ORANGE COAST COLLEGE FOUNDATION: Ecology Of The Gray Whale

ORANGE COAST COLLEGE FOUNDATION: Ecology Of The Gray Whale


It’s a four-week class where we meet for two hours four times and then in the middle of that we take off for four days typically over the President’s Day holiday and drive down to Baja. It’s one day on the bus, two days on the water and coming back where we go out on the boat and interact with whales. It really was indescribable. I’ve never heard of any sort of trip like this for marine biology with any sort of university or community college or anything at all. So this was really an extremely amazing opportunity that we had. It was a big first for OCC especially for a marine science class. They have tons of study abroad classes for other courses but nothing has ever been done like this at least at OCC for marine science so I think this is definitely going to open a really big door for students like us who want to experience things in the world that we would not have the chance to do without OCC. They really emphasize the field experience, which is what we all love and what we want to do so a trip like this just makes us it kind of solidifies that this is what we want to do with our career. What the students take away from it is not just the field intensive part of the class and the class itself where they learn about gray whales specifically but it gives them an appreciation, an appreciation for science and many of them become hooked on science at that point. And they may not go on to study marine mammals or fish directly but they might study something about the environment. I learned to just appreciate our world’s oceans even more. I mean it was the largest mammal I had come across. I think every single one of us cried on the boat at some point whether it was just seeing the whale for the first time so close or touching it but it was an emotional day. But it was absolutely indescribable. I am obviously a poor student. I am actually only working part time while going to school full time and just before the deposits and everything were happening for this trip, our car broke down and so all of our funds had to go into fixing our car so we were kind of a little desolate at the moment and so I was like well the gray whale trip is not going to happen for me. Karen informed me about the scholarship because I wasn’t aware of it and so I went out and I wrote my essay and I got it turned in to her and then Karen called me about a couple of days later to let me know that I actually received the scholarship. Ohh man I was at work when I got the call and right afterwards I went out and I was telling my coworkers, I just won a scholarship, I get to go pet whales in Mexico. It definitely like solidified that this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. After this, I definitely want to get back into more marine science classes at OCC then get my Associate of Science degree from OCC. It was a life changing experience that I am supremely lucky to have experienced.

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