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xford Chemists Inspire a New Generation of Young Scientists

          Timea Thorpe (Lincoln 2011), one                   I was lucky enough to

          of our recent graduates, talks to                  work with the Chemistry
                                                             Outreach team. There were
          Periodic about teaching chemistry at               a few training sessions, and
          North London Collegiate School                     then it was simply a matter
                                                             of going along to workshops
          “So, what made you want to go into teaching?” is a question   that fitted in conveniently
          that I have been asked many times over the past ten months.   with my other commitments.
          From my new colleagues, from friends and even from family.   These ranged from colourful
          Teaching is a career where there is a common expectation   and fun experiments with
          that it has been your life goal for many years. To be a teacher,   primary school students,
          you need to have a deep love of subject; you need to believe   to delivering the RSC’s
          strongly in inspiring young minds; you need to genuinely   Spectroscopy in a Suitcase
          enjoy making complex concepts accessible to the previously   workshop to Sixth Form students. Every session was fun and
          uninitiated. And yes, I had some fantastically inspiring   rewarding, particularly seeing how students engaged with
          teachers at school. But, despite what I have been known to   the content and the activities. Teaching went from being
          say in certain interview situations, teaching isn’t necessarily   something that I might see myself doing a few years down
          what I imagined myself to be doing fresh out of university.   the line, to a career that promised real job satisfaction, many
          When I thought beyond the haze of tutorials and finals   opportunities to grow and develop a vast skill set and a job
          and writing a Part II thesis, I hoped that I would find   in which I would be challenged each and every day.
          myself employed, somewhere. Deep down, I even hoped   I was lucky enough to apply for, and get, a full time role at
          that whatever I found myself to be doing would be vaguely   an independent school straight after graduation. The past
          Chemistry-related. When it came to applying to jobs,   10 months have been biggest learning curve since First Year
          these hopes translated into applying for R&D roles in   tutorials. But I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I
          consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and defence industries.   now love my job and all the many challenges it presents. So,
          I applied to train as a chemical engineer and work at a   there are two points that I’m trying to make here. Firstly,
          consultancy. I briefly, considered applying for banking. After   don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do. Just
          a discouragingly low success rate a friend asked me what I   try to find something that you will truly enjoy doing. And
          thought that I would actually enjoy doing.         secondly, consider teaching – it’s one of the best decisions

          And that is when I realised that I was already doing   I’ve ever made.
          something that I genuinely like. Throughout my 4th year,

                                                            The Magazine of the Department of Chemistry
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