Organic chemistry is like no other class that I have taken. Really, you cannot explain the course to even people who have emotional connection to it ( in a more serious note) . I also find out that you can repeat that class as many times as you want to without feeling dumb about it; that is a fact . I once saw a girl that has dropped the class 4 times, which is nothing if you had to repeat the class the same amount of time, the same organic chemistry that ended my best friend’s dream of becoming a doctor.
Most organic chemistry teachers themselves can only explain what they know. It is so surreal that when you hear organic chemistry, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Yep, organic apple.” But wait till you are in the class, then you will realize that you are in for a surprise. The question most teachers will normally ask in organic chemistry is “What`s your knowledge about organic chemistry before you took the class?”
For a long time I thought there was some kind of connection to that. I mean from all seriousness, I went to that class hoping to see a connection with food, especially about apples, like my neighbor thought. The only connection that was most visible was when I found in research that the FDA has concerns over how much control they should have over the limit that the plastics industry should present in our drinking water.
But I was disappointed. Organic chemistry is a part of discipline involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials; it involves so many, many products including plastics, drugs, and petrochemicals. While Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods of organic farming — that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
But whatever you are thinking, the same ignorance that led me to organic chemistry became the laughing stuff when I found out my neighbor had similar thoughts. Isn’t it amazing how we can interpret things however way we want to, any how we want without being in trouble for it? (They call it freedom of speech). Sometimes it is not necessary to say “Hi” to our neighbors; most times it pays to keep quiet, but if only we can engage more people in our daily discussions, we may realize how fragile we all are, how vulnerable we can be especially when we are just ignorant of so many things. 6 months ago, I was having this discussion with a lady that I saw who walks her dog every day. I said to her, “Ma’m, how you are doing?”
As the conversation progressed, I told her that I just finished my organic chemistry today (YES!!!) and I feel so free. The lady jumped in and said, “Waaoh, isn’t it wonderful? I love organic apple, organic dapple lopper, organic squash, and organic butter.” (I do not know where the tripping point was) Did I say something strange I kept wondering? She continued, I have been eating organic food since I was a child. My mouth was still wide open as she continued. “I know that you must have enjoyed that class (“Not exactly,” I muttered to myself.) “I cannot do without organic foods.”
Here is what organic food look like
As she continued to list all the organic foods that mattered to her, I just shook my head. Really? Do you have to go this far? Really, I do not know what to tell her. I thought about my own ignorance and things I did not know and how I would have made a fool of myself in the same manner. Or probably we are so different, so I thought, because I am so good at studying body movements that will stop me when it is no longer fun. I put myself in that woman’s shoes.
A year ago, before I even took organic chemistry, I thought it had something to do with how we process our food. (Leave it to the dieticians). But I was wrong. I now know that it deals with carbon, metals, etc. Tell me when apples came in there? (I asked myself). But who Am I to stop her? Maybe this is the best ignorance?
But how can I explain this to my neighbor knowing how excited she was about her organic foods. I do not really want to embarrass her to make it worse; she was not even looking at me to know that it was becoming strange. I somehow put one third of the blame on me. Probably she did not understand me (As every foreigner feels most of the time.) But I was not the one who invented organic chemistry
(Science did). After all she will never understand me; she might even turn around and blame it on my accent. So I decided to let it go.
I wish someone with a very clear accent can help me tell her that organic chemistry has nothing to do with her beloved foods. (While organic produce is grown the way nature intended without the use of synthetic, pesticides and fertilizers. On the other hand, organic chemistry Instead deals with carbon based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives. Anything, but our organic foods.
In a better note, I really love my neighbor at least I have someone I could rely on even when I have had enough. She is very funny too.
What kind of neigbour do you have ?
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LOOKS LIKE THIS!