High school chemistry: What is it? Can I learn it? Can I be any good at it?

By Niyi

High school chemistry

The word “chemistry” inspires so many emotions. To some, it brings about the excitement of mixing together a few glowing liquids and crafting the perfect radioactive potion that, when consumed, will make you a green giant and about 9000 times stronger. Next thing you know, Captain America is looking to recruit you as the newest Avenger. To others, it’s discombobulated numbers and letters on a piece a paper in Ms. Jacobs’ class, a concatenation that strikes fear and anxiety into the bravest of students. I mean … it looks like a foreign language!

So – what exactly is high school chemistry? Why do I need to study it? Is it for me? Can I be any good at it? What are the chances I can actually get superpowers? Well – let’s try to answer some of these questions in this post.

What is chemistry?

In high school, I honestly had no idea what to expect from chemistry. I knew it had to do with molecules, atoms, and mixing things together in silver flasks that could blow your hair away. I remember walking into my first real chemistry class my sophomore year in high school and seeing four Erlenmeyer flasks on my professor’s desk. The first flask had a green liquid in it; the last flask had some amount of clear liquid. The middle two flasks probably had a couple drops of a clear liquid in them, as well. We sat down and watched the professor pour the green liquid into one of the middle flasks and watched it magically turn pink! She then took that pink liquid and poured it into the next flask – it magically turned blue! She ended by pouring the blue liquid into the last flask and having it return back to pink! I was amazed. I was curious. How did the liquid change colors?! This was the start of my fascination with chemistry.

This experiment, moreover, emphasizes what chemistry really is: an understanding of molecular properties and how they interact, combine, and change the world we see around us in spectacular ways.

Can I be good at it?

YES! Do you remember riding a bike for the first time? How about running your first 5k or finally learning how to play your favorite song? Whatever the case, no matter how big or small, we have all had that moment where we worked hard at something that we wanted to be good at. We all remember that feeling of “finally getting it.” Chemistry is just like that! At first it will seem strange and uncomfortable. But, I promise that if you work at it, have fun, and see how important each topic is to everyday life, you can, and will be, AMAZING at chemistry.

Will I get super powers?

Will you turn into the incredible hulk? Okay, maybe not. But, will you learn how chemistry can be used to make a superhero difference in the world? 100% yes.

Our chemistry tutors, like Niyi, are doctoral candidates and PhDs. Our team also includes MD candidates, MDs, and MD-PhDs. Most of our tutors have served as teaching assistants for hundreds of undergraduates, many of whom are encountering chemistry for the first time. Our tutors can work with students of all ages to deepen their study of chemistry at any level.

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