July 31, 2018

About 7 months ago, I was just a normal student in the land-locked state of Colorado with wild dreams of someday seeing the ocean from underwater and wondering about what everything would look like. When I heard about the A Rising Tide documentary series, I got so excited and knew I had to apply. I sent out my application and hoped for the best. When I got the acceptance email, I knew I started an unforgettable journey.

Feeling good after our first dives.

I can remember the time I came into Ocean First for the gear meeting and I saw my gear bag. I immediately wanted to rip into it and try on all of the gear. I was so excited and I still couldn't believe that it was mine to use and dive in. When I tried on my fin after I got it out of my bag, I had the biggest smile on my face and I loved every moment of it. When I got home after the meeting, I put it all on and and imagined myself in the ocean. Flash forward a couple months and I am jumping off the boat for the first time with all my gear. I remember the feeling I got when the salt water hit my body and I thought I was floating in a dream that I have been dreaming about the whole time when I was training and working to get my certification.

A Rising Tide

Now looking back, I know I have so many memories I will cherish. Some of them include the time I first got my scuba gear, the first time diving in the ocean, and even the time I zippered my skin into my wetsuit. The one thing that put this experience over the top were the people. At first, we were just fellow scholars, producers, and mentors, but we all became great friends. I can’t wait to be able to work with them again in the future. Right now, I am a freshman in high school and I’m not sure what job field I want to go into, but being in this program and now having a scuba certification under my belt, there are so many doors that have opened up for me. I can explore marine biology, environmental engineering, and so many other things. I am so thankful and happy that I got the opportunity to experience this because I know that it has changed my life and my views on everything forever.

Andrew Patil, A Rising Tide Scholar

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