A.J. Boyce ’17 bonding with chemistry

Every time I admit to someone that my favorite class this semester is chemistry, the conversation usually becomes a miniature interrogation. People don’t seem to believe that it is a possibility, and until this semester I would have vehemently agreed. Let it be known that my choosing to major in one of the natural sciences at Conn was not because I excelled at them in high school. I wasn’t the worst, but since I preferred understanding larger scale things like earth sciences and biology, I would walk to chemistry with a good deal of dread every day. I wasn’t comforted when, upon entering college, I learned that a semester of it was required for my major. I’m not a human without flaws, and I will openly admit that I waited until the last possible moment in my senior year to take the class. However, my irrational fear and shameful procrastination is validated by knowing that I am one of two seniors in my class of otherwise first-years.

It defies all logic, but despite my demonstrated incompetence at chemistry in high school, both my dad and sister are chemists. After going through life bitter that having a knack for chemistry isn’t genetic, or at least wasn’t in my case, I decided to move beyond the trauma of the past and start this semester anew. That plan didn’t work, or at least for the first two weeks it didn’t. After scoring a 63 on the first homework, which took me an embarrassing amount of hours to finish the night beforehand, I realized that the problem must not lie with me. It’s a pretty tactless and shameful defense mechanism, but I reasoned that the chemistry concepts I was being taught were, obviously, flawed and therefore incapable of making sense.

Despite my revelation of chemistry being a pseudoscience, I decided to keep at it, ignoring the fact that I literally had no choice since I wouldn’t get my degree without it. Imagine my shock and dismay when I found myself one Tuesday morning enjoying four hours of chemistry homework. The scariest part is that the feeling of enjoyment never went away and became a part of my daily homework routine. Apparently all those concepts I previously believed to be fake all made sense when put together and it made chemistry become a puzzle more than anything, and I absolutely love puzzles. Now, I found myself at a crossroads, wondering what to do with my newfound interest. Surely I can apply it to a future career in research, but for now I’ll just keep sending my dad and sister pictures of my test scores captioned: “Your job isn’t that hard.”