Soon we will be going home, after a total of 6 months on the sea during our 3 years at this school. So you may think that we have learned some sailing stuff here. But the truth is that, apart from just the sailing stuff, we have learned so much more than I ever thought I would. And the more you learn, the more understanding you get and the more fun it is.
One of the most common prejudice is that we just tag along and do not do the work. But in fact, it is our job to take the boat from place A to place B with help from the officers. And the more we learn the more independent and self-reliant we get.
We have learned everything from how to set and take down sails, how to control the boat, all of the different sails and lines and different ships and rig types. But it is not enough to know what everything is named and what they do, you do also have to know when to do it and why as well as everything combined.
But it is also so much more to sailing than this. We have also gotten to learn about navigation, winds, the sea, stars and so on.
Besides from these sailing related stuff, which is so much more than I can describe, we have also learned so much about ourselves in different situation, how we handle things and how we work together. Therefore I am now going to describe some different jobs onboard and what they have taught us as a person, instead of the job itself.
To begin with, just living on a boat and doing every normal thing, like eat, sleep, shower and so on, is so much different. You cannot place something on a table and leave it there because it will lay on the floor when you get back, and sometimes it will even fall out of your hands, you also have to hold on to the wall while showering and putting on a sock, you have to not use a regular chair since you will fly to the moon when a wave comes and also do not take too much water or food at the same time since it will tip over and you will have to choose the right side while going somewhere since a wrong decision can give you an unwelcomed shower.
Also studying is a lot different here. You learn to study while you are tired, after lack of sleep and a shift of working, and of course holding your computer if you do not want it on the floor. It is also a bit different since we do everything from sleeping, living, hanging out with friends, working and studying in the same place. Therefore it takes a lot of discipline, motivation and handle of distractions to get something done, and often a lot of candy.
While working in the kitchen you learn to work with many people in a small and warm place. You learn to be tidy, organized, foresight, fast, disciplined, effective and also good at planning since lack of planning will result in a very stressful situation. Also we get to see how it is to work in a bit special restaurant, how to serve and handle “customers”.
As a helmsman, outlook and lifebuoy guard you learn to be attentive, concentrated, disciplined and how to handle distractions and boredom. To climb in the rig you learn to have a safe thinking, to be brave, that you are stronger and can do more than you think. As working force you learn to work together, collaborate and communicate.
By looking at the whole picture, the sailing has thought me to be more independent and self-reliant. I know that I can do and learn more than I think. I have learned how I work with other people, how I handle stress and living close to other people without alone time. I have learned to handle different situations, how to navigate in a new country and area without phone, how to communicate with people from another part of the world without talking the same language. We get to learn so much about different people and culture and practicing languages.
I could go on forever. Because this experience has thought me more than I ever thought, more than I ever is going to realize and more than I can ever describe. Has this experience always been good? No. Has this experience been tough and hard? Yes. Has this experience been worth it thanks to all the memories, good times and everything else? Yes. If I could do it all over again I would do it without hesitation. Because this experience has thought me so much that I can use for the rest of my life. I have grown so much as a person, and I am so grateful for that.