I LOVE chemistry! (7 reasons why you could too.)
Whenever I tell someone that my major is chemistry I am always met with the same reaction: a momentary flash of surprise in the eyes and some garbled, mixed statement of “Oh wow! Good for you!” or “Ugh, you poor soul…”
Regularly, I am witness to the fact that the very mention of the word “chemistry” can fill people with dread – but it doesn’t have to! Give chemistry a chance and you’ll understand the beauty and wonder that it can have. To be perfectly honest, in high school I hated chemistry too. Then my hands-on experience with chemistry at UVic changed my mind, and consequently, my life.
I love my degree, and for those of you who need further convincing that chemistry is not some sort of cruel and unusual punishment, here are my reasons why:
1. Chemistry is the connecting science. As you learn more about chemistry, you’ll begin to find it is the perfect balance between the more conceptual sciences like physics and math, and the more palpable sciences like biology and geology. Chemistry nestles perfectly between the other science subjects and connects interdisciplinary ideas, such as how quantum mechanics relates to how cells work in the body.
2. Chemistry is like Lego! Ideas and frameworks can be broken down into smaller pieces and then reassembled in different ways to build something entirely new. You’ll find with each new thing you learn, everything else you’ve learned before makes more and more sense as the concepts all start to piece together.
3. It’s very hands-on. Not many other undergraduate disciplines have you plan out your own experiments, test them in the lab, and report your findings as a part of the regular curriculum. At UVic, students learn through interesting lab experiences that engage critical thinking and relate to current real-world applications.
4. Learn about the world around you. The more you learn about chemistry, the better you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions and interpretations about the natural and synthetic processes that have been around you all along.
5. It’s basically potions class. Ever wanted to know what it’s like to study at J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry? Well, chemistry is likely the closest you could get! (There’s also the quidditch team…)
While your friends spend their days reading books in the library, you’ll get to isolate the substances that give spices their distinct smell; make silly putty that changes colour with heat as you play with it; change a solution from lime green to bright orange in seconds; and test the true alcohol content of local beers!
6. The professors and lab instructors are amazing! While amazing professors are not exclusive to the Chemistry Department, we have them none-the-less. You’ll find the UVic chemistry professors and lab instructors to be passionate about what they do, helpful and supportive, and excited to share their love of chemistry with the world.