Throughout college many of us have a sense that much of the vast amount of facts and concepts we have to learn won’t be used later in life. When I look at those textbooks today it is hard to imagine that there was a time when all those equations and graphs made sense to me. That’s fine because those years at F&M involved much more than memorizing a set of facts. As the years have gone by it has become increasingly apparent that the greater value was the intellectual skills we were challenged to develop.
Majoring in chemistry at F&M meant learning critical thinking and how to logically organize large amounts of information. We were taught how to break down a seemingly difficult problem into parts that could be individually solved. We were encouraged to question dogma. My career has included practicing medicine, running several businesses and challenging some of the long-held dogma in preventive medicine. I may no longer remember all the reactions needed to get from a particular set of reactants to the desired end product. But every day in caring for patients and managing my businesses I rely on the skills we mastered in learning how to construct those reactions.