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Chemistry 116: A is for...

... ass-kicked?

Because that's what happened to me this semester. I stumbled across the finish line last week with a bottom-scraping, round-up A on the final (87.8% - yes, I know, us old school folks aren't used to seeing anything in the 80s resembling an A, but welcome to the era of lowered expectations: I'll take it).

Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Steve Carell Look Alike, my "resurrection final" also replaced the worst grade from my previous three tests (83.8% - rate laws and equilibria) - thus I ended this forced-march of a semester with a 90.78%.

The good news is, I don't think the med school admissions officers check the actual percentages - an A is an A is an A. The bad news is, I still have Biology 1 & 2, Physics 1 & 2 and Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 before I can even apply. That being said, as much as I don't like acid-base titrations (a recent discovery), I think I had a lot more fun this semester... that is, if you can actually have fun water-boarding yourself.

Read on for more lessons learned from the 37-year-old Pre-Med Student...

Schedule permitting, my back-to-school philosophy has been to take the hardest classes first, so I can weed myself out without wasting a whole lot of money. What's the point of breezing through biology if you get bitch-slapped by Chemistry 116, right?

That was working out pretty well until the Arizona state legislature began raiding university funds to cover the billion-dollar holes in our state budget deficit - and tuition and fees began rising to plug the multimillion-dollar craters left in the ASU funding formula. As one who pays graduate school rates for undergraduate classes - i.e. $485 per credit hour, minimum 4-hour class with labs (gulp) - I didn't need a quadratic equation to determine this irresistible force of pre-med aspiration might meet the immovable object of my bank account. Sure, the federal government can borrow 45 cents of every dollar it expects to spend next fiscal year - and it has plausibly good reasons for doing so. Unfortunately, I can't - there will be enough time for borrowing if / when I get to med school.

Fortunately, the tuition increase hit just south of my threshold for pulling the plug, so I enrolled in organic chemistry for the fall - because not only do I like to waterboard myself, I like to pay top-dollar for the privilege.

Besides the recent discovery that I like to punish myself for fun, Chemistry 116 reinforced my belief that the next generation will send our country straight to hell on a full scholarship* - but with a few notable exceptions: Michael, Michael, Rachel, Stephanie, Taylor, Kaitlin, Katelyn and the guy who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan (and apparently is sweet on Stephanie, but whose name escapes me). Out of 190 people, that's ... unfortunate. And if you think I'm being too hard on my classmates, just check out the performance of these proud Sun Devils on national television:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Arizona State Snubs Obama
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Or as the young people say: Good times... Good times...

So here are some other miscellaneous lessons learned in Chemistry 116:
1) I am a mule-headed SOB (if a girl can be an SOB) - I spent 14 hours trying to figure out one equilibrium reaction and realized the night before the final that I knew how to work the chemical reaction, but I JUST DIDN'T REMEMBER HOW TO WORK THE ALGEBRA. Then I spent another 2 hours working on the algebra, FINALLY figured out the right answer, only to have Dr. Steve Carell Look Alike LEAVE THAT PROBLEM OFF THE TEST. Are you kidding me?

2) Satire is wasted on the masses. See TURN IN THE TEST, MORON.

3) SUMMER IS COOL. I don't have any classes between now and late August. I didn't realize I would be so thrilled with this state of affairs but apparently it gives me more time to devote to serious hobbies like training for the Navy SEALs, creating Peeps dioramas and drinking heavily.

4) I hope next semester is one that does not involve my mother-in-law's recovery from heart attack, my husband's recovery from a broken collarbone and subsequent surgery for his torn rotator cuff, three weeks of furlough for Pat and what is shaping up to be a pending visit to a surgeon for me (female stuff - nonserious). Ugh.

5) I'm not fond of acid-base titrations.

I think that's about it. Onward to O-chem!

*I wish I could claim this as original, but I cannot. Found it on m new favorite evil time-kill: www.textsfromlastnight.com