In one of those moments of synchronicity that the likes of Werner Kriegelstein would find highly significant, shortly after reading the article in the Tribune about alternative career paths for disillusioned chemists, I received a note from a former student who is now at Loyola. A brief glance at the note revealed the dreaded letters MCAT, and my initial thought was sadly influenced by that article; the untimely end of another fine career I supposed, another pole dancer to add to the list. But, no, in fact this student revealed happily that she had murdered the MCAT and found that her COD career had prepared her better than the majority of her mates for success in chemistry. It's something we like to think is the case, but have very little quantitative information to substantiate it. The more I learn about university life over here, the more I question the value of spending those first two years in those large prestigious universities when the same can be had, and perhaps better, at a humble community college. What I find particularly aggravating is the disdain with which some of the faculty members at these universities treat our members. "Bottom feeders" I have heard applied. If any of these faculty members from these "elite" universities firmly believe their courses are superior to mine, I will gladly compare notes and alter them to match. But I somehow think that won't be necessary.
A year ago I spent a rather cold Sunday on spring break (I was particularly peeved at the timing because there were no cheap flights and the security line at ORD at 5 AM was absurdly long) jetting down to Atlanta to interview with an author of an upcoming GOB chemistry book. They were looking for a co-author for the G part. Well, I auditioned for the part, but in the end was not selected. They liked the work but considered it too high level. Since I had basically converted my lecture materials from the 1211 class into the chapters, my students should take note that they are receiving a higher level course than is considered for a large production text book. So much for bottom feeders.