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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

June 01, 2017

Stanford@SEA: Paradigm Shifts

Emma Gee, Stanford

Palmerston Atoll Reef Patches. Photo: Stanford@SEA

Our voyage so far has been filled with surreal experiences.  Jumping off the bowsprit into the open ocean and seeing only blue under your feet. Standing fifty feet aloft in the rigging, staring down over everything else. Watching whales surf the waves along our ship.  One of the strangest experiences I've had so far, though, hasn't been any sort of crazy ship shenanigan, but rather involves a certain Canadian TA named Andrew (who may alternatively be referred to as Princess, depending on your willingness to accept the name giving abilities of a six-year-old girl.  She named me Lovely, so I'd say she knows what she's doing).

Here are some facts about Andrew/Princess:  Andrew is a 29-year-old grad student in Dr. Dunbar's lab studying the Antarctic.  He is from Calgary but went to school in England.  He and I were both in Introduction to Physical Oceanography last quarter.  In that class, he would sit in the front row every single day and chat it up with the professor.  One of those people.

Here are some facts about me as they relate to Andrew:  I wrote Andrew off as an uptight know-it-all about a week into IPO.  When asked to describe him by a fellow student, my response was "the snippy one with the narrow face."

Over the past several weeks, I've come to see how wrong I was in my assessment of Andrew.  Not just wrong, but astoundingly wrong.  Andrew now sports a mohawk and a bro tank instead of pretentious side bangs and a quarter zip.  He holds nothing back when he sasses you.  He's friendly and funny and sometimes kind of resembles a wet noodle in his movements, and he is not at all the person I thought he was.  It's a weird feeling to realize the extent to which you are capable of misjudging a person.  It makes you think about how little you actually know about most of the people who pass through your life.  I very easily could have never seen Andrew again when the clock struck 11:30 on the IPO final, and he would forever be the snippy one with the narrow face in my mind. 

I don't have a great takeaway from this experience.  Obviously you can't go on a five-week-long voyage across the Pacific with every person you meet in order to figure out what you did and didn't get wrong about them from your initial assessment.  To some extent, you need to pass judgment on people in order to function in most social settings, so the moral of the story isn't to not judge people.  What I take away from having gotten to know Andrew better is the knowledge that people can surprise you much more than you realize.  Perhaps don't be so firm in your judgments of a person until you've filtered chlorophyll with them at 3 AM.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans, • Topics: stanford@sea  life at sea • (0) Comments
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