She waddled hurriedly to her class waiting patiently in the constant sun. The snow lay thickly on the ground in Antarctica. The students were meeting for the first time and were chattering excitedly with each other.
“Hi! My sister knows your sister.”
“Yes, I saw you when you were a baby. We played for some time too.”
“I’ve met this instructor when she visited my colony. I’m looking forward to learning how to swim.”
“I’m feeling nervous about trying to swim. Are you feeling nervous?”
“Yes, I’m feeling nervous. I’ve seen the older ones in our colony jump into the water, and I really want to join them.”
“I’ve been practicing snow swimming but would love to get into the water now.”
“Girls, girls, stop babbling. I’m here now. Welcome to the Starter course. We must make the most of the sunshine in the next month. So, learn quickly and enjoy ocean swimming in the sun.”
“Miss, miss, my friend wanted to join, but she has a question. In her family, everyone learnt swimming on their own. How will this class help her?”
“Sure, any penguin can learn to swim. But with a class, it’s faster, and I’ll show you how to do everything in the best way. There are so many techniques to learn. We learn fishing in the Intermediate course and long-haul swims in the Advanced course. We have other instructors too, to help you with different aspects. “
The little penguins clapped their flippers and eagerly followed their instructor to the shallow pools.
“Now gather at this end. I will show you a few things and you can come and practice on your own here every day till our class next week.”
They watched as she paddled into the pool. It seemed so easy and so much fun! They saw the others without instructors, flapping and learning on their own. Some were quick and were already diving into the waves. Some didn’t see the waves coming and ran back screaming when the waves washed over their feet. They followed their instructor and safely figured out wave-bobbing and flipper-ing.
“You are all so good! Hurray! Next class, we will do some diving here. And then, cliff-jumping.”
“AAAAAAH!! I’m scared of cliff jumping. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Of course, you can. All penguins do. You’ll see.”
Over the next few weeks, they worked and practiced and swam and laughed with glee at small successes. They splashed a lot and were not as graceful as their parents, but they could manage to get by. The instructor led them to deeper and deeper pools and gave them lots of tips on breathing, moving their flippers to swim and making judgments about the ocean levels. The agile penguins learned quickly and bonded together as they learned. They helped each other our when the other floundered.
“I think you’re ready. Today, let’s walk up the cliff. We’re going to jump off it and into the ocean.”
“NOOOOOO! How do we jump? Suppose we fall?”
“You won’t fall. You fly in the air with your flippers and continue flying in water when you reach the ocean.”
Put that way, it sounded easier. Yet, they stared at each other doubtfully and shuffled their feet.
“Remember, millions of penguins have done it before you. It’s a breeze. Come on now. Line up. And once you’re in the ocean, stay together. You must swim together as a team. You will support each other, and later, learn to hunt together. Your success depends upon it.”
They nodded solemnly as they stood in a line, still hesitant about the actual jump.
The first chick was startled but jumped obediently.
The others scurried behind her and jumped without thinking too much. They were sailing in the air with a delighted smile on their faces. They landed on the water and continued smoothly fly-swimming through it. As they swam away into the distance, the instructor looked at them proudly. She turned away and walked back. They would be back in the next class to learn fishing, but for now, her job was done.
I’m tremendously excited to share with you that the First Cohort of the Blogging for Success – Starter Course (https://garden-of-neuro.mn.co/courses/4527593?utm_source=manual) has now graduated with flying blogs. You can see their beautiful faces in the picture, and I request everyone to follow their freshly minted and fabulous blogs:
I need say no more. The proof is in the reading. I will now hereby cease mangling metaphors. For I am an honourable woman. Here’s what they say:
“I would like to acknowledge Sandhya Ranganathan and the Garden of Neuro ‘Blogging for Success’ course. Thanks, Priya for your encouragement.” – Reena Bhatnagar
“Thanks to Sandhya’s Blogging for Success Course with the Garden of Neuro, I got the push I needed to make this happen.” – Priya R
“Finally, my first blog’s up! Thanks Sandhya for pushing me to make it happen with your Blogging for Success Course!” – Savita Thakur
If you’d like to follow the blogs of the instructors, here are our links:
Sandhya Ranganathan: https://varnikadotorg.wordpress.com/
Susan Brearley: https://medium.com/@susanbrearley
Nanci Arvizu: https://www.nanciwrites.com/
This cohort worked in sync with weekly Zoom sessions, but the course is also available asynchronously for those who wish to do it at their pace. You can now sign up for the next cohort of the Starter course or sign up in combination with Intermediate and Advanced courses, which will be launched later this year. If you have an existing blog, you can also sign up directly for the Intermediate course to be launched next month.