Amber L. Howell
SEA Semester Class:
C-233 (Ocean Exploration- Early Spring 2011)
Armstrong Atlantic State University
Marine Biology / Anthropology
SEA Semester Research Focus:
Scientific Research - Prey selectivity of Myctophids
Why did you choose SEA Semester?
I chose SEA semester because it created an atmosphere that combined three of my biggest passions, researching, the ocean, and traveling.
What were the strongest aspects of SEA Semester?
I truly believe that people can make an experience worth wild, and that is what my class did for me. I never imagined that I would ever have the ability to get to know and cherish seventeen people in such a short time period. Another aspect of my SEA Semester was the classes and research. The student to teacher ratio was perfect and really allowed for a student-teacher relationship to develop. I never felt as though I would fall behind because I knew that I could go ask for help, and whichever class I needed help with they would give me their undivided attention to help me understand whatever concept I was struggling with at the time.
What were the most challenging aspects of SEA Semester?
The most challenging aspect of SEA Semester was being thrust into a completely different atmosphere twice within twelve weeks. First, in Woods Hole meeting and getting to know my seventeen classmates and three teachers, and again on Corwith Cramer getting to know the three scientists, three mates, and two engineers. In order to succeed both on land and on the boat you can’t be afraid to ask for help and at first it’s difficult because you don’t know who these people are. Luckily, the feeling of not knowing these “strangers” goes away within two days.
Words of advice for future SEA Semester students?
You know when you were learning how to swim, and whomever was teaching you was showing you how to plug your nose, move your arms, and kick your legs? Well, picture this experience like learning how to swim. Because when you learn to swim you eventually want be able to not hold your nose or need floats to stay afloat. That’s what SEA Semester is all about. It’s about learning how to take off the floats and go on your own. The first two weeks on the boat are when you are learning to kick your legs, but you still have arm floats. The second two weeks is taking off the floats but still having a hand close by incase you start to freak out that you are drowning. And finally, the last two weeks is like swimming in your first race. Same goes towards to shore component. The key is, is to never forget that even when you are swimming your first race, you still have your peers and teachers to cheer you on.