One of the things Olin encourages students to do is pursue activities outside of academics. This quickly becomes apparent through interactions on campus and with our admissions department. Anyway, although the college does sometimes provide funding and credit for these activities during the semester, sometimes it's nice to get away from Olin too. While I was on Spring break I took the time to finish up my SCUBA* diving certification.
A brief description: over winter break I attended 6 hours of classroom training with my family, as well as 6 hours of pool time. You learn basic skills and how to implement them in real scenarios and then practice each skill with an instructor. That way you won't risk injury while diving. You're eligible to start the certification process once you're 10 years old. After you finish all of the initial training, you're supposed to go to the real world to do your "open water" certification. That basically means lake or ocean.
So, over Spring Break I went to the Bahamas to do Open Water Certification. My parents had actually planned the vacation before we did the initial SCUBA lessons, so it just ended up being a convenient coincidence that we were staying at a dive resort, Small Hope Bay (on Andros). I ended up doing some diving in the ocean and some in something called a "blue hole." A blue hole is an inland lake or part of the ocean that's extremely deep. They were generally formed by tectonic plate movement, and have multiple levels. Initially there are about 100ft of freshwater, followed by a hydrogen sulfate zone, followed by anoxic salt water. The different layers all have very different environments. Obviously, as it was one of my initial dives (four are needed for certification, over two days) I was only in the fresh water region of the blue hole. It was really interesting to see a different ecosystem whlie being certified. Overall, learning something new and recharging for the rest of the semester at the same time seems to have been a great combination.
[As a side note, I would also like to point out that I have successfully written without needing to be reminded by Jessi that it's almost Tuesday. Ha!]
*Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, originally called the Aqualung.