Molecules. Ions. Radicals. Molecular ions. Polyatomic ions/ anions/ cations/ carbanions/ carbocations.
He wished to study something less divorced from reality. Something more relevant to life, to living, to being alive. Not reams of textbook knowledge. Whoever needs to know the different ways - inductive, mesomeric, orbital hybridisation effects etc - in which a charged particle stabilise itself?
He knew that he could do well if he simply put in more effort. More hours, greater patience, increased tenderness to the subject material.
But, he didn't know if he could find it within himself to pay attention to such stuff again.
He was, once, concerned with academic excellence. No, not concerned, but obsessed. Good isn't enough. Best is barely sufficient.
Yet, as he grew older, he intuited a greater awareness in the meaning of life: studying isn't the focal point at which the world revolves about. Knowledge isn't the alpha and omega of life.
At a family getaway in Malaysia - it was a lovely event, the family had a private fireworks display, awesome flares of light - he had the opportunity to speak to his cousin.
They were talking about spiritually - faith, religion and Christ. 'You know, when I was in secondary school, my friend just died along the track. I realised that there is more to life than just studying. If you were to die tomorrow, would you still be toiling through your notes now?'
'Having said that, we must put in our best efforts for all we do. We must be living testimonials for God, to glorify his presence.'
He wasn't a particularly religious person. Spiritual, perhaps, but not religious. He couldn't help sensing, though, that this was the answer he was unconsciously seeking.