x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Going in at the deep end

How a scuba course brought back long-forgotten student cramming techniques.

It was only when I sat down and really thought about it that I realised it had been a good few years since I had studied hard in order to pass a test. Of course, given the nature of my job, I spend a fair amount of time behind a desk researching and writing away. However it is not quite the same as the reading, remembering, reflecting and regurgitating (ideally with some original thoughts thrown in there somewhere) associated with passing written assessments.

When my friend suggested that we learn to scuba dive, I was not too keen. It was only after being bombarded with numerous links to YouTube videos showing turtles and the like swimming around in stunning blue Omani waters - not to mention of the promise of a dive holiday in the Maldives - that I began to warm to the idea.

Now my friend is nothing if not proactive, and the next thing I knew our first swimming pool session had been booked for the following weekend. In order to begin the process of learning to dive, one first needs to complete an online course, which is divided into six parts, with mini tests running throughout and a longer assessment at the end of each section. A busy beginning to the week meant that I did not start doing this as early as I perhaps should have, and when I eventually logged on to the site, I quickly realised that by approaching the assessment in such a lackadaisical manner, I'd rather underestimated the volume of work involved.

After flicking through slide after informative slide, and watching all the accompanying videos, something resembling panic began to set in. There was rather a lot to learn and as always, I wanted to pass with a distinction rather than merely scrape by (I blame this often annoying compulsion on my parents).

With only a day or two to go before the scuba deadline looms, it has become clear that drastic action is called for. So I have reverted back to A Level/university student mode. And by that I mean: barely moving from my desk, pulling my hair back into a ponytail, choosing clothes for comfort rather than style, drinking coffee and tea by the bucketload and refusing to help with the washing up, because frankly I am just too busy.

However, in homage to those days gone by, I will be taking a short mid-afternoon break and tuning in to watch Neighbours. Wish me luck.