Keep your “ion” chemistry


Jack Doucet, Staff-Writer

In my experience, many students gripe and groan about the chemistry courses that Hoban offers, but I encourage you to think outside the box. Chemistry is one of the most versatile and interesting subjects with many areas of study. The best part is the hands-on experience alongside a concept-based curriculum.


Sophomore year, I took honors chemistry with Diane Vrobel and it was the highlight of my year. While chemistry was already an interest of mine, this class ignited a sense of curiosity in me that many other courses failed to do.


Working in the lab is often the most enticing part of chemistry. My two favorites were the combustion and the titration lab. The combustion lab was a study of light given off by certain compounds when ignited. Although we still had the assignment to complete, afterward we were given the freedom to experiment with the lab, provided we followed safety precautions. The titration lab gave a sneak peek into predicting the neutralization of acidic and basic solutions. These labs really made me feel like I was a mad scientist, creating colorful flames and operating scientific equipment. Plus, the visual aspect of these activities gave a much more concrete idea of the concepts.


The less dazzling, but equally appealing part of the course, was the curriculum. Being mainly conceptual, understanding the unit as a whole was a must. It made the entire experience that much easier. For example, the electron shell unit boggled me at first, but once I asked the right questions and received a careful explanation, it clicked. Of course, there were many applications to that concept, but that’s the beauty of chemistry: everything is an application of a set of formulas and concepts.


Additionally, even if you are not a “math person,” success in chemistry is possible. Although the science is basically applied math, the actual calculations are much easier than any in a math class. For example, many students claim that stoichiometry (unit conversion in a reaction) was hard. However, looking at it as the simple conversion of matter makes it that much easier. I guess they were never forced to sing the stoichiometry song in Vrobel’s classroom.


However, not everyone takes an interest in the interaction of molecules and substances, and that is okay. Many people dismiss chemistry before even giving it a chance. So when you walk into your next chemistry class, embrace your own curiosity and explore the wonders of our material world.