Here's a few websites that I found that have some online organic chem practice problems. Youtube also probably has a treasure trove that I have not even yet touched. I've heard of the glories of youtube. I'd recommend checking it out. Honestly, I think you have enough that you can do in the book itself - just work ALL the problems, especially the synthesis ones. Spending an hour a day on synthesis problems alone is almost an absolute must - time management is the evil here - don't be afraid to cut stuff out of your day mercilessly! Practice test still being written, to be finished no later than Monday, if all goes well.
Organic Chemistry Practice Problems at Michigan State University
Cliff Notes - Rxns of Amines, etc
Organic Chemistry Practice Multiple Choice Questions
Lastly, the "ten commandments of organic chemistry" from the Organic Chemistry I Workbook for Dummies by Arthur Winter. I really liked these. They're all true. He expounds on each one a bit more in the book.
Thou shalt work the practice problems before reading the answers
Thou shalt memorize only what thou must
Thou shalt understand thy mechanisms
Thou shalt sleep at night and not in class
Thou shalt read ahead before class
Thou shalt not fall behind
Thou shalt know how thou learnest best
Thou shalt not skip class
Thou shalt ask questions
Thou shalt keep a positive outlook
Summer research at Emory is slated to start May 1st in Dr. Salaita's lab! Super pumped about it. More info to come soon! UNC Chapel Hill rejected me officially. Doesn't bother me though. I should have applied to their chem program over their Biomedical Sciences program anyway.
I told Bijoy about everything. He congratulated me and said he was so glad I'd accepted Emory - he thought they were better than UNC. It seems Dr. Kushner holds the same opinion. That made me feel really good. They approve! Here's to fun times at Emory!
Now that I feel like I have everything important out of the way, next week, going to be turning up the paper reading knob again and seeing if I can surprise Dr. Salaita with an NSF proposal attempt by May 1st. Perhaps nothing I do would surprise him by now, but we'll see. One of the prospective students I met at GA Tech and I have been talking about proposals. She already wrote one, and I'm hoping she can send me hers as a sample, and maybe bounce some ideas off her. She's hilarious and crazy - great person - wants to do synthesis of natural compounds.
Cleaned out my entire inbox today, from 800 --> 100 emails. Yesssssssssssss. Feels really good. I'm never letting my email get out of control again. Nope. Not happening. I hate clutter.
Going to try to be reading more papers, but I feel like I've been neglecting my SI students just slightly. I need to write them more notes too. We'll see what I can accomplish this next week.
What Lab Am I Working For?
*Note: This was posted after "Summer Research Update" but it's appearing before it. Huh. Beats me.
It's Salaita - no and's, if's or but's. So, if you read earlier, you'd know I was leaning toward Salaita's group. I'm now 100% certain that's where I'm supposed to be. I told him this - but I'm not saying anything to anyone else - no one I feel like would understand why I'm so sure, and it just brings on pointless debate to say so. It's ok. A year ago, I would have been in their shoes, telling me to 'consider all my options.' Yes, yes, yes. Well, I have - and the answer is overwhelming. If I - who never makes up my mind about anything - can be 100% sure, you can know it's a miracle of God, which is precisely true, in this case. A bit more on that below.
I visited Tech March 14th - 15th. It was cool, but it's also huge. And I don't know anyone there. Still, I met some awesome people. I enjoyed Dr. Oyelere's work (who spoke at Oxford a year or so ago) and Dr. Finn's work (who just came from CA's Scripps) the best. Especially Dr. Finn - the stuff he's doing is amazing. Tech hired him to expand chemical biology at GA Tech and apparently, he's into expanding collaboration between Tech and Emory. I cannot WAIT to see what will come of this. Here's an article I found about him on the web. I could see myself doing a post-doc at Tech someday perhaps. I just have to do more networking there.
I met this hilarious girl at Tech, from Miami (Kim O.). She's super hyper and friendly to everyone. She was telling me about how she wrote a proposal. She's accepted Tech and is looking to work for Dr. Kubanek. A great choice, considering she wants to work on synthesizing drugs from natural compounds. I'm trying to talk to her these days about proposal writing. I'm looking forward to saying hi to her when she comes to campus officially in the fall. Maybe she can introduce me to Tech people.
