When students were asked what they were going to miss the most about Bocas, responses included having the ocean in your front yard, our neighborhood dog Roger, and each other. On the other hand, students are looking forward to blisteringly fast internet, bagels, graduating and ice.
Our semester is hurtling towards its bittersweet conclusion. The whirlwind that began the semester never really stopped and now we are looking at our last few days. The students are editing their final papers, preparing presentations and starting to think about transitioning into being back home. They will present their results both to their peers and to the community, so that their research can be used by a variety of stakeholders in Bocas.
Some final traditions from the SFS Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies (TIBS) include dinners with their Directed Research groups, a group beach day, writing each other notes to open on the plane, group t-shirts, and giving each other paper plate awards. It is a difficult time with student and staff alike ready for a break and the next adventure, but not wanting the current semester to end.
I feel lucky to have been able to watch our 26 students go from a group of strangers thrown together to a family. Although it feels like only last week that they were meeting for the first time in Panama City, they have really come so far. We hope what the students have learned here will stick with them and that they will bring their new experiences back to their home institutions. As a staff, we will miss this group very much and look forward to seeing where they go next.