What I have learnt since starting the Royal Society of Chemistry graduate scheme two months ago: there is such a thing as too much cake...
I joined the RSC in September having previously worked as a teaching assistant since finishing my degree at the University of Oxford. While moving from Oxford to Cambridge was not too much of a culture shock (they are very similar cities!) it is always quite daunting relocating somewhere new. I had nothing to worry about though – the RSC is a great place to work and the graduate scheme gives you a ready-formed friendship group, which made settling in really easy. We’ve had lots of pub trips – Cambridge is great for pubs! – and we’ve just started planning our group costume for the fancy-dress Christmas party. Cambridge is a lovely city and I’m looking forward to exploring it more.
One of the first things I have learnt is just how much the RSC does as an organisation –I am two months in and still discovering new projects and initiatives. It’s rewarding to be part of such a diverse institution and there are so many different opportunities to get involved with. We had an induction day for all new starters that gave a useful overview of how the RSC works and even better, it was held at the beautiful Burlington House
in Piccadilly, London. This is where our members’ library is located, and also where a lot of our events and public lectures are held –it’s definitely worth a visit!
I’m really enjoying my first rotation in the Industry team. As someone with no background in this area, I have learnt a huge amount about the UK chemical industry – there has been a lot of new terminology (and acronyms!) to get my head around. This has been great though, as one of the things that attracted me to the graduate scheme was the opportunity to gain experience in new areas. I’m currently working on an initiative
that offers grants to small chemical companies so they can employ an intern for 3 months. As a recent graduate, I know how difficult it can be to find internships in the chemical sciences, particularly in small companies, so this is a really exciting project to be part of.
As grads, we also get the chance to go on visits to universities at this time of year, promoting RSC membership to students and staff. It has been a lot of fun travelling to different parts of the country – I have been to Brighton, Huddersfield, Lincoln and Norwich –and I’ve got a lot more confidence in my presentation skills.
Another thing I’ve learnt about the RSC is that they are very passionate about cake. There is always cake of some description in the office, which is amazing, but can also really test your self-control! Thankfully there are also lots of sports clubs you can join to counter the effects – I have joined the local gym and started a yoga class since moving and the RSC also has a running club, badminton club and squash ladder, to name but a few.
Bring on the next 16 months!
Ellie is a Graduate currently working in the Industry Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here.