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Diving Into a New Co-Co

Diving at Paradise Reef in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt
Derek Keats/CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As I clicked send on my email to Dean of Students Julianne Puente to sign up for the new SCUBA minor, I was excited and hesitant to see how the first day will go, and I was surprised to see how underwhelming it was at the beginning. One thing that thing to note was that it started at 5:15 instead of 4:00 as to not conflict with the Girls swimming instruction minor. So, I arrived at the gym at 5:15 sharp, to find that half of the other people didn’t even bring swimwear. That was the first thing to ruined my excitement, and that the instructors were being held up at the gate, so that just created a feeling of disappointment. Once the instructors arrived, I was happy to see a confidant pair that knew what they were doing. One of the instructors introduced his partner as “the instructor of instructors!” That optimistic introduction gave hope that this new co-curricular was going to be a blast, and a nice addition to my  college application.

Despite that fun introduction, we still needed to get basic lessons done immediately. So, as soon as we got to know the instructors, one of them placed a vest with tubes going out everywhere, it was somewhat intimidating. Yet, the instructor assured us that this clump of pipes and fabric is easy to understand. He began with the first initial part of the device, the regulator or the mouth piece, it’s where you breath. It was a long pipe connected to a circular segment with a mouth piece, similar to a mouth guard in boxing. Once, he was finished demonstrating it, he segued into the second regulator, the emergency regulator for a diving partner whose run out of air. Then, he spoke about its’ placement on the vest, he mentioned the golden triangle, and pointed to the locations of the second regulator. He pointed near collar bone, the right side of his body, and near his left kidney. I never understood why, it was called the golden triangle, the only thing I think of when I hear golden triangle is the Tri-force from the Legend of Zelda. I was going to ask him about the reason behind the name, but we finished before I was able to ask. We were asked to arrive on Monday at half-past five.

Monday twenty fifth of September, we arrived ready to dive, we got a recap for the basic devices and their uses. But we weren’t going to leave dry that day, the instructor called us over to put on our diving suits. I grabbed mine, an XXL skin-tight suit, and once I put it on, I immediately felt my neck being mildly crushed by the tight collar. The tightness of the suits made it annoying to put on my diving boots; I had to bend over awkwardly to just to get my foot in the damn shoe.

Despite the shoe conflict, I was able to get into the diving gear, much easier than the shoes. We all got to the edge of the pool, and watched as the instructor taught the basic way to enter the water: stand at the very edge of the pool, secure your regulator and diving mask, look to the sky and take a huge step forward. As soon as I stepped in—splash, I rushed up out of habit, and was face to face with the instructor sending the OK signal to practice diver’s speak. That’s right, I’m learning a third language along with this co-curricular. Now, that we’re in, it was time to practice actual diving, and the proper deep breathing techniques. When I tried to dive in, I immediately got panic stricken, and hyperventilating and floated back up with the instructor on my tail and we look at each other. He says calmly, “I know it’s difficult do get used to it. Just control your breathing.” After at least five failed attempts, I finally got used to it. Who knew diving in the KA pool could get so scary—with just a tank of air, a mask, and a nervous senior who only did this to get a cool addition to their CV. Give it a chance and dive into what makes you nervous, except a pit of snakes or spikes or anything that can kill you.

This entry was posted in: Blog, Campus

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Hey, I'm Hashim, who's a shameless senior who lives a life of no regrets by simply doing nothing...

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