T.G.I.F…Wait It’s Saturday Time To Write

          As it is Saturday and I have no idea what to writ about I’ve decide to make this another what going on blog. It’s been a rough week for me from a math quiz to lab work and reports I’ve been thoroughly exhausted. In fact, for the next 3 weeks I’m going to have at least one exam and quiz weekly.

          However, there are plenty of things going on around campus this weekend since it is family and friends weekend (which for those of you who are not familiar is when the college recommends friends and relatives come visit). In addition to that Oswego’s first hockey game is on this weekend which if you don’t know is the equivalent of a warm sunny day by Oswego standards. Since I’m not sure what I’m going to write next week I think I’ll take request. Since I figure might as well give the readers what they want.

 P.S Actual request please.

Emissary of Success

       Seeing as how my blog is starting to read like chemistry propaganda I’ve decided to not mention chemistry in this post. I will not talk about how the Nobel prize in chemistry this year went to organic chemist for “palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis”, or how chemistry anagrams to “cry me this”. Instead, I’d like to talk about representing your up bringing.

       I’ve been thinking no matter were you go you’re always representing the people that got you there and the places you come from; whether it is representing your family on your first day of school, or representing your neighborhood, race or country. I often wonder if what people represent is indicative of there success, or if representing anything means success.

       Over the years I’ve come to represent more and more things. In elementary school I represented my moms parenting skills and ability to provide, In addition to that representation in middle school I represented my elementary school (its value and its teacher’s ability). In high school since it was in Manhattan and more diverse, in addition to the former, I represented, my middle school, Brooklyn, and blacks. This cyclic escalating representation has followed me to college where I feel like I am constantly representing something greater than myself.

       I also know that I represent different things when I’m around different people or in different places. In the halls of Snygg I represent Blacks, chemistry majors, Brooklyn, my previous schools and my mom. In the lab I represent blacks, sophomores, previous lab instructors, any one who gave me a recommendation, my previous schools and my mom. In Brooklyn I represent Oswego, college students, the schools in the community and of course my mom. In plain there is always some part of you that is represented no matter where you go.

       I wondered whether these things we represent are a crutch, holding us back because people who represent much of the same thing we do haven’t succeed or do what we like, or if it could be helpful. I thought about first generation students to this country and how across the board they seem to, on average, best natives in academia. So I thought what makes them succeed? They, like us, were ambassadors to their particular niche, but they have something to prove. They are fully aware they represent something everyday and they need to prove its worth to themselves and every one else. This awareness allows them to become more than just representatives but emissaries, on a mission to make their represent-ees proud.

       I can also attribute much of the success I’ve had to being an emissary. I normally wake up with two things in mind how I will get closer to my purpose in life, and how will I prove myself today. I think of what I represent as a badge of honor not something weighing me down, because it will show others who can relate to me on any level that someone like me can go the distance and endure.

       I believe everyone should become an emissary of success, and embrace who they are and were there from; regardless of gender, race, social class, nationality, or religion. We don’t live in a classless, race-less, genderless world; and we shouldn’t pretend we do. What we should do is think about what we represent every day, when were tired, or want to give up and think about the lives we’ll touch if we try a little harder every day, if we get through our personal hurdles, and if we do this with our heads held high. It doesn’t matter what you represent, all that matters is the courage and tenacity in which you represent it.

It’s Just Too Legit’ To Quit

       Well since it’s technically saturday and I’m hopped up on too much caffeine to sleep I thought I should write.

       I’ve been thinking a lot lately about (yes its one of these blogs again) what being a chemist means. Dictionary dot com defines it as a specialist in chemistry (Dictionary dot com defines chemistry as “the science that deals with the composition and properties of substances and various elementary forms of matter”). This meaning is irrelevant, because it doesn’t get to the essence of what a chemist truly is. The definition gives no explicit or even implicit idea to what skills, requirements, or personality types a chemist has. With this definition anything from a plant to an ant can be a chemist.

       In my search for a better definition I think back on the things I’ve heard from professors and graduate students. One thing I remember was that for advanced chemistry lab (a 1credit chemistry requirement) students are asked to look through a journal of chemistry papers and told they need to make a compound, they must make there own procedure, catalyst, isolate the product they want from several minor or major products, run quantitative test, and purify a sample all on there own. This, in no uncertain terms, is just nuts.

       I also replayed another moment in my head. It was about how the chemistry professors decide if the general chemistry final is too hard. It was said that if the professor and the graduate students couldn’t finish the final in about 10 minuets it was too hard. If your jaw isn’t already on the floor let me explain exactly what this means; this means that the final that takes students 2 hours (120 minuets) can be taken by a chemist in about 8.33 percent of the time. This just goes to show the legitimacy of a chemistry degree and the mind boggling hurtles that you over come mentally to get to that level.

       I wondered if being a chemist meant you would just be good at chemistry or if it meant something more. To be a chemist, by ACS (American chemical society) standards at least, you would have to take organic and bio chemistry. In these classes you gain a lot of insight into how organic molecules are used buy biological creatures, how proteins and enzymes work, so you gain some biological background. You would also have to take three semesters worth of physics and math in addition to physical chemistry, which embeds the physical and mathematical background in quite deep. I also think that talent in chemistry can be applied to practically anything. I think this because all subjects have rules, and being able to memorize rules, exceptions, and being able to apply them is what makes someone good at chemistry.

