When i started writing this post i had initially begun describing things that we had learnt but then i felt that sharing my own personal experiences might add a different flavor to the whole thing.
Now, as a member of the National Younger Chemists Committee (YCC), i came in with a different perspective since i had some solid knowledge about the workings of the ACS. What i failed to anticipate was the fact that basically all the participants are younger chemists (below the age of 35) which means that practically all the issues that are raised will be things that the YCC would need to look into. Even more so, i was shocked to realize that some ACS benefits that i know about and probably take for granted are practically unknown to a lot of my colleagues here even though some of these things are sorely needed and would probably make members' lives better if only they knew where find some of these things. Like many of us have been saying, the ACS does need to do more in terms of getting information into the hands of those that need it and i personally would take some of this information back to the YCC so we can decided on what role we'll be playing.
The other thing that was an eye opener to me was getting to learn about little things that actually turn out to be big issues for international students.. now I used to think that having spent a big part of my life outside the country, I should have a good idea of what international students go through in spite of my U.S Passport but the truth is that i had no clue. who knew that things such as getting a driver's license or opening a bank account could be an issue?
In addition to these experiences we also had the opportunity to learn communication skills and about possible career pathways for chemists all contributing to a total learning experience.