Student Spotlight: The Diving Dentist-to-be

One morning, I found myself half way around the world, 100’ below the surface of the waves as they crashed against a tiny island. I was in Southeast Asia exploring the remains of a ship that rested on the ocean floor—compliments of a squadron of B-24 Liberators and a few thousand pound bombs. In just 60 years, the ocean had staked a claim on this vessel and completely covered her in sponges and corals. Turtles took up residence, and fish more vibrant than photos could ever capture crept along the distorted corridors.

At this point, I had been a certified scuba diver for a few years. Still, the vast silence was mesmerizing, almost overwhelming. As time ticks on at this depth, nitrogen builds up in your system and delirium may set in. Man’s limbic system was not made for this—only his sense of adventure.

The journey here began in Jamaica at my sister’s wedding. I was snorkeling along Dickey’s Reef and wanted to stay down longer. I wanted more! More time, more knowledge, and more adventures into the kaleidoscope of an environment. I decided that I would not only become a certified diver, but a Master Instructor because something this special should be shared. A few years later, I found myself teaching scuba to people from all walks of life. I was filling up the pages in my passport to places I once only read about in island magazines. I was submerged in a different rhythm of the world and taking on whatever adventure came next.

Today, my fins are hanging in the garage as I continue the dive into dental school. They aren’t too high, though, always ready to propel me into another underwater expedition the second the moment arises.

Garrett Nelson
D.D.S. Candidate, Class of 2019
PADI Master Instructor