• Question: How does your family like your professions?

    Asked by EM on 20 Mar 2024.
    • Photo: Thomas Swift

      Thomas Swift answered on 20 Mar 2024:

      So – I studied chemistry at university – and I still work as an associate professor at university teaching chemistry.

      Chemistry – as a subject – is about molecules. It’s about what things are made of and the reactions we can do to change them.

      But – a lot of people call ‘pharmacists’ chemists (because the pharmacists used to make the drugs and medicines themselves) – the two professions are completely different.

      About a year after I graduated my mum called me up to ask my opinion on a new medicine she’d been prescribed by her doctor. I had to have a ‘chat’ about what my qualifications were, and make very clear I have no knowledge about any drugs or other chemicals her doctors might be recommending.

      Up until that point I don’t think she really understood what I’d been studying

    • Photo: Arno Kraft

      Arno Kraft answered on 12 Apr 2024:

      I went to University over 40 years ago to study Chemistry. Since then until only a few years ago, some of my aunts and uncles asked me during family reunions whether I am still at school :). Since I am now doing mostly teaching, what I am doing in my profession has become a bit easier to explain.

      More recently, the most frequent question I get from relatives is “When do you retire?”.

    • Photo: Tom Kitching

      Tom Kitching answered on 15 Apr 2024:

      I would say that most of my family and family don’t really understand exactly what I do, but the ones who do are very interested in it. I would always come back with weird stories of things that had happened at work when I worked on the build of an energy from waste project.

    • Photo: Sophie Shaw

      Sophie Shaw answered on 30 Apr 2024:

      They think it’s great but i’m not sure they fully understand what I do! They’re really proud as I’m the first person in the family to go to university!