You can imagine how I was feeling as I plodded back home on a Friday night after a long and frazzling week at work. Got to the gate and did the cursory mailbox check…Oooh! There’s a large envelope in here. And it’s addressed to me! Or rather, Claire Jarvis AMRSC…
Suddenly my whole week didn’t seem that bad after all.
It wasn’t many months after graduating with my undergraduate Chemistry degree from the University of Edinburgh that I decided I wanted to apply for membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Given that I was a recent graduate with only a few years worth of scientific experience chalked up, I applied for graduate entry level: Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC). My application has been processed and I’ve got the certificate, card & information pack to prove it.
Successfully obtaining RSC Membership was tied up into my New Year’s Resolutions and plans for professional development (mentioned in previous blog articles), so I thought I’d go through some the reasons why becoming an AMRSC is important to me.
- Signifier of Professionalism
I’m not the only one of my Chemistry friends to go apply for the title AMRSC, and to be honest I’m not surprised. If you’re about to hit the graduate jobs market for the first time you want as strong a CV as possible. Obtaining the RSC designatory letters demonstrates that (a) you’ve obtained a specialised higher education complete with relevant vocational experience (b) you’re dedicated to committing yourself to professionalism in the field of Chemistry. As part of your RSC membership you sign an agreement to abide by the RSC Code of Conduct and a uphold standard of professionalism in your vocation.
For me personally, it’s important that I uphold myself to a high standard of professionalism…but it’s also rather vital that my employers understand the standards I’m holding myself to. Just a few letters after my name should hopefully make things clear for them AND me.
- Opportunity for Ongoing Development
In a few years once I have amassed further scientific experience and education, I will be looking at upgrading my membership from Associate Member to Member. Should I continue to make important contributions to my chosen field and professional development then there exists the option to look at becoming a Fellow of the RSC and/or a Chartered Chemist. Both options are good goals to work towards, both clearly show to employers that here is a person with in-depth knowledge, experience and professional skills. I also enjoy achieving step-wise goals such as these
Not only that, but the RSC offers plenty of training programs, conferences and resources to help scientists improve their core skills.
- Opportunities for Networking
My experience to date indicates quite clearly that getting jobs, internships and opportunities in the science sector boils down to who you know and their willingness to put in a good word for you, or pass information along. At present I don’t yet know what future opportunities await, or what doors could be opened for me. Getting involved in a large professional body such as the RSC will hopefully connect me up to plenty of useful scientists through conferences and events.
- Discounted Chemistry Conferences
Not only do RSC Members get returned registration fees for conferences, but there’s the possibility of young scientists obtaining a grant to help them with travel & registration costs. For me that is especially exciting because (a) there’s an ISACS7 Conference on Organic Chemistry & Chemical Biology held in Edinburgh this summer that I really want to attend (big names, my field of interest, going back to Edinburgh, etc…) (b) as an intern my company won’t cover registration fees.
2012 may not have gotten off to a perfect start…but it looks like I’m laying the correct foundations.