. This isn’t a class where you can forget previous test material for future tests because everything builds upon previous material learned.
- It causes one to reason out each problem carefully step-by-step in order to arrive at the correct solution. My favorite part of Organic Chemistry was performing synthesis reactions because it incorporated using several steps to change a certain molecule into another and one mess-up could ruin getting to the correct end molecule. Doctors are “problem solvers” so being able to reason through certain situations and get to the correct end point is a necessary skill to have.
- The methods to getting from point A to point B are sometimes numerous and knowing more than one will help you in the long run. Going back to synthesis problems, the more ways I knew for adding or removing a specific group on a molecule, the better I was prepared for when I had more difficult problems on the test. Knowing several solutions for one problem can better help your problem solving skills as a doctor.
- It paves the way for topics in Biochemistry. You will be taking Biochemistry in medical school (or at least that’s what I’ve been told) and knowing how certain molecules and groups behave, can help you for when you learn the more in depth topics in biochemistry when they build bridges between concepts in Biology and Chemistry.
These are some of the ideas that I have thought about when I had to take Organic Chemistry. Perhaps you or I will have to end up taking this class at whatever medical school we end up attending. Either way, doing good in this class will definitely give you the necessary skills to being a doctor, and tackling those harder classes in the future.
Have any of you thought of the benefits of taking Organic Chemistry?