We have all heard the stories. The struggle. The all nighters and the tests and the homework and the labs and the lectures. You will eat, sleep, and breathe chemistry. You will wake up in the middle of the night trying to solve stoichiometry problems in your head. You will not get more than 5 hours of sleep a night because after all, sleep is for the weak, and the weak fail chemistry.
These are the stories told, meant to scare away the faint of heart and the unmotivated. But what these stories fail to mention is that summer chemistry is doable. That’s why it is offered as a course. What makes this course doable, however, is that students who take it have a reason to.
What got me through summer chemistry was the knowledge that if I dropped out of the course, I would have no space to take AP Biology for the rest of high school. I needed to take and pass summer chemistry in order to take the classes, the lab prerequisites, and the senior research lab that I wanted to do. It is situations like these that warrant taking summer chemistry. If I did not need to take summer chemistry in order to take the classes I wanted to, I would not have taken the class.
Without a reason to take summer chemistry, there is no motivation to get through the immense workload. Motivation is the one thing students absolutely need to survive. Hard work and efficiency only make up a part of what a student needs to succeed in chemistry. Stamina, above everything else, was what caught me the most off guard. You need stamina to sit through hours of lectures, to take a unit test almost every day, to come back home every day to the same drill of homework, lab reports, and studying. Again and again and again.
However, the course is not six weeks of complete torture. There is another side to summer chemistry, found in the labs where we made fire change colors and the nights where I had my lab partner to stay up until 1 a.m. with me while we finished homework. It was the little things like those which made me decide that I could do the class.
There was also the satisfaction of knowing that I was working to the very best of my ability. As someone who took summer chemistry, I can safely say that it was the hardest I have ever worked. And knowing that, through all the sleep deprivation and constant worrying about my grades, made it worth it.