       I see the difference in skill level between me and the professors and graduate students. This difference is etched in stone and clear as day, but like any young aspiring chemist I know I can change the composition of this theoretical stone so that this difference becomes smaller and smaller. I think a better definition of a chemist would be: someone who has an affinity for change, with a vast understanding of science, who has obtained mastery of basic chemistry concepts; and can independently produce, purify, and test solutions.

       I think if the word chemist was defined that way it would make aspiring chemist even more motivated. If those words were attached legitimately to your job title, you would want to live up to them all the time. There would be no ambiguity you would either fit the definition or just quit. But personally, I think it’s just too legit’ to quit.

       PS. you should try and make your own definition for your career/soon to be career that you think is specific and captures the essence of the person who does it.

Cranes fall and money rises

       It’s been a really busy week for me so this week I think I’ll just bring you up to speed with what’s going on in Oswego and with me. We had the first evacuation of Snygg this semester (not the chemist fault I’d like to point out). It was caused by a crane tipping over and filling Snygg with diesel  smoke, because I cant get the image off my phone I think this might fully convey the scene  . I also had a fire drill in my hall (Funnelle) which proved to be a lot more exciting than you would think. Once we got the ok to go back in to the building we all rushed the building as if we were being chased by the IRS, to get to the elevators. Just goes to show you never a dull moment in Funnelle.

       In addition to all of that my quest to raise money to pay for a fermentation science class where we go to the Netherlands for a week is starting to look a lot more promising. I am going to be able to get more work study hours and I am applying to be a general chemistry tutor. So hopefully if everything works out I should be able to make the 250$ deposit by December first, and probably most importantly buy candy to add to my diminishing stash.

We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard

          I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose and motivation lately. How we (the college folk) come to college because of our dreams and there ability to become reality at college. From waking up early five days a week to workout till we drop, to going out of our comfort zone to make friends, we all strive to better ourselves. I think knowing your purpose alone is not enough to succeed in life. I believe that it is purpose and ambition that define success. When we have ambition and purpose we have almost a sort of magic about us.

          I like to use JFK as an example with his purpose to push our country beyond its limits along with his ambition. JFK stated that he wanted to land a man on the moon and return him safely in 1962, a time where even the most wide-eyed physicist would have thought it was inconceivable. Everything was working against them, the energy required to reach escape velocity along with fuel and the fact that the super computers at the time had less processing power than a modern day phone. Despite those nearly insurmountable odds however he was able to make it happen. Even in Oswego at a time were money is being taken from schools and publically funded universities president Stanley was able to get millions to build a new science building which is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

          I like to think we can all make this magic happen if we are willing to do what it takes to reach our goals. For those of you who don’t quite know their purpose I urge you to examine your life to find the things that make you feel fulfilled and to not be afraid to experiment to see if you truly have found it. I want to try and emphasize this as much as possible because of the tremendous security and motivation boost that comes along with it. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to motivate myself to do something I don’t like if I didn’t know I needed to get through it to fulfill my purpose.

          I’ve known since I was maybe 7 that I wanted to be a scientist, but that alone wasn’t a purpose, it could barely even pass as a goal. This is because a purpose like a goal is much more specific and with all the niches in all the science fields the probability of me feeling fulfilled just picking one would be roughly the same chances of finding a diamond in a coal mine. It wasn’t until much later that I decided I wanted to be a chemist and even that isn’t enough to be a purpose. I had to find out what it was about chemistry that drew me to it.

          It was the possibility of creation that excited me, the ability to make something that had never been made and discover new things. It was this ability and having the equivalent of a full back stage pass to the universe which made chemistry irresistible and made me realize I had found my purpose. I really like to help people (the reason I started blogging), cooking, trying to find out what makes people tick and eating candy but these are interest. I could do those things everyday and not be fulfilled so it is a difficult but important distinction to make.

          Once you find your purpose and if you have the ambition, I implore you to take bold steps and to set tough but realistic time limits for your goals. I ask you to do both these things not because they are easy but because they are hard and will serve to push you to the best of your abilities.

JFK’s speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g25G1M4EXrQ&feature=related

From Bk To OZ

         As this is my first blog post I suppose I’ll give you a little background about myself. My name is Kalib St.Ange I am a sophomore, and I’ve traveled all the way from Brooklyn NY to study chemistry. It was my quest for discovery and independents which brought me to Oswego. Being a science major I quickly made friends with many of the other science majors in my classes and in my dorm. We studied together went to events together and even decided to take some classes together. Freshman year I also joined Chemistry Club where I got to know more chemistry majors and faculty, I worked in the chemistry stock room prepping chemicals and glassware for labs and I even got a chance to do some research in the biochemistry lab. All and all it was a great year and it was done in the blink of an eye.

          Now sophomore year is here and I’m ready to do chemistry on the next level. I’m taking Calc II, Organic, English, and Physics this semester so it’s going to be rough, but I think I’m up to it. I am still in Chemistry club, the stock room and I’m still doing research. The first two weeks back were rough, since I had lots of work and I realized a few of my friends didn’t make it back this year (a sad reality of college life) but it makes me relies that I’ve done well and I have to continue to do well.