SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
August 04, 2015
Reflections from a Deckhand
36° 21.0’ N x 7° 06.1’ W
Description of location
West of Cadíz
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Clear skies and a light northerly breeze, sailing under the 4 lowers and the JT
Dear Shore & Co.:
This evening marks the end of our last full day at sea together. Sitting here in the library, the last month seems like the blink of an eye, but when I focus a bit more, I realize how full every day has been. Port arrivals and departures, cities to explore, science deployments, constant learning, supportive camaraderie, and plenty of filling meals along the way have kept every last one of us busy.
But that’s the surface of the trip. Our students are not the same people who stepped aboard in early July. They have met fatigue, exhilaration, and interdependence in ways most of them may never have before, and I hope they each take away at least one pivotal lesson from their time aboard. For me, I know that I need to learn from a mistake every day, because not a day has gone by when no one offered a better solution or I never made an error. As a deckhand, I feel like that is a good way to be a role model, because no matter how much our students learned on this trip, there is so much more to learn about everything they could have possibly encountered in the last few weeks. Not only is there more to learn, but if they remain open to the learning process, feedback, and lessons along the way, the students of C-261 will have gained a tremendous skill that I have found lacking in so many places, but that is absolutely critical to our endeavors.
I have been told masters programs for institutional organization theory commonly teach that Millennials cannot handle failure. At the time, this stunned me, but I cannot deny how many of my generation, and myself at times, have struggled with failure. The final days at sea aboard the Cramer, the professional crew have turned more and more responsibilities over to our students with the expectation to run the watches. All in all, the watches have run smoothly, and everyone aboard is in good spirits. These responsibilities, however, are not easy tasks for a new cadet with less than a month of sea time, and each students make their own mistakes. Their responses to those errors and the responses of their watch mates suggest that these are young men and women who can handle failure and who can support one another as these challenges arise, and I want to applaud them for that.
In celebration of our successes and our errors, joys and challenges, we will gather on the quarterdeck this evening at sundown (approx. 2130 local time, GMT +1:00) and share sweet, cold drinks in the warm breeze together, as our whole ship’s company. I am so grateful for the opportunity to sail aboard the Cramer for a second time and for the privilege of having such fine shipmates.
Do good things,