Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A successful student?

I have just been asked by my University - Plymouth to write about my career and experience from studying marine ecology there. I am so touched that they considered me and am just taking a moment to think about what I have achieved. At times I feel like I am achieving so little when I am banging my head against walls trying to encourage more marine education, eek out small funds for courses, tyring to remember all the vast oceans full of knowledge there is to know about our seas but in my mind if I have inspired one person to follow a career in marine biology or support marine conservation through sustainable living etc then I feel I have achieved what I hoped to. Sorry that sounds really cheesy but it's the truth. This is what I wrote...
"My love of the sea started young - rockpooling and playing on my local beach and with this my fascination of the ecology of our seas grew. I chose to do a course in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at Plymouth University because it would help answer many of the unanswered questions I had about our marine environment. I wasn't disappointed! I chose Plymouth because of the quality of the coastline and also the potential of work with many marine institutions in the area. I worked part-time at the National Marine Aquarium during my studies. The best part of the course was the diversity of understanding it gave about our marine environment as a whole. The opportunities for learning on field trips locally and most importantly the inspired knowledge of the lecturers.
I went on from my degree to study for an MSC in Integrated Coastal Zone Management with a work placement in coastal Argentina. Following on from this experience and my new understanding of the marine industry - I then worked in environmental management within the local council which was a really useful and enjoyable start to my career. In 2008 I finally realised my life ambition to set up a marine education facility - Learn to Sea. This has been an amazing experience and incredibly rewarding to offer local people and tourists of all ages an opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for the sea. I really believe that marine education is a fundamental requirement of marine conservation.
My work as director of Learn To Sea has also given me various other incredible opportunities. In 2010 I was asked to be guest presenter for BBC Autumnwatch which was a wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge of the seas with a larger audience. I also was selected to take part in an international marine education leadership course on Midway Atoll, North Western Hawaiian Islands. It was an invaluable experience to draw down for my work within marine education - particularly marine litter. I never expected my career would be so varied and exciting although I obviously hoped for it. Who knows what the future might bring! If you are passionate for the sea and want to follow a career in marine biology I wholeheartedly encourage you!
The course acted as a springboard for my career and a network of contacts for work in the future. It also, through it's diversity, gave me an opportunity to see what aspects of marine ecology I really wanted to follow. My school careers advisor advised me not to follow a career in marine biology for fear of lack of employment, I am glad to say that I have categorically proven him wrong!"
As an old uni friend reminded me don't forget trips to "Jelly Jazz" made you what you are today! And he is absolutely right because my career was established through my learning but my thoughts, understandings and perspectives from an amazing group of  inspirational and wise friends and family that have inspired me along the way...what a journey it is and it's not over yet! Feel so flipping lucky!

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