I'm stationed on a US Navy warship and I often wonder if its possible to master these subjects without access to a college instructor. I've been reading introductory books on organic chemistry and while I've gained a lot of knowledge over the past year, I still cannot carry out any experiments.
I have three more years left on my contract before I can ever step foot in a chemistry classroom. I would like to eventually know everything about organic chemistry and biochemistry from reading IR spectroscopy / NMR signals to knowing everything about the properties of various functional groups along with their medicinal applications. I would like to get to the stage where I can propose what reagents to use for various reactions, but I realize that is made more difficult by the fact that I don't have direct experience in the lab.