The following article was written by Sea|mester student Hannah Short, as seen in Sea|mester’s publication The Telltale
Life aboard Argo is unquestionably hectic.
Following the blog or reading the brochures may lead you to think that the average day is filled with sun, sea, and fun. While this is absolutely correct, there is also so much more that goes into a day on board. While sailing and scuba are two of the more obvious components of the Sea|mester program, the academics also take up a hefty portion. On top of our four academic classes, and the corresponding homework, we also have daily jobs, anchor watch responsibilities, and personal goals such as journaling or nailing a gainer off of the bow sprit. Before long, the day is filled beyond what is humanly possible to fit in. It’s all part of the experience – but it takes some time to acclimate.
An old sailor’s adage states that the needs of the boat come first, followed by the needs of your crew, followed by your own; This phrase still holds stock – when you’re at sea and it’s time for your watch team to man the decks at 2 a.m., you get up and go no matter how inviting your pillow is. It is because we are living communally that this dedication is so crucial; in order for boat life to run smoothly, it is essential that everyone plays their part.
In my experience what tends to happen is that grand plans are made to complete homework assignments early and to catch up on reading, but at the end of the day homework gets squeezed into pockets of free time where possible. This often involves an internal battle when it comes to bed time about whether or not going to sleep is worth the embarrassment of not having done the latest PSCT reading.
It’s especially hard for those who don’t feel well underway, a category I grudgingly class myself under. Many of these students find it difficult because doing homework while sailing is pretty much impossible lest you want to revisit your last meal. Dock life is easier because we don’t have watch teams, and therefore don’t have to get up at all hours of the night – but then it becomes a matter of juggling social time with valuable internet access with homework with actually seeing the country. Dilemma! Everyone has their own system of dealing with the load, whether having everything planned or simply going-with-the-flow. Essentially what matters most is that we have a good time.