helen-louise (baratron) wrote,
helen-louise
baratron

  • Mood:

Paranoid about Pyranoids.

I have been having a bad week in general, but today has suddenly become a Very Bad Day. I *think* I might have completely misunderstood the question in my carbohydrates coursework, and if this is the case, then I need to COMPLETELY redo it. And I've already spent 12 hours on it plus a further unspecified but large number of hours fixing the formatting when saving it as a Word .doc file ate all my diagrams, goddamnit.

So now I am panicking because I need to find out if it's wrong or not, and I *hate* having to email lecturers to sound like a total dork. Y'know, if you ask a stupid question in a lecture there's a 50:50 chance they'll have forgotten by next week, but if you have to email them a stupid question, then it sits around in their inbox to remind them of how stupid you were for the next 10 years. And if you ever *do* end up as faculty or something, you just know that at any minute they could drag out that dreadful student email to remind you of how stupid you used to be. Or, even better, use you as an example to the current students.

Could someone who's not in vast quantities of pain please have a look at this email and tell me how dreadful it sounds? a.s.a.p., because I need to figure out if I need to redo the coursework a.s.a.p.

Dear Prof X,

I was working on the Biological Chemistry I: Glycosylation coursework over the Christmas break, and I was experiencing great difficulty in reducing my answer to 2-3 pages of A4 at 12 point as you requested. Since college returned I have been looking at carbohydrate chemistry books in the library and I think I may have misinterpreted the question. Rather than hand in something that is completely wrong I would like to clarify it with you first.

The question says "The following factors affect the conformation of saccharides:- [...] Explain these in turn in a short paragraph each". When I have done coursework in the past (1994-97), I was told to write for a person with the same background as myself who had not already studied this particular topic, so I have been writing for another chemist who knows all about alcohols, aldehydes and ketones but nothing about carbohydrates. This means that I have interpreted the question "Explain these" to mean "What ARE they?", so I've included text like "A saccharide is labelled D if the highest numbered stereocentre has the same absolute configuration as D-glyceraldehyde", along with Fischer projections of D- and L-erythrose and D-threose. This alone has taken up a page of my answer, and in reading the textbooks I've realised maybe I wasn't supposed to explain what D and L means, just how they affect the conformation?

Please could you clarify this as soon as possible.
Thank you,
Helen-Louise.


God, I'm a dork.
Tags: college
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