Editor’s note: We asked Marisa what she wishes she knew a year ago. Here’s her response, as well as a few from her classmates.
Getting your undergraduate degree in chemistry should be a fun, exciting, and (mostly) stress-free experience. Sure, professors with Ph.D.s and postdocs may appear intimidating, but you should look to them for guidance and seek them out for additional help in your courses when necessary. This can also work to your benefit if you’re looking to pursue research at your home institution. Getting to know your professors and their research early on, making friends in your classes (studying in groups is the way to go), and becoming an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) student chapter at your college or university will let you reap the benefits of being a hard-working, yet social undergraduate chemistry major. I asked eight upperclassmen chemistry majors from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) if they could offer any advice for underclassmen chemistry majors. Here’s what they had to say:
Class of 2014
“Definitely utilize office hours and go to the tutoring center for help. Most importantly, be active in various clubs like the ACS student chapter at your institution and talk to upperclassmen.”
Class of 2013
“Don’t stress. Go for runs, join clubs, make friends, be happy.”