Through a Student’s Eyes: Sustainable Ocean Studies

SOS Scuba

All of my life I have been praised for my capacity to write articulate stories and poems; in fact, I was voted most likely to become an author as my middle school superlative. This title has never bothered me; actually, it has always flattered me in a small, secretive sort of way.

This all changed as soon as I started at Waynflete, however, when I realized that so many students were exceedingly fluent in various aspects of their lives. Suddenly, my concentrated area of achievement appeared smaller to me as it was juxtaposed with other studies. It caused me to wonder. Could I not be an athlete? Could I not be a musician? Could I not be a scientist?

One Tuesday during my sophomore year, David Vaughan presented a slideshow documenting Sustainable Ocean Studies, a month long summer program affiliated with Waynflete and Chewonki. All I could see was adventure and hands on learning and exploration and…science. Marine Biology, to be exact. I immediately met with David and eventually applied for one of the greatest months of my life.

Sustainable Ocean Studies is a program geared towards students who want to know what ecological challenges they are being faced with, and why. Packed with hands on activities such as rocky shore transects, lectures, scuba diving, kayaking, rock climbing, dredging, sampling, and so much more, SOS is a truly unique experience that takes place right on (and off) the coast of Maine.

By the end of the summer, I left with both a respectable tan and a deep knowledge of marine life in my own state.In addition to this, I met people. With no cell phones or computers, I had the real, unadulterated opportunity to talk with people and learn about their experiences as fisherman, businessman, managers, islanders, and professors.

Now, as I look ahead towards college and beyond, I know so many things about myself that I never knew before. I consider myself a writer and a scientist, and so do my SOS friends that live as far away as Seattle, Washington, and as close as Portland, Maine. I encourage anyone who has never seen a porpoise swim next to their kayak, a whale break through the surface of the ocean, or seals sunbathe on Mt. Desert Rock to check your schedule for this summer and apply to three and a half weeks of pure surprise.

For more information about SOS, click here.