As a senior biology major, I feel like it is my job to pass on at least a little bit of information about being a biology major to those of you who are considering it. Being a biology major isn’t for the faint of heart, my friend. You are going to have to take some extremely difficult classes, study hard, and deal with a few other unfortunate circumstances every semester. Thankfully, even with these challenges, I have never once actually regretted becoming a biology major! In this post, I am going to share a few things that no one tells you about being a biology major to help you understand what it’s really like.
1. Challenging classes
The first thing you will realize when you become a biology major and start making your degree plan is that you are going to have to take a variety of hard classes. For me, these included classes like Physics I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Genetics, and a few others. You may also have to deal with taking a few night classes or late labs. I had to take a class once a week from five to eight one semester! Thankfully, there are classes that you will enjoy too! Some of my favorites included Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Neuroscience, and Cell Biology.
2. A lot of information to know for each test
Once you get around to taking your first few biology tests, you will quickly realize the large amount of material that you will need to study. Right now, I am studying for a zoology test that I have thirty pages of notes for. In order to make the grade, you have to know literally everything and be able to apply the information as well. If you want to do well in your biology classes, studying in advance will become your new best friend! If memorization is something that you struggle with, studying a week in advance, creating study guides, and making Quizlet notecards can help! I also have a post full of memorization tips to help you improve!
3. You will have multiple labs every semester
Remember how I mentioned that you will have labs? Well, it won’t be just one a semester. Sometimes I’ve had two and even three labs during one semester. I’ve also had labs that are scheduled right after a class and some that start at 4:30 and don’t end until 7:00. Sometimes having a late lab can make planning social activities hard. This is especially true if your friends aren’t biology majors and don’t understand the lab struggle. On the plus side, labs are usually really fun! You get to take the things that you are learning about in class and see them under a microscope or you get to experiment with chemicals that you’ve been talking about in chemistry!
4. Don’t expect to have a lot of free time
One of the most difficult things that you will have to deal with if you are a biology major is the lack of free time. Since you have to take a full load of classes (and labs) in order to graduate on time, an “easy semester” is non-existent. You will have to take a lot of hard classes at once. You will have a ton of homework. And you will be studying regularly! This means that you will have less time for yourself, your relationships, and your friends and family. Don’t worry though, if you are productive you will be able to make time for those important people in your life! Personally, I have been in a long distance relationship for the last three years, visit my family every other weekend, and still make time to watch two or three shows a week with my roommates! In order to have time for everything, you will have to plan, prioritize, and be productive!
5. You won’t like every class
Since I’m a biology major, I have to enjoy every single class I’m taking, right? False. Some of my classes are hard, y’all! The toughest classes for me where Physics I and I, Chemistry I and II, and Organic Chemistry I and II. I just didn’t understand the material and had to work even harder to do well in each of these classes. Thankfully, my hard work paid off because I made only A’s and B’s in all of these classes! If I can do it, so can you! Want to know how I did it? Here’s a post I wrote on how to study for classes that you don’t like! Because they will show up, my friend!
6. Homework takes forever
Y’all, biology homework takes forever. I’ve spent three hours working on thirty biochemistry questions before. The worst part is, there were two of us (me and my roommate) doing the homework together and we still struggled! Since the material is so difficult, you have to really understand as much as possible before you can tackle the homework questions. If you still don’t get it, you can try Googling the question to see if it helps better explain the material. Sometimes, however, Google will have no idea what you are talking about (looking at you Biochemistry!). I would suggest that you try to work in a group of two or three to get your biology homework done more quickly. Sometimes having multiple thought processes can really make a difference!
7. There are things that can help
As hard as I’ve made being a biology major sound, I want you to know that there is definitely hope! I am no expert student, but I have been able to get only A’s and B’s in all of my college courses. It has taken a lot of hard work, but if I can do it, I know you can too! Thankfully, I’ve found quite a few websites to help me along the way! Here are some of my favorites!
-Khan Acadamy: The only thing that helped me pass chemistry and organic chemistry.
-Youtube Crash Course: Great video explanations on a wide variety of topics.
-Grammarly: The only spell checking tool you will ever need!
-The Chemistry Solution: A great chemistry resource!
-Slader: Type in your books ISBN to see if Slader has the answers to your homework questions. Then, work backwards!
I hope that this post hasn’t scared you out of being a biology major! If you are passionate about what you want to do, I know you will enjoy life as a biology major no matter how hard it gets! You can do this! Feel like you need help learning how to study? Grab our bonus list of studying tools by signing up below!
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