You're Majoring in WHAT????

<p>My D just called and told me that she is majoring in BIOCHEMISTRY at CMU. I had a suspicion prior to her attending that this was her area of interest. However, now she calls and tells me that CHEM is her poorest subject!!! She is getting straight "A's" in her Writing class... a 98 in Calculus and was one of only four kids to receive over 90 in her Physics class of 100 students. Any advice for her now that she appears to have made a decision that may not be in her best interests?? What kind of fields are available to women in the areas of Physics and/or math. The writing I believe is a fluke...her SAT II score in writing was so poor that I believe it prevented her from being accepted to UChicago which I believe was her first choice. How can one justifiy an "A" in writing at CMU unless all the other students there are functionally illiterate in reading and writing but only excel in math/science?</p>

<p>Does she not have at least until next spring to declare a major? Plenty of time to decide what she likes best.
If she likes math, however, she could do a degree in applied math. The Brown math department website has a useful list of careers pursued by math graduates. Alas, my S is interested only in pure math.</p>

<p>The SAT II writing test has been castigated on these boards as being the most subjective and prone to bizarre grading of all the tests.</p>

<p>DADX: the SAT II writing may be so objective, but it kept my D out of many many good is a shame. The grading on it may be bizarre, but it hurt her chances of acceptances to other good institutions. Now I wish that the college and universities would reconsider using that SAT II for making their sometimes harsh decisions based on what you consider a "biased" test!</p>

<p>I agree with Dadx; the writing text can be bizarrely graded. I feel very much for you in that it kept your daughter out of many opportunities. But I think it's important that you know that her current writing achievements do not have to be viewed as a fluke. We had a similar experience with my daughter and to a lesser extent with my son, and I do not at all question their writing abilities--both have been lauded in every milieu except the SAT writing test, so I take it with a large grain of salt.</p>

<p>The chem thing I can't comment on, except that she's obviously very bright, and if she wants to do it, she'll most likely be successful with it. I don't think opportunities for women are at all limited in fields like this; on the contrary, they're most likely welcomed.</p>

<p>Chem was my poorest subject in College, particularly Organic Chem. Currently I am a Sr. Scientist in Drug Discovery. So don't give up hope. Inorg. and Org. Chem do not necessarily indicate how well she will do in Biochem. See how she does in the Bio. classes, that may provide more of an indication.</p>

<p>Garland: Thanks for your words of support! At one point I thought my D was truly functionally illiterate as the writing score was soooo bad! But then I happened to find last week some compositions she had written for her English classes in sophomore and junior years in HS on the computer and I was truly amazed at the command of the English language that she had and the complexity and depth of her vocabulary! It made me feel at least she had a shot at being successful in the arts as well as the sciences..for what is a good scientist unless you could convey your discoveries to others in a comprehensible fashion! Thank you again for your makes CC a great forum for the many ANGST-RIDDEN parents lurking here!</p>

<p>I think it is very subjective to grade writing.
For example my daughter took a writing test as part of an IQ eval and recieved a score that put her well below grade level, however on the SATll writing, she recieved an 780. ( SAT V was 710)
My daughter FLUNKED spring semester of ochem in college, however she is retaking it and her ochem prof is most supportive. SHe is also a biology major and is planning on taking biochem next year for the fun of it. Go with what you are drawn to, you can always get better at it.</p>

<p>I had to chuckle, sgiovinc, I called my folks on average once every 2 weeks for the first year of college, declaring a new major! If she is interested in biochem, but is doing well in physics and math, she should look into genomics (check the Davidson College website for a description of this field and the courses they recommend for Bio majors concentrating in genomics). Traditionally, biology has been "different" from physical sciences, but now physics, computers, chem and math are changing biology. There may be no true genomics major or concentration at CMU, but they may have biophysics or molecular bio or manufacture your own. Good for her.</p>

<p>I think chemistry is one of the most difficult classes for a new freshman at any college. It is taught at a deeper level and at a quicker pace than high school chemistry--and the kids are expected to know more for the tests. It takes some getting used to.</p>

<p>You didn't say which chemistry your D is taking, but I wouldn't write off your D and biochemistry just yet. </p>

<p>Organic chem is usually the class that weeds people out--of thoughts of med school, dental school, vet school, science grad school.</p>

<p>Bioearthmom: Good point! I will have to tell her what you wrote..she does not appear to be discouraged, but I wonder if the subject matter doesn't come easily to her early on, how could she possibly excel later on when it gets very difficult? maybe the nature of the subject matter changes..which I am hoping....please advise how you believe organic and inorganic chem differ from biochemistry so that I can be more specific with understand, SHE is not concerned...only the angst-ridden mom!</p>

<p>My D is in introductory chemistry..not sure what kind of chem that entails to be frank.</p>

<p>Your D is in introductory chemistry? I wouldn't worry at all, just yet. I took college chemistry through to biochemistry. The nature of the subject matter changes from intro chemistry to organic to biochem. Intro chem is a lot more math/physics oriented than organic and biochem, from my memory. </p>

<p>She'll be taking organic chem next year--and if she can't hack organic, she'll shop for a new major by mid fall. You shouldn't worry now because she is having a little difficulty in her first few months of intro chem.</p>

<p>Seriously, let her be! It is way too early to panic.</p>

<p>I agree with everyone else that it's WAY to soon to panic. Our D went to school wanting to be an english major, or maybe a business major, or maybe premed...not a thought about chemistry. Guess what she ended up majoring in...chemistry with a concentration in biochem ! My husband the engineer was thrilled with this turn of events, since he equates technical things with useful things. Did she get straight A's in all chem classes? no. Did it matter ? No. She liked her major, & had a job she now likes lined up by graduation. An anecdotal story, yes, but I know tons of kids who followed this pattern.</p>

<p>Thanks for the support! You have all eased my angst!</p>

<p>Agree with others - too early to panic. S took 101 everything for the 1st 3 semesters of college - experimenting. If your D decides to major in physics, she can have anything she wants academically. Grad schools would be tripping over themselves to get her in their PhD program.</p>