You’ve signed up to your eLearning and are all ready to get start your diving adventure. But how will you make the most of the course? There’s a lot to learn and there will surely be some challenges to overcome. And how do you ensure you remember everything you need to after you’ve taken the course?
Here are some ways to approach learning to dive:
Feel the frustration
It helps to be frustrated when learning new information. Only a bit though. Being completely lost and confused clearly isn’t helpful. But having a touch of frustration when you are trying to find answers and remember new information is useful. That tension tells your brain that this information it important, so it works on building the connections you need to hold onto that information for longer. If the information just slides past, washing over you, that incentive may not be there. So, when you study the theory, work at it.
Would you like to remember what you learned during your PADI Open Water course? Of course you do. But did you know that we forget most of what we learn?
If you learn to dive in a short time and then don’t do it again for months and months, you may find yourself on a boat trying to remember which way around to set up your kit, and possibly feeling slightly embarrassed! You can always ask for help, but what about the things you don’t know you’ve forgotten – how will you remember to ask? That’s often things like how to plan the dive, or how to respond to problems underwater.
So before you even start your course, ask yourself some questions: “Where can I dive again after the course?” “When will I use my new skills as a PADI Open Water diver?”
If you do find yourself out of the water for an extended period of time, however, there are always options to safely get back into diving.
Work at learning
No matter who you are, scuba diving can lead you to the most exciting and incredible experiences of your life. It can also be challenging. That’s a good thing. We need to be pushed if we want to grow. Follow the safety limits and seek the support of an instructor. Then work within those limits to get strong enough to go beyond them.
… and don’t beat yourself up
There could be some things you find difficult. That’s okay, because learning new things is hard, and I hope you make lots of mistakes. Sound harsh? Well I really mean it. I request all my students make plenty of mistakes (and I frequently throw in my own!).
Why? Because we learn much better when we have enough room to make some mistakes. When we are developing new skills, we need to be safe enough to fail. That way we gain a deeper understanding of the task and find out how to do it effectively in future.
You are there to learn something new, so it’s clear you do not know how it works yet. It’s very much expected that you won’t get things right first time. There are safety limits and you will start with the easy stuff. But don’t stop there …
You are excited to do the course and start your diving adventure, but that is just the beginning! If you really want to get the most out of your new hobby continue to learn. After the course, dive. Enjoy it, discover your interests and work out what else you want to learn. Take courses to help learn new skills and practice them. Most of all, just keep diving!
Dr Laura Walton is a Clinical Psychologist and PADI IDC Staff Instructor with a fascination for the psychology of diving. Visit scubapsyche to learn more about our behaviour as divers.