suzanneEntering my second year at Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach as a Biology and Pre-Veterinary major I need plenty of relaxation time. Since I parted ways with the skating world two years ago my school studies have still not quite taken over my life like I thought they would. Upon moving onto campus last fall, I left my skates at home thinking I would be okay without them. Much to my amazement after about a week, it seemed I was having separation anxiety from my skates. Within two weeks of moving to school I had my skates and found myself skating three times a week after classes. By the spring time I found myself with 3 devoted dance students and as the group dance instructor at the local rink.

As much as I would have loved to spend the summer time developing the dance program at the rink, my school studies took me to the rainforests of Trinidad and Tobago. For two weeks I traveled around the Northern, Central, and Southern mountain ranges and slept in a cabin with no electricity right on the shore of the Northern Coast, at Petit Tacaribe. My stay on the uninhabited shores in the rainforests of Trinidad was to begin the chapter of my life as a research biologist. While hiking the highest mountains in all three ranges, swimming in caves, swimming in waterfalls, studying in bat caves, viewing endangered Blue and Gold macaws making nests, hearing Red Howler and White Capuchin monkeys, helping Leatherback Sea Turtles lay their eggs and snorkeling in crystal clear water, I collected research on three different topics all based on the harvestmen (daddy long legs) species found in Trinidad.

Not to worry though, between writing lab reports, studying animals and catching some rays at the beach, my time is mostly spent at the rink. Luckily I have a few male skaters whom I get to dance with and take through tests so I’m not totally out of the skating world. I have found great pleasure in teaching upcoming dancers the knowledge I have gained through my skating years, and still participating in the annual Bay Area Ice Dance weekend in San Jose, California. I have enjoyed college but I do miss performing and competing, and all the friendships that are made. Good luck to all my friends out there still competing and good luck to all the upcoming skaters!!