I didn’t expect it to end this way, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I was sent home early from the SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies (CMRS) on South Caicos due to COVID-19 but even so, I’m so grateful for the time I had there. I’ve learned so much about myself and about this beautiful world. I’ve solidified my passions, I’ve gotten to meet some pretty amazing people, I watched every sunrise and sunset (except one), and I got to spend every single day in the ocean. I’m so thankful for this experience and have many reasons to count my blessings.
To the professors and staff I’ve had during this program, you’ve taught me so much. Not only about the academic content, but also about how to be passionate, how to make the most out of every situation, and how to keep a level head during challenging times. You’ve given up a lot to come live on a remote island with a bunch of college kids, and it’s clear that you love what you do so much. Thanks for understanding my wiggles and need to be outside on gorgeous days. Thanks for the shoulder squeezes and cups of tea brought to me as I’m frustrated with having to go home and trying to figure out flights. You taught me so much about what it means to be passionate and loving.
To the people I’ve met on this program, y’all are crazy. Thanks for entertaining my adventures, and for the hugs and tear wiping when times got rough. Thanks for accepting me with loving and open arms. Thanks for all the sunset dance parties, the long walks, the birthday dessert baking, the pull-up challenges, the random snorkels and swims, and the jetty talks. I cannot WAIT to have friends stationed all around the country (and Australia) to visit. You all inspire me.
To this program – thanks for teaching me what it means to be honest with yourself. Thanks for giving me enough space to breathe and figure out what I enjoy the most and why. Thanks for showing me how to live a life full of passion, adventures, and hard work.
And finally, to South Caicos – thanks for letting a group of energetic college kids come onto your island. Thanks for opening up your schools and your businesses to us, and for letting us spend time learning from you. Thanks for allowing us to teach and learn from your children. Thanks for the amazing food, the fun nights out on the town, and friendly honks as you drive by. You showed me what it means to be hospitable. You showed me what it means to truly care about the people around you and the place that you call home.
These people and these places are extremely precious to me. I’ve learned how to slow down and enjoy the beauty that is right in front of me. I’ve learned how to push past my comfort zone for the sake of growth and progress. I’ve learned how to have discussions with people who are very different from me. I’ve become my own person and solidified who that person is. South Caicos, you showed me what a life of pursuing your passion looks like and I could never thank you enough.