When I was younger I always wanted to be a veterinarian. But as the years wore on, I soon realized that being a vet wasn't my calling. It had begun to drag me down and depress me, so I let that moribund dream go. Ever since that day I was confused and nervous about my future. My parents wanted me to be a physical therapist but physical therapy wasn't the career for me. Out of grinding frustration I went online and feverishly began taking career quizzes. All sorts of suggestions came as results and I researched all of them. . . but none looked promising. After several quizzes were taken, I began surfing the web. I found an article online and read it. I was intrigued and researched the topic further. It was oceanography and it had 'Megan' written all over it. Oceanography consisted of adventure, science, computers, and rolling seas. This was for me.
To be honest, I knew very little about oceanography before I found it. The obvious no-brainer was that the job entailed the ocean. I thought that perhaps oceanographers caught exotic fish and studied bacteria near the ocean floor. I didn't know a lot until I did my research.
I had many questions about this curious career. Is it dangerous-perhaps life risking? What is a day in the life like? Does the college I have in mind teach this course? Is this a stable career? I was hooked and hungry for answers.
I soon found that yes, Oceanography is a dangerous career. Actually dangerous is an understatement. If you are not careful you could end up as a shark's main course or you could pop like a bubble if your submarine collapses near the ocean floor. But thanks to modern technology, the actual chance of these events happening is rather slim. Yet due to weather and natural human flaws, accidents do happen, even if they are rare. Although, technology has made a huge impact on the safety of oceanographers. Back in 1943, famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau invented the air tank so one could breath underwater. He had originally dubbed it the airlung. This was an important contribution to the ocean community because without it, oceanography would be close to impossible.
This same man invented the Diving Saucer which could hold two people and descend three hundred fifty meters into the ocean. This was a major breakthrough for deep sea research. Cousteau tweaked his creation and had what was to be known as the sea flea, which held one person and could go down five hundred meters. Both the sea flea and the diving saucer were a big plunge so to speak for oceanography-pardon the pun. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to have air tanks strapped to an oceanographers back or to be in a deep diving submersible. In fact, these tools are used every single day in the career of oceanography.
Being on a ship is typical for oceanographers and everyday starts out early. Oceanographers are up and ready to go the same time the sun is. The oceanography crew is made up of scientists and engineers working together to interpret the ocean. The engineers will get the data equipment ready to cast out into the deep blue sea and the scientists will suit up for diving . Information is gathered by many means. It can be gathered by subs, scuba divers, and ROVs, known as Robot Operated Vehicles. The
whole day is set about getting data. Later in the day, the data is interpreted in the high tech labs below deck. Data can be anything from dead fish to live fish, from photographs to particles of sand, anything from the surface of the ocean to the bottom. Dead fish are taken to labs to be dissected to find the cause of death. The live fish are put in tanks on deck and below deck for observation. The photographs are studied and published. Papers and graphs are written. On long trips out to sea this is all done on ship. Generally there are one or two long trips to sea per year. These trips can last from three to four months. Most of the time, though, oceanographers go out on ship for a day or two and come back to an office on land.
The college I am planning to go to does offer classes for oceanography. The only problem is since UGA is not close to the ocean, all of my interning and "home work" will have to be done elsewhere. In other words, I will learn on campus and have to travel to a beach close by for first hand experience. Unlike Marine biologists, Oceanographers don't just study ocean life. They study the entire ocean including all of the creatures, currents, and plants. Oceanographers go to the ends of the earth to find out information about the ocean. The ocean is a vast world of wonders with many unknowns. As the climate continues to change and the ice caps continue to melt, more and more oceanographers will be needed to find out how this is affecting the oceans and why exactly the icecaps are melting and at what rate. The demand for oceanographers will increase by twenty two percent in the next six years. The oceans will play a key role in the future.
After my extensive research, I know for an absolute fact that this is my path. Before this paper I knew nothing about Oceanography, and now I know almost everything about what the career entails. This is something I am willing to commit my life to. Now that I know what the reward is at the end of the academic journey, I need to step back and take things in perspective. I was always told that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time - I understand completely now . First off, I have to do really, really well in school. I am going to attend UGA and earn my doctrine and in order to do that, I need a couple of scholarships. In high school I am going to stay in all honors and AP classes. Before I even get to college, I want to do a lot of reading about the ocean. I am going to learn as much as I can so I can ace my classes in college. I want to do lots of interning on many ships so I know what it is like. This is my dream, and absolutely nothing is going to stand in my way. I will hit the books harder than I have to if that is what it takes. I have a goal now and it will become a reality for me one bite at a time.