Chemistry and Biology Teach Students the Life Lessons of Loss and Acceptance

Students at J-DHS knew from the beginning of September that the 2020-2021 school year was not going to be an easy one. The mix of remote and in-person days made for quite an interesting difference in both school environment as well as curriculums. While many teachers excluded certain small details from their lesson plans to ensure students could understand the bigger picture, Honors Chemistry and Honors Biology did not follow this theory.

When asked why he didn’t change his plans significantly, Honors Biology teacher Mr. Comfort said, “Students have to understand the situation they’re in and learn to thrive in it. This includes learning about ribosomes. Proteins won’t make themselves.” Comfort went on for another five minutes about the importance of ribosomes before we were able to sneak out and conclude the interview.

Students all throughout these classes have learned that grades are nothing more than a number on a piece of paper. A junior currently in Honors Chemistry said, “I remember a time when anything under a 90 was considered bad, now I’m happy with anything above a 47.” When asked if they had any tips for sophomores entering the class, the student said, “You really just have to accept your fate. If you were in Honors Bio this year, you already know a little bit about this; you can’t stress a lot about things you know are bound to happen. Don’t get me wrong, you need to study, just don’t overwork yourself. In the long term, a couple of thirties on tests don’t mean anything, but then again, does anything really mean anything? Each of us is less than a speck of dust compared to the Earth, and the Earth is less than a grain of sand in the universe.” The student who will remain unnamed continued on with their existential crisis for another five minutes before planning a trip to the mountains of Peru to “find themselves”.

This is not an uncommon occurrence among students who take these classes. Many, if not all, experience at least one existential crisis over their notes at 2 a.m. the morning of the test. While this may seem bad, not everyone sees it that way. Ms. Groman, an Honors Chemistry teacher, said, “Everyone’s gotta have a good mental breakdown here and there. Think about it this way: what would happen if we waited for students to get into college before having an existential crisis? They wouldn’t know how to handle themselves. If we at least give them a bit of practice, it will help them exponentially in the future. In my classroom, we teach students more than just chemistry. We teach them life lessons.”

Overall, the life lessons of loss and acceptance are needed in everyone’s day-to-day lives. These classes have taken it into their own hands to make sure students learn them early on, and oh boy, has it shown results.

Digby Thanoscar is a proud New Yamsterdam native with a background in botany and underwater welding. When not writing for Yampage, Thanoscar enjoys watching "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," and writing long Twitter threads on why it’s an objectively better show than "Chopped." On the rare occasion "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" isn’t on, Thanoscar can be found playing Papa’s Freezeria. Thanoscar hopes to visit Flavortown with David Scibilia (‘22).