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So You Want to Go to Medical School? I remember back to my college days when I had thoughts of going to Medical School. I asked what people majored in, and was told by counselors the ideal majors were biology or zoology. I asked what would happen if I didn’t get into medical school or lost interest when almost finished. It was another eight-year commitment. The counselor indicated I could get a job in biology or zoology. When I asked what else I could do with the degree, the counselor was stumped. After being told by the same counselor that I HAD to take algebra before taking calculus, I stopped listening to college counselors. I aced the algebra course with my eyes closed, and wasted three credits that could have been spent on something else. However… I did meet a very nice mathematics Professor whose husband served on the entrance committee for the Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine. Her husband claimed that preference in selection would always be given to chemistry... read more

STUDENT TESTIMONIAL “Over the course my undergraduate education at Cornell University and graduate studies at SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health I have completed 6 semesters of college-level chemistry coursework. In this time I have enlisted the help of three different chemistry tutors, as well as tutors in physics and calculus. I consider myself, therefore, a discerning consumer of tutoring services, particularly in the physical and biological sciences. I met with Joseph weekly for the past year, and with his assistance completed two semesters of pre-med organic chemistry with strong scores. Joseph is highly qualified and demonstrated an outstanding command of organic chemistry. He is the most experienced and professional tutor I have worked with in my 7 years of higher education. Punctual and organized, he often arrived at our meeting place early and with materials related to my current coursework in-hand. In addition to a strong grasp of all the material... read more

This is a letter of recommendation written by one of my former graduate (Ph.D.) students in support of my application to a major U.S. university. March 3rd, 2011 RE: Joseph L., prospective chemistry instructor position Professor: I am a student at San Diego State University in the Chemistry department. I am currently pursuing a PhD with an Organic emphasis and doing research in a medicinal chemistry laboratory on campus. Last semester, I had a particularly challenging Organic Synthesis class, and I hired Joseph as an organic tutor for the semester. He did such a great job I recommended him to my friends, and two of those students also became regular clients. Joseph has great skills for explaining these complex reaction systems, mechanisms, requirements for the reactions, the physical dynamics involved in why a reaction works one way as opposed to another. He has a great amount of patience when teaching the subject matter. Joseph was also able to bring... read more

What Makes Chemistry Difficult? I’ll first start off by admitting I never thought I’d be writing a blog about chemistry. Somehow I always envisioned it would be about art, philosophy, photography or psychology. Over the past year, however, I’ve realized this is necessary because students, and even other tutors, need it. Who knows, this could serve as the foundation for a book someday. After eight years of teaching and tutoring, I’ve found common themes in questions asked by students who need my help. “Why is this so hard?” “Why do I have to take this – I’m not getting anything from it?” “I can’t understand anything my teacher says.” “This is the most difficult class I have.” “I hate this class.” Many times I’ve heard this from some of my brightest students, so what’s happening? I’m going to be bold by saying chemistry isn’t hard, it’s challenging. Not everyone learns chemistry the same way because not everyone is taking the same class... read more

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