I'm currently in a Ph.D program for pharmaceutical sciences. Long story short my background is cell biology and I originally worked in a Cancer lab. My lab relocated and I could not follow. I was placed into a medicinal chemistry lab. This is how things work here, we get little choice. Anyway, I love my PI hes great, and my lab mates also great. However I have no clue what I'm doing. I have a project thats moving along nicely but once again . . . I don't even know why it's moving along.
I don't understand chemistry, I have a mere 8 credit hours from my undergrad in chemistry, and now I am asked to operate under conditions that would require a significant chemistry foundation. In my eyes all I have been doing is mixing what I am told to mix, run it through a column, perform TLC, NMR, and mass spec, and that's it. I don't know why I'm using one solvent over another. I don't know the mechanism behind any of my reactions, and hours and hours of googling has yet to teach me anything about them. No matter how many questions I ask (and I ask a lot) I don't retain anything or understand half of it because it's all upper level concepts to which I have no base to put them on. How am I suppose to defend any thesis like this? How could I ever start a career? I have no motivation in lab because I don't understand anything,at all. I don't have either the time or the drive to teach myself years of chemistry I never learned. Moving labs is 100% NOT an option here. I don't know what to do, any advice is appreciated.