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Alumni Posts

Your Choice Was Right.

by Alumni Posts on February 22, 2013

in Academics,After College,Career Paths

Last week on my blog, I made a rather bold statement. Okay, I probably made several, but this one keeps coming back to me:

“…I know now that I definitely don’t like biochemistry enough to be a biochemist (organic chem. is way better…). I thought I would enjoy learning about the chemistry of life, but honestly, I kind of really dislike it. A lot.”

I would like to take a moment to publically apologize to biochemistry for not giving it time to sink in and grow on me. To quote my mom when I told her last week about my dread of the subject:

“You’ve been doing it for what, two weeks?”

To which I defensively responded that it had been more like five weeks, thank you, which is plenty of time to decide that you don’t like something, right? Of course. At least that’s what I thought, until last Thursday, when my view of everything changed and I began to think more logically again.

Fontbonne is in the process of hiring a new organic chem. professor! And we biology students have had the opportunity to attend mock lectures given by potential candidates. Last Thursday, we got out of biochem early, and Dr. Paine-Saunders led us upstairs to meet the latest candidate, a guy from Wisconsin. Now, I’ve heard that Wisconsin’s chemistry program is one of the best in the nation, so I was excited to see what methods he would employ in his teaching demo. We began with a brief question and answer session, during which we students were given some time to drill him on anything we wanted. One girl asked him how he felt about having students in his organic chemistry class who weren’t planning on going into a chemistry-related field. To which he gave the most wonderful, perfect response: he explained how, while those students may not be going into chemistry, per se, it is likely their fields are in fact related to chemistry and that a firm understanding in the subject is crucial in order to be truly competent in whatever career it is they have (like nutrition, for example).

I fought the urge to write, “HIRE THIS GUY!!” on my evaluation sheet.

See, I’m a terrible decision maker, and the fact that I chose to change majors is kind of a huge deal. Constantly I go back and forth in my head: “Did I make the right choice? Or did I make the stupidest decision of my life?” But this potential future organic chemistry teacher vocalized exactly why I changed majors, proving to me that my logic behind making the switch was completely sound. I changed majors because I knew that understanding what’s going on at the molecular level would help me better understand the big-picture concepts that I’m so passionate about. I would understand why organic agriculture is something worth advocating for, I would understand why processed foods and cosmetics and plastic water bottles and carpets and mattresses (I am NOT paranoid) are bad for us, I would understand what’s going on in the cells of my body as I’m training for my next half-marathon in April. Yes, this is why I changed majors, to understand these things and so much more! But my anxiety and fear over my decision kept me from seeing things rationally, and instead led me into believing that my new major was pulling me farther and farther away from who I am and who I want to be as a scientist. I see now, though, that the opposite is happening, just as I knew it would all along: The more I get into biochem, the more I see how applicable it is to what I want to do.

So, long story short, after making this statement, the candidate proved his point with an awesome lecture on glycolysis, and well, the rest is history. I am officially hooked on the challenge of biochemistry now. And you know what? Let’s be honest here: a PhD in it would be pretty awesome…

I’m excited to see where my new, clear vision takes me. I now know that I’ve made the right choice.

Have a good weekend everyone!


“New Theory” by Washed Out

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.