A day of finals

Today was our last full day at the Gerace Research Center on San Salvador, Bahamas. We began the day welcoming the massive number of new students from the United Kingdom, and then heading to a breakfast of delicious blueberry muffins and eggs. We waited with bated breath as our professors scrawled the dreaded time of our exam: 9:15 am. 9:15 am was the time that we were all preparing for these last few days, a true test of our accumulated knowledge of this entire course. We all headed to our different preferred corners of the GRC to do some last minute studying. Once we were at a level of preparedness that we deemed acceptable, or close enough to it, we headed over to the massive conference room to face our fates. We entered the large, wonderful air-conditioned room and chose our seats, drank some cool calming water, sharpened our pencils, and took our last calming breaths; then the exam began.

The first portion of the exam consisted of fifty questions of identification. We were given pictures on a massive projector and asked various questions ranging from an identification of the organism to the phylum which the organism belongs to. This portion of the exam was a frenzy of pencil scratches and understanding gasps of “OH!”’s. Many of us entered into the exam room with doubt in ourselves and in our knowledge from this trip. Once the first picture of the Queen Trigger fish popped up all of us gained a small amount of confidence in our abilities that raised exponentially as the exam went on. Once we all finished the first portion of the exam, we left the conference room and continued to our lab.

The second portion of the exam was a lab practical setting filled with stations containing many questions each, adding up to thirty in total. We were given a minute per station, and then we were given the third portion of the test, a written exam. We all filled out the written portion, turned them in, and then we left to go contemplate our time here on the island.

We all went to lunch and had macaroni casserole, and orange Kool-Aid. We then finished washing all of our snorkel gear in the leaky outdoor shower, and then lathered up in the last of our precious sunscreen. We all then clamored up onto the small truck 315, and drove down the west side of the island past all of our favorite dive locations, such as telephone pole, snapshot, and monument, all the way to Grotto Beach at the south end of the island. We bounced and bobbled down the road that is contained mostly of sharp rocks and pot holes, and ended up at the most amazing beach on the whole island. We all ran to the water and dove in, savoring our last taste of the Bahamian sun. We spent an hour and a half participating in childhood water games such as: Chicken fights, Jackpot, and of course, Marco Polo. We enjoyed our last moments before slowly leaving the water with melancholic attitudes, and slowly climbed up into that truck once more. We slowly drove back to the GRC for the last time.

Once back, ran to our favorite dinner, BBQ chicken, black beans and rice, and orange Kool-Aid. We ate our last meal in silence, enjoying the social atmosphere one last time. After dinner, we came back to the conference room for one last class project. Each research group presented their posters from their research projects and answered questions. We got our exams from the morning and all cheered for our shared knowledge that we had gained. We ended the day by watching Pirates of the Caribbean one last time together as friends, before preparing for our eventful day tomorrow.

Jeremy Barkley ’17, Emily Rudolph ’18, Heddie Samuelson ’18, Jamila Juzer ’17, Julia Valentine ’18, and Collin Stewart ’19

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