“Eddie was . . . an overall EXCELLENT and STAND UP guy.”
—excerpt from a student evaluation written by a Harvard Chem 20 student
I have always had an interest and mind for science and math. Years after getting my degree in Food Science and minoring in chemistry in 1991, I returned to school full-time in 2002 with the intention of pursuing a career in pharmacy. Since my original organic chemistry grades were from 1987/1988, I had to repeat both semesters of that class in order to satisfy recency requirements.
The day I finished my ochem II final, I went home, got into my car, and drove to the mountains so I could veg out for three days. I was drained from the class in every way imaginable – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and all I wanted to do was decompress in solitude. But a funny, unexpected thing happened while I was doing yoga in front of the sunrise and walking around in nature . . . I realized I had developed a bona fide interest in the logic and principles of organic chemistry, and I missed learning about it and solving problems and mechanisms.
After returning from the mountains, I spent the summer working as a volunteer at the UCSF pharmacy (I was living in San Francisco at the time) and learning more about organic chemistry by reading different textbooks and practicing problems from many different resources. I was looking forward to September because I had been asked to be an organic chemistry peer tutor for the school, and I was planning on sitting in on the three organic chemistry courses so I could continue deepening my own understanding of the material. I couldn’t wait!!
My desire to become a pharmacist disappeared after I worked as a summer volunteer in the pharmacy, but fortunately my organic chemistry passion did not go for naught. I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my future, and the answer began to emerge when I appreciated how much satisfaction I was getting through tutoring.
I’ve always loved teaching, and my year in pre-pharmacy gave me a first-hand experience of understanding not only how difficult organic chemistry is as a class, but also how important it was for students pursuing careers in healthcare. Students needed help with the class, yet not many people were out there with the ability to help. I saw an opportunity to do something that was a perfect fit for not only my own interests and disposition, but also students trying to get accepted to medical, pharmacy, veterinary, dental, optometry, and nursing schools. Once I realized what had to be done, I wholeheartedly channeled my passion for tutoring and the education process into becoming a professional organic chemistry tutor.
I’m glad it worked out this way, for I love being The OChem Tutor. If loving organic chemistry is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”