Share a story about how you overcame a learning challenge. Why was it a challenge? What strategies did you use?  Use the language you learned in this unit.

One of the most difficult courses I have taken in my four years of my undergraduate degree was Chem 231: Organic Chemistry I. As a biology major, I was weak in chemistry and math/calculus equations, since biology is known for its memorization of pathways, scientific names and processes. Sure, memorizing and drawing molecular structures was fun, but I quickly learned that trying to memorize each and every reaction would not be of great help for this course after horribly bombing my second midterm. To be honest, I had been neglecting the lectures (not focusing in class, not attending, etc.) just because I was frankly not interested in learning the material, although I needed the credit for the class as it was a prerequisite for my degree. After receiving that wake-up call, I used my failure to psychologically motivate myself to actually LEARN the material instead of attempting to memorize each and every reaction. I had to adjust the way I processed and thought in order to get a better grasp of the information, since this was a chemistry course. This was when I realized learning truly can be difficult, because after practicing a certain way of learning, I had to shift gears in order to succeed in a different environment. In order to develop a deeper and higher order learning skill, I began to identify what I wanted to focus on learning, including how I learned it. For me, learning in the classroom was not enough. I took advantage of resources outside of the lecture room that were easily accessible, such as online YouTube demonstrations and examples (thanks to The Organic Chemistry Tutor), reading the textbook, and learning within study groups. The most effective way was the YouTube tutoring because I was being thoroughly taught the information in another light, which helped immensely. After practicing new lengths of learning, I am happy to say that I was able to succeed in the course. 

After reading Caroline’s post, I do agree that having a professor utilize different teaching methods to keep students engaged is an effective way for students to learn, as I often have a hard time focusing on one speaker for a long duration of time as well. Also, I will give props to Caroline for being able to speak a second language so well, as I am trying to learn a new language  and can’t even think about writing paragraphs at the moment!

Thanks for reading, 

Trinh Nguyen

Photo by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash