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What influenced you to pursue studies or a career in chemistry?

I am interested in pursuing a career in STEM. I have enjoyed the my chemistry labs and I'm wondering what other factors to consider if I decide chemistry is the field I want to focus my studies/career on? #decisions #career-path #chemistry #science #stem

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Jacob’s Answer

I obtained a chemistry degree in 2015. What initially influenced me was that chemistry was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and that I felt it would be sufficiently challenging to keep my brain interested over the 120+ hours of coursework. I found that it was pretty cool. Although I was originally drawn to the desire to understand organic chemistry and the flow of electrons and the lewis structures, etc... I didn't really enjoy it all that much and when exposed to physical chemistry (Thermo, Stats Mech, Quantum) I gravitated towards that field of study although I was not initially very good at it or very successful. This lead me into studying more mathematics and physics and ultimately participating in a Theoretical and Computational Biophysics research environment. This actually has lead to my present day transition into the field of web app development and Dev Ops. It was overall worth it and has been quite a fun ride. Perhaps I might have studied Computer Science or Cybersecurity if I had a mulligan regarding my university major but I don't actually think so because knowing the amount of chemistry and physics that I do at this point gives me a deeper insight into the tech field ventures that I have found myself wading through knee deep at the current point in time. Ultimately it is up to you and certain chemistry fields are drying up such as organic synthesis divisions at major pharmaceutical corporations being replaced by robotics. I do not think theoretical scientists will be replaced by machines and computers anytime soon though.

Thank you! Ruth T.

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Rajesh’s Answer

Great Question Ruth, I was really bad in inorganic chemistry but was great in organic chemistry, enjoyed the lab and different experiments and luckily in my high school had a great chemistry teacher he made learning fun and help with some key principals of organic chemistry and the structure in hydrocarbon and it became easy to learn with logic rather then leaning by repetition to the point that in high school I got distinction and I pursued to become chemical engineer, you have take the first step of enjoying STEM .. follow through and if necessary take some help from a tutor who if good can make learning fun and that will lead you to success.. keep at it .. you will do well. There will be some parts in chemistry which maybe a bit you may or may not like but some you would love, focus on what you like and purse that further .. good luck

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Sara’s Answer

Good for you for wanting to pursue a STEM major! My undergraduate degree is Food Science and that required me to take a lot of chemistry and, specifically, food chemistry courses. I met a lot of individuals who were pursuing a chemistry degree during that time. I can tell you that many of those courses aren't easy and that's OK. As long as you have ambition and a great work ethic, you can do anything. I would recommend that you take a few chemistry courses first before dedicating your major to chemistry and try to work in some paid or unpaid internships/fellowships/part-time work - whatever you can do to get your foot in the door and show that you are interested in the field. Experience goes a LONG WAY. You might even open new doors and find specific topics, chemistry-related or not, that you are passionate about.

Whatever you decide, don't give up!!!! I promise you there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Sara recommends the following next steps:

Take a few chemistry courses & lab work.
Talk to other students in the field and hear their perspective.
Talk to a professor and get their opinion.
Do homework on *yourself*. What do you like and dislike about the field? Are there other areas of study that you might like to do instead?
Gain first-hand experience in the field.