A day in the life: an overview
Today was unforgettable. I don’t even know where to start, so I will begin with my schedule. It went a little like this: breakfast, resource management, environmental policy, lunch, marine ecology, dinner, than night snorkeling. Now looking at that agenda, it doesn’t sound super exciting, but let me tell you…it was unbelievable. Resource management was in the classroom and we learned how to use excel to analyze huge amounts of data. I have had countless courses on how to use excel, but this was the most helpful and very cool because the data involved fisheries. Next class was environmental policy which was super chill because the assignment was for us to get into groups and find three facts about the Turks and Caicos Islands and we used magazines, journals, library, and locals to get this info. I learned a ton when we presented our findings to the class. Environmental policy consisted of three hours of snorkeling with the assignment of taking as many pictures as possible. This is my shit. I was in my element in the ocean taking pictures of everything. We will later get into our assigned group and compile all our photos and identify all the marine organisms we encountered. There was one site we swam at that was pretty shallow but there were tons of sand dollars, starfish, and queen conch. It was unbelievably cool. We also encountered more upside down jellyfish that were potentially venomous, but I learned that I am capable of walking over them without feeling the stings. There were billions of these jellies near the mangroves, and it was impossible to avoid them at some points.
Trying new things
So for potential marine biologist, I am terrified of fish. Ever since I was little, learning how to swim at my grandparents’ lake house, I have been so scared of the unknown. Maybe it’s not the fish themselves, but something about being in the water alone makes me super nervous. Even surfing in the oceans of Maine, I always find my mind racing about the creatures that could be swimming in the darkness below me. Anyways, tonight was my first night snorkel. Going out in the boat and preparing for the swim, I was literally shaking because I was so nervous. With some reassuring words from my dive buddy, Lu, I got up my confidence and plopped myself right off the boat and into the darkness. As soon as I opened my eyes I calmed down. The moon was full and I was snorkeling alongside 9 of my classmates, so all of our flashlights lit up the reef. It was like a dream. I saw so many awesome sea creatures ah and I wasn’t scared at all. We saw a lot of stingrays, a turtle, lobsters, crabs, beautiful fish, a lion fish, a squid, and tons of other organisms. Being underwater seems to calm me down and soothe my worries. I feel so at peace when I am submerged under the sea. My mind becomes clearer and time stops. I have such a special connection with the ocean and I am just so happy that I found this abroad program. Today was perfect and I am happy.