When I came to Australia to study marine biology three years ago, I didn’t think about the career options after I graduate. But last year, when everything started to move to online mode, it makes me think about career options within marine science, and how can I increase my chances of getting my dream job. And because of that, I did an internship with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, volunteering with Humpback and High Rises and a work placement with the Australian River Institute. All these have two things in common. They are unpaid and experience.
Let’s just shortly explain what exactly I did. With an Australian Marine Conservation Society, I worked with a team that focuses on marine sanctuaries or more common name marine parks. My job consisted of literature search and find the keywords to use for their campaign to expand the no-take zones within those marine parks. For those, who don’t know what marine parks are, they are areas that protect ocean life from damaging fishing practices, climate change, and pollution. The Great Barrier Reef is an amazing example of what Marine Park is. However, there are zones within those parks, and in each zone, you are allowed do to certain things. The no-take zones are pretty much areas where nothing is allowed.
With Humpback and High Rises, I go on a boat and conduct a whale survey. Basically, it’s about recording a whale behavior and take some photos for identification. Pretty easy and straight forward and anyone can do it. So if you are an ocean lover, definitely check their website: https://www.hhr.org.au/ . And if you are not fan of boats, they do a land-based survey as well.
And as a last one, my work placement with the Australian River Institute, where I extract microplastics from a biosolid material. Doesn’t sounds that great like watching whales? I’m actually enjoying being in a lab, and it taught me lots of new skills. A bonus, I get the chance to discuss a topic for a potential honours project, that I would do with them.
As you can see, this may be unpaid work, but it gets you the opportunity to learn so many new skills that you can use in the future, and more importantly, you meet incredible people within the marine science industry that can help you once you graduate, or who knows, maybe you can do your honours or PhD degree for them. You never know, so if you have a chance to do something unpaid and you’re not sure of the outcome. Just do it, it may turn into something great and valuable.
Having a great grade is good, but having experience is important, because you never know where it can lead you, and maybe one day you can get your dream job thanks to unpaid work you did during your student years.