Also, hats off to Dr. Cameron "Cam" Tyson, the graduate coordinator at Tech. He's the only graduate coordinator I've seen at any school that actually personally toured us around everywhere we went, probably walking miles over March 15th. I was deeply impressed by him. I told him so. I hope he realizes that, even though I rejected Tech.
More Answered Prayer
So, before I went to Tech, I did pray that God would make me abundantly certain about whether or not I should be at Emory, that'd He'd show me something, and that I would have 0% doubts. Well, He did just that.
One of the prospective students I met was Mary Radhuber, who's been working for Dr. Weaver at Emory the last five years, since she was a freshman. I just ran into her and she asked me about the school I was leaning to (Emory) and the lab (Salaita). She gave me glowing reports on Emory and Dr. Salaita immediately. It was another quite obvious and I might say - totally unexpected - slap in the face.
By the end of the 15th, I'd heard from her that Dr. Salaita was so well funded, all three of his government grants had been approved, and he'd had to chose one. No one is having that problem right now. At Tech and UGA especially, I heard nothing but how much the funding crunch was scaring everyone. One professor I spoke to at Tech had graduated four students recently, had one left, and only had the ability to hire one more. This kind of thing I saw repeated a LOT at UGA as well.
Mary said she'd heard talk of Dr. Salaita being considered for tenure early. Who ever heard of such a thing?
But more importantly, she was able to tell me that yes, he really is as nice as he seems - he's always been that way since he came, and excited about his research. It's not a fluke. And he's nice to undergraduates!! That's really important. The little people matter. I was an undergraduate for an incredibly long time, it seems. Sometimes, no one takes them seriously or treats them like inferiors. I sympathize with them.
Additionally, it seems Dr. Salaita really does talk to all his grad students regularly - which is something I want. Yes, of course I want to be independent. But, I really do enjoy butting heads with people to talk things out as well - a vigorous, lively debate. The other professors are always available to talk - but, I feel like Dr. Salaita would seek us out. It's the difference between feeling like a bother and knowing such time is scheduled in. It makes a world of difference to me.
I knew from all this that God had confirmed everything I wanted to know and more. But I was still nervous. I hate making big decisions - "limiting my options" - whatever that means. But, it turns out, it wasn't over. To end the day, I was waiting in the lobby for dinner and Wallace another prospective sat next to me, saying how much he loved Emory and was totally going there. He, Mary and I had a 1.5 hr long conversation about Emory, science and how awesome it was, Emory professors - that completely soothed away all the rest of my nagging fears at just going for it. Yes, I know an answer to prayer when I see one.
I ended up realizing that Dr. Salaita came to Emory about 4 years ago, when I first started praying for a lab to join. And, it came to my mind a specific day three years ago, when I was commuting home from UGA and started praying very specifically for the kind of person I wanted to work for ...
1. Someone not terrifying.
2. Someone who wouldn't mind questions, even stupid ones.
3. Someone who would enjoy talking with me on a regular basis about science and ideas.
4. Someone who would talk to me like an equal.
5. Someone who was excited about science and their research (this one I didn't remember until a few days ago, but it was also there).
Guess what? Dr. Salaita has all five of those qualities - I've seen them myself and had them confirmed by others. Let it be said that I've seen what I've seen and know what I know - I'm working for him - no more questions asked. His research is interesting too. How about that. Isn't God great? You'll never believe what I'm praying for concerning this summer.
In all of these things, I've used both logic and faith - logic took me to 90%. Of course I look at the facts - it's burned into me - and the facts are there. There's loads I could list but it would take all day and get really boring, so why bother? It's really a combination of a LOT of little things that mean nothing individually but everything added together. Yet only faith could give me no doubts. It's obvious to me I'm supposed to be here. If God can do this - something that I was so worried about for my entire undergraduate career - He can do anything. I'm no longer worried about anything else that'll happen at all.
Don't think for a second I've given up talking to all the other labs. My "grad school goals" stand. I forgot that Emory and Tech are connected by a bus route. Maybe I actually can talk to people at Tech! I shall talk to them ALL. I'm always open to changing my mind, always evaluating facts and ideas - though I know I won't about Salaita - but still - I do look at everything and will continue to. Let the fun times begin!! *cracks knuckles*
And now, some pictures to get across how I am approaching grad school - total war, all guns blazing, battle cry, "SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONN!!!!"
