I am incredibly glad that I decided to go on the trip, and if you’re reading this and you’re considering going, I highly encourage you to do so. Especially if your passion involves the ocean, or even just wildlife in general, you will not regret it, I guarantee.

I also got to participate in a Queen Conch research project, where we surveyed wild conch we found in the reefs and measured them and recorded data to determine whether or not the conch population was declining, and if the poaching was getting worse. This project, along with all the other research projects that the other student groups did, were opportunities to gain valuable experience. I now know how to come up with a hypothesis, test it, and gather data, which is invaluable. Before, I hadn’t really considered going into research, but now, I feel like I could even lead my own research project and create a thesis of my own. Not to mention, saying that I got to participate in a several year long conservation research project is quite the resume booster.

I have decided to drop my pre-med major, and now I am planning on getting a dual degree in Biology and Environmental science. My new dream is to either be a college professor in a biology or environmental science speciality, or I want to work with the government in conservation. I feel like going on this trip has solidified my life direction. For a very long time, I was extremely indecisive of my plans for my life, but now I know what I want to do. I am very proud of myself for going on the trip, despite my anxieties about leaving the country for the first time, and not being able to reach out to my family and friends.