What Organic-ese is About

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What is Organic-ese about and what is its meaning?

The general consensus is that learning Organic Chemistry is like learning a foreign language in addition to tackling a difficult physical science. And that “language” is not jargon or terminology, Organic-ese is what your mind undergoes when doing Organic Chemistry. You are learning to start explaining things to yourself. Your professor certainly isn’t doing the majority of the explaining. (Really.) There’s simply too much material and different learning styles.

In organic chemistry, you must align yourself with an unfamiliar mental process coupled with a new series of skills that is not unlike a foreign language in that none of it is common sense. However, common sense can be applied to the philosophy behind it.

No one can teach this language to you and it is not found in any book or lecture. The data is provided to you in your book but extracting it in useful form is far easier said than done. There is no guarantee you will actually attain it just by reading about it. Truly, almost no one ever succeeds at that. It takes work.

Contrast this with other classes you’ve taken. You read as you’re told, you learn, you’re done. That’s not how it works in organic chemistry! True, you must learn the jargon and conventions involved in every subject, as higher education is full of jargon and conventions. That is not what is meant by Organic-ese.

What we mean are the mental processes that people who can solve organic chemistry problems have and that those who are struggling, do not have. But anyone can pick up these habits and they can be taught. The are accessible. In fact, anyone can learn it.

Let’s clarify what most people mean by “foreign language.” Every subject has its own jargon. Organic chemistry is no different.  Nomenclature, in particular, is a new way of communicating. Jargon is just a way of specialists (chemists) communicate with other specialists. The foreign language aspect of Organic-ese is not about learning how to name molecules (nomenclatures), it’s not about how to represent molecules on paper (structural formulae) which is the easiest skill to pick up.

The concepts are not all difficult they just aren’t explained well or at all. This is opinion and those that agree have found their place. Those who disagree already understand what we’re discussing. Wait.  Just pause and think about this. Most people just overestimate the subject, they forget to apply what they know, or don’t understand in what order to apply what they learned. The ideas are mainly in the first chapters of the book but people don’t realize this until later after everything comes together at once (whether you are prepared for it or not). The time for that will have long past.

How productive the starting point of Organic Chemistry is for you, the simpler is everything else that follows. Organic-ese is about making the road to this goal accessible and simpler for everyone by emphasizing and using proven and diverse educational methods. If you get it on your own, good we’re on the same page.

Don’t confuse the different ways structures are represented, or the terminology, or even the principles as the foreign language aspect. That is a farce.

That is not what Organic-ese is about. You learn a way of communicating chemical concepts in your mind with the right set of ideas applied in the proper order. This is therefore a method and not about foreign languages.

No amount of memorization (there’s too much to memorize) will make you successful at organic chemistry unless you are applying a consistent method at the same time. If you just learn and apply the methodology you aren’t memorizing much more than any other course; and memorizing even less than you did in general chemistry.

Don’t assume you’ll learn organic chemistry by listening to somebody talk about it. That’s like learning to swim by listening to someone talk about it. Without a working method it really can be as difficult as people think it is.

The only difference between a good outcome and a poor one is how quickly you get clear about the point. There is, believe it or not, a point to it all. What do you think the point is? Consider this question often.

Why do some people just seem to “get” it? It is not pure intelligence. In fact, many with genius level IQs and photographic (idyllic) memories fail miserably at organic chemistry. Many who aren’t geniuses excel. What’s the difference? The concept of the prerequisite course is proof that you can’t just do it all yourself no matter how bright you are since everyone has the same background. Make no mistake about it however, in this class more than any other, you are on your own.

The people who get it quickly have simply picked up on the right philosophy and methods and applied them. We’re here to explain them.

If there was a way to get to the big picture without spending a majority of what is barely sufficient time;  if one could convert unfocused effort into productive action, it would be and is just a function of the effort you put in, not the repetitive head-banging frustration people usually endure.

Why This is Different

Why people didn’t “get it,” at an acceptable pace, was a puzzle it took me a while to understand when teaching undergraduates. After years of working with struggling students it dawned on me what the problem is.

There is a mindset you need—it’s nothing really complicated—some confidence, and once you have that mindset everything is merely details. The mindset is not about motivation, it is not about desire, because some people try their hardest and don’t get far.

What’s more amazing is that nobody just says what they mean in simple terms. Everything is obfuscated in some way. The subject isn’t that simple, but knowing enough it to explain to yourself, you can best learn how to do things the right way and retain it.

Remember everyone is different and learns through certain inputs better than different others–these are sense-based, like visual, aural, tangible or combinations of these. A method tuned to those tendencies however, makes those issues disappear.

We believe Organic-ese is simply the fastest, most reliable method there is. If you think about it, there are no teaching methods for organic chemistry. It’s too esoteric for help from the outside. Professors repeat the method of teaching they endured themselves and textbooks just dish out the same detail after excruciating detail with no changes from year to year. When you watch the lecture videos it will get more clear what we mean.

The only difference grade-wise between a good outcome and a poor one is how fast you reach the big picture or merely the logic it’s based on. For people who actually grasp the big picture prior to the point of no return (Christmas Break), there is nothing more satisfying academically. For many who seize the big picture it is the most intellectually rewarding experience you may ever have in higher education and that is no exaggeration. The elation, the self-esteem and raw brain power comes from no other subject.

The people who seem successful at learning it, whether they realize it or not, already have a vague notion of the big picture, the philosophy of Organic chemistry. We’re here to show you the rules.

Knowing the rules makes it a game like chess or backgammon, just much less boring. At that point, it is not just doable but actually enjoyable and addictive which builds confidence which feeds on itself. That’s a great motivator.

Anyone who puts in the time and effort can do it, we are certain of that. We can reduce your time and effort in half even if you do already “get it.” You can make productive effort using a method that no one thinks to present, philosophically-based, on the instructor side, but it’s mainly straightforward thinking and absolutely based on common sense.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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