I'm here Friday at the following times:
11:00 - 11:45 a.m.
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
1:15 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
I'll be sending out the practice test sometime today if all goes well.
If you weren't able to come to SI, here's some suggested problems from the chapter and the end chapter review that I mentioned. I think my problem and section numbers appear to be +1 larger than yours, so keep that in mind when you look these up. Subtract 1 off the problem numbers. So that you can check and make sure to see what's what, I've listed my chapter sections and accompanying problems under each, so there's no confusion. Sections are in red, recommended problems are in black. I've also added this list to my blog - pass it around and let people know!
18-8 Syn of Ketones and Aldehydes Using 1,3-diathianes
18-9 Synthesis of Ketones from COOH
18-10 Synthesis of Ketones from Nitriles
18-11 Synthesis of Aldehydes and Ketones from Acid Chlorides
18-12 Reactions of Ketones and Aldehydes: Nucleophilic Addition
18-13 The Wittig Reaction
18-14 Hydration of Ketones and Aldehydes
18-15 Formation of Cyanohydrins
18-16 Formation of Imines
18-17 Condensation with Hydrozylamine and Hydrazines
18-18 Formation of Acetals
18-29, 18-30, 18-31
18-19 Acetals as Protecting Groups
18-20 Oxidation of Aldehydes
18-21 Reductions of Ketones and Aldehydes
End Chapter Review Problems (The first problem in the end chapter review listed for me is 18-38. If that's the same number as yours, then good - the numbers will match. If it's not, subtract accordingly, with what yours is.)
Keep in mind that the synthesis problems are going to be where you want to spend your time. Good luck guys!
I went to judge the Junior Division of the State Science and Engineering Fair yesterday. I love judging these projects. The kids are so cute and lots of them are SO excited about what they did and to tell about the insights and discoveries they made. I always try to write really long comments on people's sheets. They love those. I know I did. I think I judged about thirteen people.
I saw Ankit from the Kushner lab, and Amy, who I'm always running into at the State Fair. They've been there ever since I've been judging as well. I think this was my third time judging the Junior Division.
I was walking through the massive crowd of kids to the restroom before everything started and one of them gasped and said, "You were my judge at Gwinnett!" I thought that was hilarious. I told her welcome to state! I didn't remember her at first, but then later, I did. I really liked her project - she did a great job without any help. I saw her later among the seniors and talked to her about the fair. It was a lot of fun.
It was from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. However, for some reason, there were still a few more that needed to be judged after the 3:30 p.m. break so I stayed til 4:30 p.m. I was SO exhausted afterward. Not sure why - but it was a lot of fun. I had a great time! I got to see one of the INTEL ISF winners be a Junior Judge for the first time - so cool.
General Summary Update
So far, I've been trying to read papers and systematically talk to each professor in more detail about their research, leaving no stone unturned. That is my way.
However, I'm being distinctly pulled in the Salaita lab's direction. I was really stressed about that at first, worrying that I was biasing myself. Worrying/wondering if I could work in a lab that didn't involve growing cells *every* day. I'm no longer stressed. If I can't trust the Lord to guide me to the right lab, that I've prayed about for three years, then I cannot trust Him at all. When I stopped second-guessing myself, I felt so much better. I'm still talking to everyone. If there's something else I should do, He will show me.
So far, everything that I've done and seen is pointing to Salaita. Quite unexpectedly and contrary to everything I thought, his research came up and slapped me in the face. Here's some reasons I say this...
Why I feel as if Dr. Salaita's group might be the lab I'm being directed toward
1. He wasn't my first choice. Dr. Lynn was. I thought Dr. Salaita's research was intriguing in some ways, but I didn't expect to like it much. It wasn't in my major area of interests.
2. I added him to my interviews for Emory at the last minute on the application and sign-up.
3. On the scavenger hunt on the first visitation day at Emory, his lab was the first we visited. He happened to be there and explained his instruments. They were interesting and I liked his personality. I remembered that later at the poster session and sought out his board.
