Monday, February 11, 2008

Honk If You Passed P-Chem!

This is our own resident 'Chemistry Geek.'

While she's whipping up a really good salad using spring greens, cranberries, walnuts, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, she'll be chatting on about these really "huge ligand molecules with cobalt" that she's "doing columns" for in her independent lab study.

She will graduate this coming May with degrees in Chemistry (of course!) and History. An interesting combination, I know. But who knows where it will take her?

But last fall she worked hard to pass another milestone.

Physical Chemistry, known affectionately as P-Chem, is "calculus-chemistry hell, with physics thrown in." It is the most difficult course of the 'Chem' major for most students. Those in Chemistry have a little tradition of getting a bumpersticker when they successfully pass the course. Our 'Chemistry Geek Princess" passed--and more than passed--in December.

Naturally, we wanted to mark this special occasion.

Bruce had gotten a rain check for an A-OO-GA horn from his favorite tools and mechanical notions store. It finally came in a few weeks ago.

Last night, on the pretext of having some steaks in the freezer that just had to be eaten, and the fact that it was warm enough to melt the glacier so we could get out the back door to grill, we invited Chemistry Geek's boyfriend over to dinner. Of course, he was in on the secret. As Chemistry Geek and I cleared the table, the guys disappeared to the garage. They reappeared and placed a bin with the horn and car-battery charger in it under the table at their feet. I put out champagne glasses, champagne and a cheesecake, saying, "Well, we didn't drink this champagne on New Years and it's using up room in the 'fridge."

When we sat down to dessert, Bruce passed the CGP an envelope from Cafe Press. I had ordered something for her. When she opened it and read the bumper sticker, Bruce and the boyfriend took turns running the AH-OO-GA horn. I took pictures--of course!

The CGP was quite suprised as you can imagine.

She even consented to having the boyfriend install the horn into her car, and to having the bumper sticker on the bumper.

And of course, there was another present.

CGP is also a coffee drinker.

She has a T-shirt with the molecular formula for caffiene on it, with the legend "Better Living Through Chemistry." So we got her a coffee cup to take to her lab. It identifies her true nature.

Geek that she is, she was overjoyed!

And still very suprised.

And, naturally, we had to give her the reward that any schoolchild can tell you is important.

A Gold Star. The front of the card says:

"Congratulations! If you were in grade school, they'd give you a gold star."

It opens to say:

"Oh, what the heck! Here..."

The last semester of undergraduate studies can be trying. Graduation seems so close, but good study habits must be maintained to get to that big day. And there is the job search to focus on, too. And chemistry is not an easy major. In fact, CGP has told us that there are only six people graduating with the degree this spring. A little celebration of an accomplishment leading up to the goal seems warrented to add a little joy to a stressful semester.

And...what the heck! Any excuse for a party!

And if you happen to get behind a car that says "Honk If You've Passed P-Chem!" give the person inside a friendly little toot. Few people realize the work and commitment and sheer brains it takes to pass that course.


Jenn Casey said...

What an awesome achievement! Good for her! That looked like a very fun celebration--loved the gold star card.

Magpie Ima said...

Mazel tov to the chemistry geek--I can't even begin to fathom what Physical Chemistry might be about, but then I was a language major :-) You are right to be so proud. It sounds like it was a great party.

Anonymous said...

Smart AND beautiful! Congratulations!

P-Chem survivor said...

For years I had nightmares about not graduating college because of that class. Celebration was definitely in order. If I had classmates that were as cute as the chemistry geek, then lecture would have been a little less unpleasant.