Sunday, 19 June 2016

It's Actually Over?!!

Wow, I cannot believe that this amazing trip has come to an end. Our last week was spent back at my home school, UNF, and we went out with a bang for sure! The highlight of the week was the 24 hour study at the GTMNERR which was exhausting yet pretty cool. We learned so much about diel patterns of the organisms in the habitat there as well as learned about the tides, too. Although I felt like I could sleep for days straight after we finished the study, I am so glad that we got the chance to participate in such a cool study. Kelly Smith and Courtney Hackney were absolutely awesome and I learned so much from the both of them in the last week.

This trip was something that I wouldn't trade for the world! I learned way more than I ever could have imagined before we began. Even though I live in Florida, I have never been to most of the places that we visited throughout the trip and it was awesome learning about all of the different ecosystems that Florida has to offer. This course has opened up my eyes to other aspects of coastal biology that I had not thought very interesting before. It gave us a taste of different aspects of the major while providing a hands on experience. I also loved getting to know all of the professors at the different universities, including my own UNF. They were all so kind and and were always willing to answer any questions we threw at them. Also living with 15 strangers in close quarters for 24 hours a day is not easy, but somehow we had a blast doing it! We made some memories that I will never forget and had the best of times along the way. I truly enjoyed hanging out with the people on this trip and am so sad that not everyone goes to the same school, but hopefully we all stay in touch!

If anyone is reading this debating whether to take this course or not, DO IT!! I was on the fence about whether I should go on this trip and I am so happy that I did. It is not something that everyone has the chance to experience and I am so grateful that I got to be a part of it. I learned SO much about coastal biology and about what I am interested in doing with my career and grad school in the future. It is a once in a lifetime experience!

THANK YOU FIO and all of the professors, universities, and faculty who helped put this program together and just know that all of your hard work was worth it!! If there was a way I could do it again next summer, I would do it in a heartbeat. I am so thankful that I was a part of this wonderful journey & am thankful for the awesome friendships I made along the way!

P.S. Thank you to Corey!! He was the best TA we could ever have asked for & the best grocery shopper, too!

Signing out for the last time,
Rachel :)

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