4. Later, I saw his poster and realized he also did some synthetic biology work, which I didn't know about. I love synthetic biology. It looked fascinating. I am always jealous of engineers. I decided I'd have to ask him about it.
5. During the interview, his main research turned out to be more interesting than I anticipated. Hearing the context, how it was done and some of it's history was quite neat. And I loved the energy with which he spoke about it. I didn't get to ask him about the synthetic biology project, but he told us to find him at the dinner if we had more questions.
6. At the dinner, I made a point to seek out Rolando from the Lynn lab, but no one else. I chose an empty table except for one prospective I kind of knew, giving up on seeking people out, because it was too stressful. Dr. Salaita just 'happened' to sit by us.
7. I asked Dr. Salaita about his synethic biology project. He told me about a project he was recruiting for that wasn't on his main website and was right up my alley. In fact. It's perfectly interesting - includes RNA, designing a synthetic enzyme, mammalian cells which I wanted to get into, and combinations of inorganic, synthetic chemistry, molecular biology, RNA - so lots of variety. I couldn't have asked for better.
8. I read the related paper on the project he spoke to me about and was instantly enthralled.
9. I visited him later two weeks ago to ask questions about the related paper. He was not bothered by all the questions. In fact, he asked to see my copy of the paper and my question sheet I'd printed off, which I didn't intend to show him. He was impressed with the number of comments I'd written up. He always talks to me like an equal and never even hints that what I ask him is ridiculous. It was a good conversation, despite me being incredibly nervous. Seeing the labs more closely, I worried that I'd never work with cells in his lab though.
10. I realized his grad student Kevin who's working on this project was the guy who drove a bunch of us back from the bar at 10:30 p.m. on the visitation weekend. I just hadn't realized that. He and Kevin invited me to lab meetings.
11. I looked up ~58 papers on DNZymes, as a topic, at Oxford. The whole field is completely fascinating. What Dr. Salaita is trying to do is also completely fascinating. I could totally see myself working on this area.
10. Dr. Salaita liked the questions I sent him later. I'm glad he didn't mind. Kevin kindly answered them, even though it was a long list.
11. I attend the lab meeting. It allayed some of my concerns, from the description I'd heard of them from Kevin, the grad student. Dr. Salaita's meetings are different from Dr. Kushner's. In the Kushner lab, everyone went around the room telling about where they were in their research and everyone else brainstormed solutions to any problems they were having. It was like a group pow-wow. Dr. Salaita instead has weekly one on one meetings with his grad students about their work. At lab meeting, one person presents his work, as practice for scientific talks, or presents a paper. The way it was described, I worried that there wouldn't be as much feedback from the group, or mutual discussion of ideas. However, lots of the grad students gave good comments and asked questions on the person's work who spoke, so I felt a lot better about it.
12. Afterward, Dr. Salaita talked to me briefly. I asked about mammalian cells. They isolated the protein he's going to be using in other labs, rather than his. It sounds as if from what he says and what I remember from the paper that I would be working with some cells during this project. I wouldn't have to worry about being cell-less.
13. He showed me a perfect vacant room nearby his labs where I could study anytime to my heart's content. That made me so happy. I hate drifting around, being unofficial at Emory right now, and not having a place to go to hide and read papers. Now I do.
14. I asked Dr. Salaita my major question - whether or not he'd mind me writing a proposal for a side-project, similar to what Dr. Lynn does. It's one reason I really like Dr. Lynn's lab. He said that would be totally fine and gave me a format. He said he's looking forward to seeing them. I was relieved, scared and excited all at once - now I have to do it - and I WILL. I totally am going to write up LOTS of ideas. He also said that he prefers his grad students to work in teams. I don't mind that either. Hopefully, that also helps group collaboration.
So far, so good. There are more things I could say, but those are the most important ones. I have peace about it. As I say, these are all good signs. And I don't believe in coincidences.
Spoke with Dr. Lutz today, enzyme professor
I spoke with Dr. Lutz this morning. He's Swedish and one of the most hilarious people in the biomolecular division of chemistry, certainly. He always used to walk by and make wisecracks when I worked in Dr. Conticello's lab under Melissa Patterson. It's hard to be stressed around him, in my opinion.
His research is enzyme catalysis - mutating and improving enzymes to produce novel functions, some therapeutics work. It's interesting. I suspect it's not as much up my alley as others though.
