Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cindy: Challenging assumptions

Even though I had a wonderful time being back on the water and sailing, I realized that I came to this trip with some assumptions about people and I learned how incorrect those could be. This revelation has been hard for me to come to because I have always thought that I am not judgmental about people.

While I learned a lot from the crew about sailing a tall ship, the most important thing I learned was about their personal stories. The crew of the Bounty all had their own stories but one common thread that I found was that many of them were either taking time off from college or before grad school or hadn’t gone directly from high school. I took a semester off to figure out my life and so I shared with them the decision to take time off. I was pleased and interested to learn that the crew and I had a shared experience of taking time off and in some respects we shared part of the same story. Everyone has their own reasons for doing things and as long as they are comfortable with these and as long as they can support their decisions, no one has any right to judge them or assume anything about their intellectual ability or their educational drive. The conversations I heard on all decks of the Bounty rivaled anything that I would hear in a college classroom and they reminded me that many smart people aren’t in college and many not so smart ones are. Now that I’m back in school I have realized that just because you go to college doesn’t mean that you are smarter (and better according to society) than those who don’t. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you make better decisions. Much of the time I envy the crew who are sailing and traveling and learning new skills while I am in school and not doing those things. Deep down, I want the crew of the Bounty to come here and show some of the girls at MHC what it means to be smart and not pretentious or stuck up about being a full time student.

As I look back at my time on the Bounty, I’m glad I was able to sail again and to have met such great people. I have learned something really important that I want to carry forward in terms of how I deal with people, and I learned it from the crew.