Chemistry: What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

At first glance, chemistry doesn't seem like it will be a lot of fun. As an example, flip through almost any introductory chemistry textbook, and you'll find confusing diagrams like Figure 1.1.

These unfriendly looking diagrams give us an idea of what atomic orbitals look like.

Figure 1.1These unfriendly looking diagrams give us an idea of what atomic orbitals look like.

How the heck are you supposed to understand what this diagram means? Who came up with this stuff, anyway?

Relax. Take a deep breath. The reason you're nervous about taking chemistry is not because chemistry is difficult. The reason you're nervous is that you're trying to wrap your brain around every aspect of chemistry at once. Think back to the first time you learned to add. Wouldn't it have been terrifying to look in the back of the book to find a diagram explaining how to do long division? Take chemistry one step at a time and you'll do much better than if you confuse your self with things we haven't discussed yet!

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The best way to make chemistry confusing is to wait until the last minute to learn everything you need to know. By breaking the subject into small, easy-to-digest pieces, chemistry becomes much easier to understand.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chemistry © 2003 by Ian Guch. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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