Becoming a Scuba Instructor.
The path to becoming an instructor has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’ve gotten to see and do so many things that most people can only dream of. It all started during my junior year of high school when I first tested the waters of SCUBA. As part of my marine science class, I was able to participate in a Discover Scuba course. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once I got in the water and started learning skills and getting used to the gear, I knew that a passion was born within me. For me, it felt natural – like I was born to scuba dive. From that day in Discover Scuba, I knew I wanted to further pursue my diving career and become a certified diver. However, it wouldn’t be until my sophomore year of college that I would get the chance to make that dream a reality.
During my sophomore year of college at the University of South Carolina, I was introduced to the USC Scuba Club. I went to the interest meeting where I found out that, not only did the club coordinate dive trips, but they also coordinated certification classes so that new uncertified members could earn their open water certification. Needless to say, I joined and immediately signed up for the open water certification course. To say I was excited would be an understatement – I was more than ready to start my journey into the amazing world of SCUBA.
Enter John Baker, Amanda Baker, and Scuba John’s Dive shop. They were the shop that the club was using to certify us (little did I know, this shop would become so much more to me!). During the classroom session, I hung onto every word they said and absorbed the information like a sponge. Then came the pool session, and I felt exactly the way I did years before during Discover Scuba, like this sport was made just for me. We went over the skills needed to be an open water diver and got to try everything out in the safety of a pool, which was great, but I was ready for more. I couldn’t wait to go deeper and be able to experience the openness of the underwater world. My first taste of this vast underwater world would come through the checkout dives at Lake Jocassee. Here I would also meet Bill Routh and become familiar with Lake Jocassee Dive shop, who would be conducting our charters. Once out on the lake, we dove down to the training platform and went through a skills test. In total we went through 4 training dives over the course of a weekend. The last 2 dives were more fun based than skill based, as we had already passed our skill training. These 2 dives would be my first experiences in diving and they were amazing. We saw a sunken boat, played basketball underwater, and fed the fish (seeing/interacting with the fish was my favorite part because I absolutely love animals). From then on, my scuba career would only flourish.
After becoming Open Water certified, I became an officer for the USC Scuba Club. My position as an officer was to coordinate the certification classes, which would ultimately lead to many opportunities that I would not have been exposed to had I not become an officer. Through setting up classes with Scuba John’s Dive shop, I built a relationship with John and Amanda, who would become my mentors and major players in helping me become the diver I am today. Around January of 2016, they offered me an internship at the shop, which I gladly accepted. Through this internship, I would be able to further my scuba career by obtaining my Advanced certification and from there, working my way up to Divemaster, over the course of almost 3 years.
During the time leading up to my Divemaster certification, as well as afterwards, I gained more experience diving than I ever thought I would when I was just beginning. I’ve gotten to dive in freshwater lakes, springs, rivers, low visibility, the ocean and various other conditions thanks to John giving me the opportunities to go. I’ve gotten to help with classes, learning how to work with people and help teach them. Though a lot of my experience I’ve gotten from just diving and learning first-hand, I owe a lot of my experience with helping people to Amanda. Through Divemastering and helping her in the pool and on checkout dives, I gained valuable first-hand experience helping people solve issues they may encounter while learning to dive. It was from working by her side and learning from her that I’ve developed confidence in teaching others. Because of John and Amanda’s mentoring and instruction, I felt confident going into my Instructor Development Course (IDC).
After becoming a Divemaster and seeing how you can make a career with SCUBA, I decided that I wanted to pursue becoming an Instructor. I wanted to be able to share my love of the sport with others and help them be able to experience the underwater world for themselves. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I believed it would be worth it. When I first started my IDC, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be good enough, but as the course went on, I realized I didn’t give myself enough credit. Because of my real-life experiences that I had accumulated up to that point, I was able to talk confidently during my presentations and I knew how to handle underwater situations during our open water skill examinations. By the end of my IDC, I had gained a new confidence and now I am officially an Instructor for Scuba John’s Dive Shop. When I first started out, I never imagined I would come this far as a diver. Becoming an instructor has been a huge accomplishment for me and I’m very proud to have earned this certification. I’m excited to help people start their own SCUBA journey and I can’t wait to see where this chapter of my life takes me!
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Diving tips, techniques, and disciplines for safe diving.