My Industrial Chemistry Experience working As An Intern

in #proofofbrain2 months ago

When I was in high school, I wanted to study chemistry in college, this was because, I was promised that as an industrial Chemist in Nigeria, there would be lots of job opportunities for me. Basically, am a lover of money, I put interest in anything lucrative, I would say I adapt easily as long as money is the goal.

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Being a young person who just finished high school and confused about what to study in the university, it was very easy for a lot of people to give me their opinions on what to study. My chemistry teacher in high school, called me aside one day and asked me, “Prince, what would you like to study?”. I told him I didn’t know, he gave me series of lecture and advise on how I needed to study Industrial chemistry, and how much money I would make because of my degree. The irony of it is that he also studied industrial chemistry, but I was resisting the urge to ask why he hasn’t made a lot of money with it, instead he is my chemistry teacher receiving about $100 monthly. But then I decided to be polite and not ask him such.

I finally went to the university and chose industrial chemistry as my course to study. The theoretical part was very easy, I had the nicest lecturers who were always there academically when needed. They truly wanted the best for the students. I studied my chemistry notes because I wanted to graduate with a very good result so I can find jobs that will make me rich. My Dad was very proud of what I was studying, because he always talked about how I will establish a chemical based product industry in Lagos.

All those dreams died in 2017 when I went for my Industrial Training (Internship). If you school in Nigeria, you are mandated to have a 6 months Industrial Training (Internship) to have a practical insight about what you are studying. For you to have this experience you needed to submit letters to a lot of organizations asking them to take you as an intern. Well, that didn’t go well for me at first. I went around Lagos submitting Internship application letters to different chemistry related companies, because I needed to pass my 300 Level.

The internship program had the highest course unit and it’s mandatory.

Lots of companies rejected me without trying to get to know me first, they collect my application letter and never called back. That was the first time I had the first hand experience of how to look for job in Nigeria and I promised myself that I would never do that again.

After weeks of searching, I was lucky enough to find an environmental analytical laboratory in Ikeja, Lagos. This was where I did my internship. Working there was really exciting and amazing but working there made me realize how much I didn’t want to do that all my life. Working there made me realize that I only loved the theoretical part of chemistry not the practical part.

Being in an environmental analytical laboratory, we needed to study industrious environment, what do I mean by Industrious environment? These are environments where industrial activities are being carried out. What type of industrial activities? I’m talking about refineries, production Industries and high impact industries that will definitely have an effect on the environment.

What we do is check the air, land and water(if it’s located near a water body). The reason we check the air is to know if their activities pollute the atmosphere, the pollution goes beyond just the chemical component of the air particles, we also check for sound pollution. We had high tech gadgets that give us appropriate readings of the air when we go for analysis.

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One of my most exciting best experience was the analysis we always do once a month in a petroleum refining company close to an ocean(the Atlantic Ocean, I think). This company was located in the middle of the ocean, the only means of transportation was going through a boat. There was a small island created, whereby a part of the ocean was manually sand filled. Working there gave me the full environmental analytical chemistry experience because we had to check the air, the land(the island) and the water.

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To check the water, we use some jars, mark some locations, and use theses jars to collect the water at the surface of the ocean. Then we use a tool, that can go deep enough to the bottom of the ocean, now this part of the ocean is obviously the shallow side. When this tool goes to the bottom of the ocean we pour the sand and stuff it brings out into a zip lock bag. Just because the ocean is big, we only focus on specific areas, especially areas where the ships are located. We like to know the effect of their activities on the ocean through the water and the sand found below the water. There are so chemical reaction method that shows quantity of metals or non metals found in these water, sands and air.

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To check the land, what we do is, after checking the air, we use trowels to take some samples of the soil and put it in ziplock bag. We select different areas of the land and take as much samples as possible to be analyzed in the lab.

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While doing that, most times after taking all the required samples needed to take to the lab, we explore the ocean with the boat. Apparently there is a small town on the ocean that is a little far from civilization. Anything they do revolves around the ocean. The small town is majorly dependent on fishes as source of income. They fish a lot and bring them to the city of Lagos to sell, then buy some things and take it back to their water village. The young men there are very handy in repairing boats. Most of these people are skillfully good enough to couple a boat and probably build one. They never learnt this in school, but learnt from experience.

Riding on a boat in the middle of the ocean was very scary even though I always wore my life jacket. In as much as I had fun doing those during my internship, I never wanted to do them again as a profession. I felt it wasn’t meant for me.

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I see that finding a first job is very difficult anywhere in the world... I have many colleagues who studied Industrial Chemistry and today they are dedicated to that. I studied chemistry at school, I also love the theoretical part. I think that being there collecting all the knowledge must be great, but it is good that you have realized that it is not your thing. Maybe later you ended up frustrated and angry with the chemistry 😅.

😆 not at all, I loved chemistry but it was something I didn’t see my self doing as a profession. I loved it as a subject not as a profession.

Industrial chemistry is a good job. I hope you do well there. I worked in water chemistry for a time and it was very challenging with respect to the schedules I had to work, but It paid me well. Best of luck.


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It certainly is, but the nature of my country, unfortunately they don’t appreciate good results, just nepotism.