I vividly remember the night of the interviews for the scholarship - it was one of the most nerve-racking of my life! After meeting both Chloe and George, I knew that it was going to be a tough night for all of us! When we had all been introduced and Jo had given the initial talks, it was time for the interviews.
As I was being interviewed by Jo and Pete, from Immerse School of Diving, about what could happen over the next year regarding diving, along with my history in the water and what I found interesting about scuba diving, I was almost sure that I would love it when I finally got in the water! Learning about the different courses I could take and hobbies I could pursue underwater, photography, videography etc., really surprised me and only made my interest grow!
My next interview was with Steve Williams; he mostly questioned me about my reasons for applying for the scholarship, what I would gain from the experience and a lot about me, and my personal goals and achievements. One of my personal favourite questions being, 'If you could do anything, no matter how impossible it was, what would it be?'. To say I found it a challenge would be an understatement!
My final interview of the night was with Richard Langton, chairman of the Trust. Richard's main focus was how I would be able to raise both funds for and awareness about the Georgia Williams Trust.
When this had finished, and after a safety briefing and outline of what we would be doing, it was finally time to get in the pool! This was personally my favourite part of the night!
In this taster session led by Divemaster Pete, the three of us learnt some basics including the correct breathing techniques, clearing our masks underwater and swimming with our scuba units. This experience is one that I will never forget, as being able to breathe underwater for the first time is truly exhilarating!
After an excruciating two week wait, it was finally time to find out who had won! I know that it is a cliché thing to say, but I truly did not know who was going to get the scholarship, as I could not put me, Chloe and George apart! Seeing everybody that had come to see the revelation, it finally sunk it how important this event was, along with how publicised it would be; it was incredibly overwhelming - especially for someone who hates having their photo taken!
When Steve and Lynette Williams revealed that me, Chloe and George would be given the chance do the PADI Open Water Diver course together, despite who was awarded the scholarship, I think I speak for all three of us when I say that we were all immensely pleased, especially as we had all bonded so well!
The best moment of the night, however, was when I was awarded the scholarship. I was absolutely astounded and could not believe that I had been chosen - I still can't! When I stood up I thought I was going to have to sit down again because I was shaking so much! It was an amazing feeling, and one that I'll never forget!
Two weeks later and it was finally time to start diving; two chapters down in a book that at times felt heavier than me and I was ready! Setting up my scuba equipment for the first time was an experience to say the least; with rings and valves and straps and releases, I felt as if I couldn't tell left from right at some points! I felt heavy and awkward in my gear, stumbling about and trying not to either fall over, or buckle under the weight, however, this was all forgotten when I dived into the water. Breathing under water is still a sensation that I'm not quite used to! The time underwater went far too quickly for my liking and before I knew it, it was time to get out!
I think that during this next week I drove my parents mental waiting for the next session to roll around - all I wanted to talk about was diving this and diving that!
During the next session, putting together and wearing my gear felt more natural and I didn't feel as overwhelmed as I had previously; each time this feeling only decreases and I'm getting more and more to grip with handling my scuba unit. Every time I dive I feel less and less clumsy in the water, and I'm slowly picking up the underwater sign language!
I'm absolutely loving every minute of learning to become a diver, and it's an opportunity that without The Georgia Williams Trust, I wouldn't be able to experience. I can't quite believe that I have my first open water dive in a few days, a prospect that I find incredibly exciting and scary at the same time! Being able to do it all with George and Chloe as well has only improved my experience!
I truly can't thank everyone at Immerse School of Diving and The Georgia Williams Trust enough, as they are some amazing people!
Lois Adams x
Lois is the 2014 Georgia Williams Diving Scholar, and is just finishing the theory and pool work of her PADI Open Water course before heading out into open water for the first time. Lois will continue to post updates on her experiences as the Scholarship continues, so keep your eyes peeled for her blog posts.
The Georgia Wiliams Diving Scholarship is funded by The Georgia Williams Trust and Immerse School of Diving, supported by BBC adventurer Monty Halls, and sponsored by Otter Watersports Drysuits. It is an opportunity for one young person a year to larn to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver, the highest PADI recreationl diving qualification, with Immerse School of Diving in Telford. Want to learn more about The Georgia Williams Diving Scholarship? Check out our website page for further information on our work for The Georgia Williams Trust.