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November 18, 2008


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The thing with organic chemistry is that it starts out as straight memory work. Somewhere along the line, if you're lucky, suddenly it clicks, and you can start to really make sense of it all. This happened to me while studying for my second (?) organic chem course. I think it was the second one, not the third. After that, organic chem was relatively easy.

(Note, I went on to do my PhD in physical organic chemistry. YMMV)

p.s. I also love calculus but never really got beyond differential equations.

Spike Gomes

I'd simply read and write with the time and money. The time and reserved energy is more important than the money in that regard.

That or go back to school and try for a degree in some harder science. I feel sometimes I wasted my time getting a degree in something no one can take seriously.


Learning more calculus and other advanced mathematics sounds pretty good to me too. Like you, I got just to the start of differential equations, but no further. I'd also like to learn a language - Latin, to be specific.

Andrew R.

Basically, do another undergrad degree in a hard science with philosophy minor, focusing primarily on analytic philosophy. And improve my Greek and Korean.

Dennis Brennan

Learn the piano, or better yet, the pipe organ. Play the third movement of Saint-Saens's "Organ Symphony", or some other suitable blow-the-doors-off-the-place number, on the Wanamaker Organ.
See Pompeii.
Write the screenplay for "Cortez and Montezuma".
Learn Latin. Maybe German. Or any foreign language.
Get back in shape.

I'm thinking that calculus would not crack the top 50 on my list.


I arguably have had the prerequisites already, without much to show for it, but if you include sufficent motivation and powers of concentration as additional factors, then... oh, dear, where to start? Relearn all the maths I've forgotten, and learn much more. Become fluent in a couple of foreign languages. Become reasonably proficient on piano and guitar. Read all the books I own, but haven't got around to finishing, and many more besides. Write regularly, and become good enough to express myself easily and accurately. Learn to draw. Get in shape. That should do for starters, even though I know I'm forgetting a few things.

Bernard Guerrero

PhD in some random hard science. Hardly matters which, I'd just like to concentrate on it without further distractions.

But then, I like some of my distractions. You've posed an existential problem for me.

Mike Ralls

Get body fat below 10% (trying to do it anyways, but it's hard to find the time to go to the gym every single day which is what I'd need to do to get it that low).

Learn a martial art.

Become certified in Yoga, Pilates, and Message. For personal, not career reasons.

Get certified as a nanny. Again, not because I want to be a nanny, but the wife and I are planning on having kids in a few years, and I think having taken a nanny training course would be good preparation.

Bike from Seaside, Oregon to New York. No cars or trains or planes, just biking or walking the whole way. Or Portugal to St. Petersburg.

Write a short story a week, every week for a year. See if I could get any of them published.

I've traveled a fair amount, and lived abroad, so I don't feel that strong of a pull, but I'd mildly like to live in India or China for a year.

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