Hurray! I have been an instructor for exactly one year now. Let’s celebrate and look back at the life-lessons I have learned from my scuba students in the past year (and hope they learned at least as much from me).
People will always come up with ways to surprise you.
Even when you think you’ve seen it all and are prepared for every possible scenario, one of your students will come up with something that just leaves you thinking “what…the…hell..??” Like my first Open Water student who decided that the best way to remove and replace her weight belt underwater was to pull it off over her head. Wait. What? Yes, over her head. Why you would do that? No idea.
Everyone feels stupid when they are learning something new.
Trust me, everyone makes silly little mistakes when they are learning something new, and pretty much everyone will feel at least a little bit stupid.
You are no exception. Whether you’re the student that puts the alternate air source upside down in his mouth, or the student that just doesn’t get the dive planning tables, or the one that keeps forgetting the steps of the buddycheck, be assured: you’re not the first, nor will you be the last.
It’s ok. Especially with something so unnatural as diving (people are still not made to breathe underwater), it takes some time to get used to the new environment and all the things you have to pay attention to. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even more so: embrace them! Learn from them! Laugh about your stupidity. Trust me: we have probably seen worse.
Typically, the students who feel worse about their performance are usually the best, so you should probably only worry if you think you are doing everything absolutely perfect.
Do something because YOU want to, not to please someone else.
Some things in life just need to be done. Like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, get tested for STDs after unprotected sex, and filing your tax return forms. Not because you necessarily want to, but just because you have to. Right?
Diving is not one of these things.
We get a lot of couples or small groups here that want to do their course together. Usually you’re able to tell from minute one that it is only one of them that’s really excited about diving and that the other one is just joining to, you know, not to ruin the holiday or something.
This is a really bad reason to start diving.
It usually works out alright. Sometimes the person that was a little hesitant ends up loving diving anyway, but usually you know right from the beginning that they will probably never dive again. Such a shame! I mean, diving is not a cheap hobby, so why waste all that sweet money and time on something you knew you wouldn’t enjoy from the start, just because your S/O pressed you into it?
People are great at overcoming fears
Most people have (or had) some fears about the ocean. After all, it’s not a natural environment for us mouth-breathing human beings, it’s full of things you couldn’t even imagine in your worst nightmares and unpredictable as fuck. And then there’s scuba diving, where you rely on equipment in an essentially hostile (although incredibly beautiful and fascinating) environment.
It’s very normal to have some reservations about all this. Or in some cases, be terrified.
Almost every student has this voice in a little corner in their brain that whispers “what if…?”
But almost everyone manages to quiet that voice, overcome their fears and enjoy diving. when you think about it, this is truly impressive. It can also be a great confidence-boost in other areas of your live. “Well, if I manage to get over my fear of sharks, then surely I can get over the fear of asking for a raise?”
So thank you, my dear students. You are all wonderful inspiring and fear-kicking people!