A Chance to Sea Life

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During my senior year at Baldwin High School, while sitting in my Environmental Studies class, I learned of my passion for the great outdoors. Whether it was plants, animals, sea life, or the topic of discussion being taught, it never failed to spark my interest. Reflecting back, my Environmental Studies class played a vital role in allowing me to overcome my fear of the ocean. My decision to participate on a field trip which required us to explore the coral reef up close was a difficult one, and in retrospect, it was the right choice because it changed me; it helped me to think differently about my capabilities, become more courageous, and made me feel like I achieved the impossible. Mr. Gard, my Environmental Studies teacher, was a laid back individual in his mid-40s with big blue eyes that peered through a pair of bifocals held together by a thick wire frame. One day after reviewing Hawaii’s marine ecosystem, Mr. Gard made an announcement for an upcoming field trip. “Class,” he said, “our next destination will be the exploration of Coral Garden!” My heart sank to my stomach. I slouched back in my seat not wanting to hear the dreadful details, but at the same time my ears picked up on the descriptive plan of our excursion destination. If my teacher was a sales person, he had me sold on placing my fear aside so that I would be able to experience the fascination through exploration of that magical place he was talking about. “Okay class, don’t forget to bring your parental consent forms to Ma’alaea Harbor this Saturday at 7:00AM sharp,” he shouted, as the school bell rudely interrupted him. Despite my phobia about the ocean, I was excited and curiously eager to partake in the excursion to Coral Garden. My fear of the ocean is mainly based on two things: drowning in huge sets of waves and/or being attacked by a shark. My anxiety of a shark attack derives from the 1975 hit movie, “Jaws." Whereas, my fixation of submerging into the depths...
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