Friday, June 5, 2015

Clever Tidal-the end of the Bio450 2k15

After ten weeks of long nights, early mornings, intertidal explorations, and paper writing we have finally come to the end. Our entire experience at Hatfield has lead up to this week, and the presentation of our final projects. We spent many weeks familiarizing ourselves with the different realms of marine science, so that we could test and present projects of our own.
Having the opportunity to test any hypothesis we wanted gave us the freedom and opportunity to explore whatever we found alluring. For some of us that meant we could study the effects of fresh water on marine algae, or test the anthropogenic effects on fish communities. For others this meant we could immerse ourselves in the study of the feeding habits of marine snails, or the recruitment patterns of muscle larvae. Whatever the topic, the beauty of this week was that we were able to present projects that reflected our interests, and represented our goals.

It has been a long journey learning to get to know each other, and along the way we have made mistakes, angered each other, driven each other to tears, and held each other up. But most importantly (at least for me) was learning that we all have more in common than we may have previously thought. It has been a rare and incredible opportunity to get to know each and every one of the members of this class. We have all been offered the chance to take a closer look at the world around us, and allow ourselves to experience what we normally would take for granted, or look over without a second thought. Many people walk through the rocky intertidal, but few get the chance to take a closer look, and gain and understanding of what exists there. The same is true for getting to know all of you.

Living at Hatfield is like living in a tidepool. The tide has gone out and marooned us all together in a small inescapable environment, forcing us to coexist with each other and find our individual niches. It has taken time, but I am glad to say that each one of us has found a special connection here, maybe not with the people we expected, but perhaps with the people we needed. As an individual I did not expect myself to connect so authentically with so many of you, but I am grateful that I did. 

There is beauty in every human being, each one of us has a story to tell, and a passion which we wish to share. This week we finally had the chance to show that. Each of us put our hearts and souls into our presentations and the results were remarkable. Some of us fought through sickness to collect data, when faced with a failed project others of us designed and executed a project in a single weekend. Some of us spent hours in the lab behind microscopes and computer screens, weighing barnacles, counting muscle recruits, and weighing samples, all to collect data. We all spent hours in the field, in the pursuit of data, and we did because we wanted to! We were driven to collect and present our data, because it was OUR data, no one else’s.

 In all of our projects we were able to test hypothesis that have never been tested before, and in doing so we have contributed to the depth of knowledge that exists in the scientific community. We have finally been given our chance to shine and we all took it. 

Every single one of us performed incredibly. We should all be proud of ourselves. Congratulations. 

If I have learned anything from this experience it has been that there is always beauty around you, in the people you meet, in the places you go, underneath the rocks beneath your feet, or buried in the sand. Beauty will always find you if you let it. Hatfield class of 2015 go forward in your lives and pursue whatever it is that moves you, but do not forget the gifts of the ocean that have been offered to you here, do not forget the people you have touched, and the people that have touched you.

 We are all as a human race on a ship together, witnessing the oddities of the strange and wonderful world around us. Whatever choices you make, we are all bound together. Don’t forget that you have a power to change the world around you, and make it a more beautiful place. 

As the sun sets on our journey together I would like to leave you with this suggestion: Wherever life may lead you, whatever path you may take trust in yourself, in your gut, and in your highest self. The way may not always be clear, but if you have faith in yourself you can face life with no fear. 

Be well.


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