Hello world, Sea TURTLE II Member: Lee, reporting!
I am a veteran teen intern at the New England Aquarium. I started in October 2008 in the Visitor Education department speaking to visitors and delivering presentations. I transitioned into the Community Programs department to work more closely with tide pool animals and traveling with them to educate children at schools and YMCA's about them. Finally, I landed in the Teen Programs office where I currently assist in filing, data entry, and organizing events for our teen social events. I assist behind the scenes from time to time, too; I get the all around experience!
I am so excited about this entire experience; I apologize for being a little eccentric! I still have a hard time believing that I'm going to be scuba diving in the Bahamas in just a little over a month!
The road to get here has been long and arduous... Group interview (Josh mentioned those group interviews here), individual interview, SWIMMING, pressure, class time, did I mention swimming?
The swim test to ensure our safety and comfort level in the water is a whopping 4 laps and a 10 minute tread. No breaks, no touching the walls in the tread. That's scary.
I'm not the best swimmer in the world. In fact, I only learned how to swim just recently, for the sake of being able to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity. The thought that I am the worst swimmer on the team has constantly plagued me and despite all my practices day in and day out at the pool, I still couldn't find the confidence to believe in myself completely. This is where the TEAM comes in. I love these guys!!! For cheering me on and steering me away from hitting the walls of the pool, supporting me when I needed it most, and most of all believing in me when I didn't believe in
On the day of the swim test, Michelle and Lulu volunteered to go first. They are amazing swim team swimmers. The bar was high, despite the test not being a race. Watching them made me extremely nervous for my own turn. Who would go next? Jessica volunteered us both because she KNEW I could do it; there was no doubt about it.
I swallowed all my fear and got into the pool. I wasn't sure I would have the stamina for the four continuous laps. When I reached the wall of the deep end for the last time, I couldn't even believe that I was done!
Next was the ten minute water tread. There were a few times I let my fears race for a split second through my head but I was so close to finishing the swim test, I wasn't about to let a little water sink me!
Every once in a while, I would catch a glimpse of Jenna and Sarah telling me I could do it and to keep going. When I heard Michelle and Jessica tugging me to tell me I was done, I couldn't believe it at all!
But I passed the swim test!!! The biggest hurdle for me so far was this swim test that I was preparing over a month for! [Read about other Sea TURTLEs' experiences with the swim tests here.]
And now it's onto the actual scuba stuff, I can't wait to see what else adventures and challenges Sea TURTLE brings me next. With the team and the program, I'm sure everything from here on will be fun and exciting!
-Lee, signing out
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Aquarium divers go on several daily dives to care for the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) as well as lead expeditions to the Bahamas.