|This is an example of what I've been working on today ...|
the reaction to the left is called halogenation; the reaction
to the right is called halohydrin formation.
This morning, when I started studying for my organic chemistry final, it was all a mish-mash to me. Anti addition, syn addition, retention of configuration, racemization, carbocations, bridged halonium ions ... I couldn't keep it all straight. But after making (and reviewing) a huge batch of flashcards and working through gobs of these practice problems, something has clicked. Just now, I found myself looking at a reaction and actually knowing what to do with the bonds, atoms, and electrons. What arrows to draw. What products (including stereoisomers!) would form.
I still have a lot of practicing to do. I don't have all of these reactions down completely. But I'm getting the hang of it, slowly. Thankfully, my organic chemistry final isn't until next Friday, so I have plenty of time to cement my understanding. But knowing that I am already on my way is a darn good feeling.