As I approached my senior year, I noticed I was seriously lacking the experience I wanted to have before entering the working world. I researched a lot of CI teams, interviewed with a few, but I found myself sparked with excitement at the thought of joining the Conservation of Marine Resources team. Not only would I be able to work under someone as passionate, knowledgeable, and fun as Dr. Childress, but I felt a deep connection to what the CI research stood for. It was real world research that was searching for patterns, and hopefully answers, on how to conserve the rich and magnificent world of our oceans. This lab offered me mulit-project experience and even field work in the Florida Keys! It has also allowed me to get my feet wet, literally, with hands on animal care. While apart of this lab, we have explored all sides of research! We have read and analyzed similar research papers and even attended conferences such as SEEC (Southeastern Ecology Conference). This lab has allowed us to evaluate our own teams’ research, produce posters, and also present our findings to public audiences. From beginning to end, this lab prepared me for what it takes to be a part of scientific research. But despite how amazing the lab was at exposing me to the real world of research, the best thing this lab gave to me was a family. Dr. Childress, Daniel, Kelan, Ash, Kylie, Lauren, Jac, Taylor, and Randi are not just my lab mates but have become like a second family. I have not attended one meeting where there wasn’t some hysterical laughter or special moment. This lab is the best of both worlds. It combines cold hard science with a warm and friendly atmosphere. Joining this team has opened up so many opportunities and revealed new and possible paths to take in my future. As I get ready to walk across the stage at Littlejohn, I know that joining this team was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career. For some of you out there, this Creative Inquiry is just an unopened door, an unlocked opportunity to make the most out of your Clemson experience. My advice to all of you, is to open that door. You won’t regret it.