Make sure to get a good photo.
This is a mindset I’ve had all throughout college, and is one that has become even more prominent in Australia.
I am surrounded by lush green mountains, the beauty of the pacific, and things I may never get to see in person again, so like any typical college student, I feel that I must snap a photo. I love looking back on my memories and sending photos to my family that express how much fun I am having. With that being said, I often have a difficult time deciding when I should take it all in and when I should click and post away.
At the end of February, I traveled to Cairns, Australia to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. This is something that has been on my bucket list since the first time I snorkeled in Mexico when I was seven years old. When I’m making quick weekend trips during my semester abroad, every decision is a go, go, go—book now and worry later. It never occurred to me how I would feel as I walked onto the boat that would take me to the reef. An instant panic arose in my stomach when I realized I didn’t have an underwater camera.
How will anyone believe that I even went to the reef? What will I post on Instagram? These silly questions flooded my mind, distracting me from the realization that I was on the boat heading toward a great adventure.
I thought back to what my parents would have done, growing up without cell phones, social media, and the constant pressure to document everything. They wouldn’t have had an underwater camera or a social account to upload the photos. They would have just enjoyed themselves while taking in their surroundings.
Two hours later when I made it out to the reef at Michaelmas Cay, I plunged toward the water and was immediately immersed in some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I saw neon fish that you would think were holograms in a movie, coral covering the ocean floor, and my personal favorite: a giant sea turtle swimming right next to me.
Of course, as this sea turtle joined me as I swam along, my first thought was, I need a photo of this! My nerves about forgetting this moment without a picture burned in my stomach. Luckily, I was able to tuck this feeling away and acknowledge that I was swimming with a real sea turtle. This sea turtle that seemed larger than life allowed me to let go of my compulsion to take photos. I thought, I am here with this turtle—as long as I keep staring at it, there is no way I could I ever forget this moment.
The pressure of getting a good photo often causes me to put all of my focus on capturing the moment on my screen. Instead, I have a decent pair of eyes I should use to capture my surroundings.
So will I have a photo of exactly what I saw that day in the reef? No. But what I do have are my memories of the magical feeling of being in complete harmony with the sea. I like my choice and hope I continue making the choice to live in the moment for adventures to come.
Laura Jeshiva, Study Abroad Correspondent
Laura Jeshiva is a junior at Boston University studying advertising. She is currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia where she looks to travel, try new food, and have an internship at an advertising agency. In Boston, Laura is an ambassador for the College of Communication and a member of AdLab.