Freaking out about Chem!!

  1. Hi all,

    I just took my first Chemistry class on Wednesday and I feel like a complete idiot I am really struggling with conversions. Any suggestions? I am currently 4.0 and am really worried that this class may be my downfall. My friends 16 year old daughter has offer to tutor me (is that humiliating or what?) and I am actually almost deperate enough to accept. I am worried that if I do not ace Chemistry I may not have what it takes to be a nurse.

    Thanks for any input,
    Tracy
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   ICor9:24
    Quote from L&Dsomeday
    Hi all,

    I just took my first Chemistry class on Wednesday and I feel like a complete idiot I am really struggling with conversions. Any suggestions? I am currently 4.0 and am really worried that this class may be my downfall. My friends 16 year old daughter has offer to tutor me (is that humiliating or what?) and I am actually almost deperate enough to accept. I am worried that if I do not ace Chemistry I may not have what it takes to be a nurse.

    Thanks for any input,
    Tracy
    I posted a similar thread about my biology class. I too am freaked about it! I feel like when I read my book I might as well have just read something in Greek! I got a lot of good feedback and suggestions. My class is online, so I am also missing the classroom lecture, and just having to self learn from reading, and hope I get it on the exams. The suggestions that really stuck out were making and using notecards, with definitions, processes, etc. Also search for some web sites that might have visuals and easier to understand readings about the same material that is being covered in your book. I know it sounds crazy, but I even stumbled upon something on the Yahooligans page (which my 3rd grader uses all the time!) which had info on the same process I am learning now (it's Bio 100) which was broken down in a way I could actually get it! (Duh - for kids!)

    Hope this helps, and don't be worried, a lot of us feel the exact same way. Talk about humiliation, last quarter I took pre algebra, and was learning essentialy the same things my 3rd grader is learning! Talk about a reality check! Good luck!
  4. by   lovingtheunloved
    I'm taking chem this semester. I start Monday. I took it in high school, and didn't show up half the time, and certainly never read anything, and got a C. So I figure if I go, and I study, I'll get an A. Here's hoping anyway.

    Even if you don't do that great in chemistry, it won't mean you'll be an incompetant nurse. I've worked with some awesome nurses who barely got a C in chem.
  5. by   NCNurse2be
    Hang in there.... Concentrate on learning the basics. Once you get into your real nursing courses, you won't even see the majority of the pre-req chem that they make you take. (you'll need the basics for Pharmacology, and it helps with some of the nutrition and med reaction stuff, but otherwise, I haven't seen any of the bulk stuff we had to learn in chem). Good luck!
  6. by   mariedoreen
    What do you mean by conversions? What specifically are you having a problem with? (And yes, take the tutor... do not let time go by when you don't understand something in chemistry or it will bury you.)
  7. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Quote from L&Dsomeday
    Hi all,

    I just took my first Chemistry class on Wednesday and I feel like a complete idiot I am really struggling with conversions. Any suggestions?
    Hi, Tracy... Are you talking about conversions like mm to feet or ounces to mls?
  8. by   Fiona59
    Try to remember you have to be able to cancel the calcultations out:

    ie k/1000g x 1g/1000mg

    is that were your having problems?

    its kind of like the med calculations we had to do, not difficult, but can be time consuming in getting the idea ....lol
  9. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Remember that if you are doing conversions, you are basically multiplying what you start out with by a series of fractions that really are "1," so you don't change the value of what you started out with, you are just changing its units.

    Kind of like a 100 pennies is a dollar, but so are four quarters, 20 nickels, ten dimes or one of those paper things. LOL

    Another way to look at it is, you have what you are starting out with, say, a gallon, and you know where you need to be, say, milliliters. You may not know how many milliliters there are in a gallon, but you do know that.....

    There are four quarts in a gallon.

    Each quart has two pints, so that means four times two, or eight pints in a gallon.

    You know that there are two cups in each pint, so that means two times eight, or sixteen cups in a gallon.

    Each cup has eight ounces, so eight times sixteen, which is 128 ounces in a gallon.

    Each ounce has about 30 milliliters in it, so 30 times 128 is the number of milliliters in a gallon. (3840 milliliters in a gallon.)