The discussion was great. I feel like I understand quantum dots (QDs) a lot better. But, there's something I still don't get about them. I'm going to have to ask more questions. He said I should come by on M if I had more. Maybe I will. I'm ending up at Emory more and more these days... not that I mind.
Emory's Chemistry Library
I also visited the Chemistry library today, just to look around. I love these books. They are hilarious. Look at them. Two HUGE volumes just on the reactions ... of phenols. That's it. Phenols. One molecule. It made me ponder about the amazing people who spent so much time studying these things and how they could have compiled all this amazingly specific and detailed information.
What's going on this next week
1) Meeting with more people
On Tu, I'm going to Dr. Salaita's lab meeting at 9 a.m. I'm officially coming to them for now. I plan on asking more of his grad students about their projects. Then, I'm going to meet with Anil, the NMR Ph.D. expert to ask him questions at 1 p.m. Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or after I talk to Anil, I'll be visiting the Lynn lab and Rolando, one of the grad students, to talk to more of Dr. Lynn's people. I'll probably also talk to Dr. Conticello and some of his grad students. Much to do. Yes.
2) GA Tech
Next week, I'm visiting GA Tech on Th and Fri. That will be interesting. There's some people I want to talk to there, if only to hear about their work. They also have a lot of people doing nanoparticle stuff down there. I should talk to them too.
I'm really excited about reading more articles - I'm having SUCH A FUN TIME READING THEM!! It's the greatest. Dr. Salaita said that he doesn't mind if a write up a proposal for a side-project for him. Excellent. It's scary, but wonderful at the same time. I can't wait. I'll be writing up my first wave of thoughts tomorrow morning. If I end up working for him, I plan on sending him ideas every month or two. I figure that one way to make sure I stay excited about science in grad school is to constantly think of new ideas as often as I can.
Deciding on a grad school
Come April 1st, I will send in my decision about grad school. I'm not waiting any longer than that. Sorry. Emory's decision deadline is April 15th. There's a few other schools that haven't gotten back to me: UNC Chapel Hill among them. If they haven't replied by now, they'll probably reject me. Either way, it won't matter. I'll probably be accepting Emory. I'm leaning on working for Dr. Salaita in the summer rather than Dr. Lynn, if he'll have me and Dr. Lynn doesn't mind.
Organic Chemistry SI
I'm still doing organic chem tutoring. Only two people this week came, because of spring break. Someone spread rumors of no quiz on Friday, so they didn't have to study! *boos* Ha, it's ok. But seriously. People. Study your orgo. Yer gonna need it for ch. 18.
I plan on studying orgo a bit more seriously myself and make sure I really know all the reactions. I want to go into grad school prepared.
I wish I could convey how exciting the science stuff is and going to grad school. It's impossible. It's the strangest most giddy feeling in the world, finally getting to step into a doorway of what I've dreamed on doing for almost my whole life. I cannot wait to see what happens. I was reading papers today and feeling so high ... reading / thinking this stuff, knowing I will be able to do it for real finally ... it's more fun than gaming, or anything that I've ever done heretofore. Ever. I've NEVER done anything more fun than this stuff. Think what you will.
And, even if my projects literally do not work at all for two years ... I'm still surrounded by amazing professors to talk to, smart grad students to talk to about science, able to read as many papers as I want, able to write down ideas and take classes, able to still DO SCIENCE! Really. Seriously. I cannot complain, really and truly. We'll see if I still say that when I'm there, but you know what? I think I will. <3
What's going on in my corner of the science world? Find out here!
Rolling Statuses: Technical journal blog. Here you may discover what the daily life of a grad student looks like: day-to-day snippets of life, clutter, rolling statuses and unimportant fluff.
Progress Updates: Will include entries with more meaningful science.
Weekly lab report: My write-ups on what I did each week (I posted these publicly during my rotation but not as much now. That may change.)
Here is a link to collected writing, poster and presentation tips.
As of February 8, 2014 I have officially joined the Salaita lab!! Very exciting. Stay tuned for updates. "Micro Min" category equates to grad school journaling; most of these have moved to my status updates blog under Home tab. See "progress updates" on this blog for more important news.