This class was tough.
If you desire to enter into the medical field, taking organic chemistry is a must. Organic chemistry was by far the most difficult course I have taken throughout my collegiate career, but it was also one of my favorites. Dr. Houseknecht was able to breakdown the difficult subject matter to where it was easily comprehensible for the students. The class taught me some of the necessary skills, like determining the reactants of a problem by being given the product(s) and vice versa. This is so important because this skill is used in the every day lives of physicians and physician assistants. Those in the medical field have to be able to determine what ailment an individual possesses from the symptoms, and when there are no symptoms, they need to find out why. I believe that taking this course helped me grow greatly scholastically.
There is a lot of information that you learn from taking organic chemistry, but it is all very focused. Information that you learn at the beginning of the semester is highly related to the information near the end of the semester. The focus of the course pertains to the characteristics of organic chemicals and how they react with one another. There are four main subjects that you will learn while taking organic chemistry: classifying and naming of molecules, understanding the 3-dimensional structures, knowledge of how certain chemicals react with one another and their mechanisms, and how to identify a molecule by using infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and NMR. Each section highly relates to each other, so if you struggle with one area, you will struggle with it all. In order to overcome the difficulties of the class, there were bi-weekly assignments that would test your knowledge of the assigned reading material. The class is also accompanied by a lab, which allows you to put into practice what you had read.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
Go to office hours! I cannot stress how important it is to get to know your professor and ask them questions. They are there to help you learn the material, none of them want to see you fail, so if you're struggling go into their office. Going into office hours allowed me to understand the subject matter that I didn't understand while reading or in class. However, going to the professors office hours is not sufficient to help you understand all the material. The best way to study for organic chemistry is through repetition. Read the book over and over again, run through practice problems until you have mastered the materials, and study with some friends to break the monotony and see a different way of thinking. This was by far the most difficult class I had ever taken and it took up a majority of my time, but the class was worth it. Make sure you don't fall behind and ask questions.