    If you take your time and remember what your units are (gallons, ounces, cups, etc.), you will be OK.

    Later, when you see the sense of this (and you will, when you think about what you are doing), you can just set up your ratios so you can cancel out your units. (you have to ignore those little marks--it's the only way I could spread out the bottom numbers.)

    1 gal . 4 qt . 2 pt . 2 c . 8 oz . 30 ml = (ta-da!)
    ``1```1 gal``1 qt`1 pt``1 c``1 oz

    The units all "cancel out" leaving you with milliliters. And we know that anything "over" one is itself.....

    Hope this helps!
    Last edit by chris_at_lucas_RN on Jan 22, '05 : Reason: making the spaces on the math part work right
  10. by   nursemat
    being a microbiology major double i have had to have more chem than ayone should be forced to endure in a liftime.

    But i do love chem... I think that makes me weird

    anyway when doing conversions start with what you know then use use the correct conversion factors to get what your asked

    like the example above

    and it works with everything AMUs moles blah blah

    if you have specific problems just ask away i am happy to help as long as it isn't with spelling or grammer.

    is this a chem survey class or science major general chem
    here in ga nurses can take a survey of chem which is like spoonfulls of assorted topics which i think is good i don't realy see why anyone besdies a chemist needs to know about thermochemistry

    since i have a double major in micro i have to take general chem I &II and organic chem I & II luckly though they accpeted those as my pre reqs to nursing school.

    there is alot of smart people here we won't let you flunk hehe
    Last edit by nursemat on Jan 22, '05
  11. by   RainDreamer
    Hi Tracy, first off just tell yourself you WILL do well in chemistry and you do have what it takes to be a nurse, don't let this frustration from chemistry make you doubt that.

    Chemistry isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be hard either. I took chemistry in high school and didn't understand it, I hated it, and I ended up failing. When I saw that I needed 2 semesters of chemistry for college I freaked out, thinking there's no way I can do this because I totally didn't understand it in high school. So it was time to take my 1st semester of chem in college and at first I didn't undestand it, just like it was in high school, but I went to my professor and got some 1 on 1 help and it started making sense! Any time during that semester that felt confused I went to her for help. And guess what? I got an A in the class!! I actually enjoyed chemistry.

    I just wanted to tell you that so you know that YOU can do it too. But please please please get help with it now. A lot of the basic conversions and equations that you're doing now are crucial to the rest of the class, so you must learn how to do it. Go ask the professor for some 1 on 1 help. Get your friend's daughter to tutor you, use any tutoring services that are available at your school. A lot of people have trouble with chemistry, that's what the tutors are for. I wish you all the best of luck, let us know how it goes
  12. by   oregonrene
    My suggestion is to borrow an algebra book from the library and brush up on your basic algebra skills. Know how to cross-multiply, cancel things out, etc. Learn the "dimensional analysis" method of doing conversions - if you don't know it, ask your instructor. And finally, practice, practice, practice.

    I'm taking TWO chemistry classes this quarter and I have a ton of homework in both classes. But, I know my conversions inside and out! I'll be ready for the exams.

    Good luck, it's not that scary once you understand what the heck you're doing, then it's simply math.
  13. by   hospitalstaph
    WOW! Thanks for all of the wonderful suggestions! I studied like crazy over the past weekend and finally understood all of the convertions (in to cm, etc). I was really surprised when we returned to class on Monday and well over half of the class was still lost. Now our instructor has thrown algebra at us which is also really difficult for me. He even told us yesterday that he does not want to hear "I'm just not good at math" from anyone My dad is a CPA and now officially my tutor. The way he explains it really makes sense. Also I bought "The Complete Idiots Guide to Chemistry" and "Chemistry Made Easy". I really want to get that A and I think I am going to have to work my tail off for it

    Thanks again for all of the great responses!
    Tracy
  14. by   KnittingNurseStudent
    Hi
    Hope chemistry works out well for you. I am buying chem for dummies from ebay...I start the class on Monday. I am going to need all the help I can get!
    Definately keep telling yourself you'll succeed and you will! Determination makes the difference....for me anyway!
    Good luck!

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