PADI Open Water Scuba


If every high school graduation commencement speech, teen drama or other young adult media is to be believed, college is supposed to be that wonderful time where you break out of your shell and try new things, get out of your comfort zone and really find out who you truly are. Usually that’s in the context of relationships and stuff like that, but I’m no love guru. I am, however, someone who really enjoys trying new things. So when I saw PADI Open Water Scuba on the course listing when I registered this year, I knew I had to give it a go.

PE 257 (the course listing) is unlike any other class I’ve taken. Open Water Scuba spans from Friday evening to Sunday morning over one weekend in the middle of the semester, packing in one whole credit’s worth of learning into that time. Early on, once classes had begun and I’d gotten settled in, the course instructor emailed me and the other participants with some more information. There was an additional fee for the class, but that is mentioned in the actual course listing through eServices. Once the fee is paid, you’re sent a package of information containing the course book, a dive calculator, a DVD accompaniment to the course book and a dive log.

The calculator and logbook are explained during the actual lesson time later in the semester, with the course book and the DVD being important before the class begins. Before the actual class begins, you’re required to read through all five chapters of the book, self-quiz at the end of each, and watch the accompanying DVD segments. Personally, I’d recommend spreading those out over the time before the class, but I can confidently say you can get it all done in the week prior if you like, like myself.

Once the weekend starts, you split time between a classroom in BA and the pools. You are in full Scuba on Friday night, and get to take your first breaths underwater. It is an amazing experience that I definitely will not be forgetting anytime soon. The rest of the weekend is much the same, spending time in the classroom going over all of the content you have learned in-depth, while also swimming at depth in the pool and the diving well.

Sunday culminates with a few swimming and diving tests to prove you’ve learned the basics, as well as an actual multiple choice final to show your knowledge. Once that’s completed, you are given a certificate and are now free to pursue a full certification in open water scuba diving. All-in-all. it’s an amazing experience that adds a credit to your schedule and memories to your life (boosts the GPA, too). A word of advice though, when it comes time to take your pictures at the end, be sure to take a moment to get your hair out of your mask. Otherwise you may end up looking pretty dumb.