A career path is more than just a road that leads to accomplishing future goals—it’s a journey of self-discovery and process of evolving personally and professionally. Sometimes this path takes a dive, but for Laurel Springs senior, Ellie Coleman, this is all part of the plan.
Traveling for Business and Pleasure
With a love for travel and passion for exploring, Ellie learned early on that a traditional education would not work with her wanderlust. A rising tennis star, her schedule required flexible hours for training and travel. This led to a trial year at Laurel Springs. While the shift to online learning was an adjustment, it certainly stuck, as she’s been a student here for the last seven years and plans on graduating in 2021.
While tennis fulfills her interests on solid ground, Marine Biology entices her to explore underwater worlds. It all started at age 11 with a family vacation to Hilton Head Island. “…It was the first time I had seen dolphins in their natural habitat. I was fascinated by them and wanted to know how I could work with these animals and many others. This is when I learned about marine biology and from there my interest soared.”
Then, when another travel opportunity arose to attend a marine biology camp in the British Virgin Islands, she dove right in. “We stayed on a sailboat learning to scuba dive and sail. We had marine biology lessons almost every day, which was great, but it was even better to then go underwater and see exactly what we were learning. This camp only furthered my fascination in the ocean.”
Riding the Wave
Combining Ellie’s interest in marine biology with the Laurel Springs Environmental Sciences pathway program, it was time to watch one student’s desire transform into a professional pearl. “Laurel Springs has helped foster this interest by providing classes to further my knowledge on the topic. Sophomore year, I took Honors Marine Science and absolutely loved it. It didn’t feel like real work because I was so captivated by the topic.”
The program is designed to set the student on the right course by offering classes they’re not only interested in, but that will ultimately help them reach their future career goals. “My counselor at Laurel Springs has been great with adjusting my academic plan so that it not only completes the requirements but also includes class[es] that interest me and keep me engaged.”
Not only is the Laurel Springs staff equipped to guide each student toward the right path, but knowledgeable teachers help them each step of the way. “[My] teacher has also played a large part in my development, as he is always there to answer questions or give advice. He has a great deal of knowledge on the topics I am interested in and is always excited to share it with me.”
Learning Outside of the Classroom
It’s like thinking outside of the box. Students are as unique as ideas, and it takes different ways of honing each mind in order for them to succeed. While it’s not always an easy lesson, there’s always learning along the way.
“[Laurel Springs has] taught me so many great life lessons as well as furthered my education. The biggest take away for me is the time management and self-dedication skills that I have developed. With the flexible scheduling that Laurel Springs offers comes a great responsibility to stay on track with your assignments and courses… I have found that there is a delicate balance in taking advantage of the flexible scheduling for my tennis and at the same time not slacking off and procrastinating until the end of the semester. I believe these takeaways will help me in college when there is not as much supervision and I must take the driver’s seat in my education.”
Speaking of college, Ellie is already on board. “After graduating next year, I will be attending Duke University, where I have verbally committed to play tennis and will pursue my interest in the sciences. I hope to take some classes at the campus [in the Beaufort, NC marine lab] and explore my love for the ocean and environment. I still have a great deal of time before I have to make any firm decisions on my future, so for now, I will enjoy learning more about my passion and see where it takes me.”