Monday, November 23, 2009

Like LEGOs, only for nerds

There is no good place to study on Saturday nights.

Go figure, right? Had you told me that when I was an undergrad, I would have said something along the lines of "Like, duh! I mean, who studies on Saturday night??"

A non-traditional student who works full time while going to school - that's who studies on Saturday nights.

Apparently we're a rare breed.

Libraries close around 6:00pm on Saturdays. Even the ones on college campuses. Please see the "who studies on Saturday night" comment above. (But they're open until 1:00am on Sunday. Explain that to me. Do students not need to get up on Monday mornings? Because I certainly do.)

Study at home, you say? While that may work for some people, this option most definitely does NOT work for me. I can't focus on homework when there's laundry calling my name, and a dirty floor that needs to be swept, and dishes that need to be done, and a dog that would rather be walking than sitting on the couch next to mom and her laptop and, and, and... Yeah, Emily must go elsewhere to study.

So I head to Starbucks. It's got everything - tables big enough to spread out textbooks, wireless internet, (two hours free if you have a Starbucks card) other people on laptops... just bring your headphones and you're golden. Only the Starbucks near my house? Yeah, closes at 9:00pm. Apparently that's when people no longer need to go to Starbucks.

And you're probably thinking, "Who needs to study beyond 9:00pm?" Well, if I get to sleep in as long as I want on Sunday, and I've got the motivation....why not? It's not like the boy and I get to make weekend plans anymore. This girl has to conquer organic chemistry. (It's not going well. I'll be lucky to make a peace treaty with ochem at this point.)

And then I stumbled upon the Starbucks nearest the IUPUI campus. Apparently I AM a rare breed, and the rest of my breed gather at this Starbucks. To study on Saturday nights. We. Are. Awesome. And the Starbucks? It closes at midnight.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was parked at my Starbucks with my headphones, looking at the following problem. This is a representation of a molecule. 2-butanol if you really want to be specific. It was up to me to determine if the molecule was (+) or (-). (Trust me, you don't want to know. No really.) Basically, I had to take that 3D representation and match it to one of the 2D drawings below. Unfortunately, my brain was just refusing to work that way. I mean, I know that the black spheres are carbon, and the red sphere is oxygen, but for some reason I couldn't rotate that 3D picture in my head. Maybe my brain just doesn't work that way? I was just not getting the right answer.

And so I decided a 3D model might help.

Let's rewind a bit to when I enrolled in school. Back when I had money. Back when I didn't realize exactly how difficult this road was going to be. Back when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and so! excited! to go! back to school!! Back in those days, when I had to purchase textbooks for the first time, it was "suggested" that we purchase a molecule modeling kit to help with chemistry. Since I was so excited (!!!) and the kit was only $12, I decided that I might as well just buy the kit. It might help someday and, let's face it, it looked like something really cool that I wanted to play with.

I haven't opened it since then. Until now. Until the hell that is organic chemistry. Which is a good thing. Because if I hadn't purchased it back then, and needed it now, I would think to myself, "Twelve Dollars?! For some glorified LEGOs?! Seriously? I could eat THREE TIMES for twelve dollars."

I really need to start playing the lottery.

So I'm at Starbucks (with my headphones) and I pull out my modeling kit. And I build a model. A pretty pretty model if I do say so myself. A 3D model that I could manipulate and determine that the 3D drawing matched the 2D drawing on the left.

I was pretty proud of myself. So I sat back and stretched for a moment. Which is when I looked around. And I realized that I was in the middle of Starbucks. With what amounted to adult LEGOs. And that there were people looking at me.

Great. Just go ahead and tape the "Kick me" sign to my back.

And then I realized that the looks were looks of understanding. Which reminded me that IUPUI has a rather large medical school. And of COURSE med students would understand. They've been there. They probably have overpriced adult LEGOs of their own.

They just, you know, don't pull them out in public.


zlionsfan said...

For the record, I guessed the + molecule, which isn't bad for someone with no real understanding of o-chem and poor 3D abilities.

JennyG said...

For the record, I guessed the - molecule, which reaffirms that I should not go back to school anytime soon. :)

Candace said...

Um...I didn't even try to guess:) Which means I really need to stick to accounting.

I love the fact that you were so engrossed in school work that you were able to build a model without any any worry of what people would think of you.

Were you able to figure out the right answer with the model?

Kat(i)e said...

The starbucks near me is open 24 hours. Imagine the studying you could get done...

zlionsfan said...

That doesn't count. You live in a city that has trains, and buses that actually go places people want to go, and taxis that can actually be spotted. Of course you'd have 24-hour Starbucks locations.

Jaclyn said...

There used to be a 24 hour drive-thru Starbucks at College and Fall Creek Pkwy - but someone got shot there when I worked downtown and I think it closed...

ems said...

Yeah, that one closed. And it was scary. Soooo I don't know that I would have gone there anyway. And I definitely wouldn't have taken my laptop. Yikes!