I loved college. I’ve dedicated many blog posts to reminiscing on my college days and the love I have for my alma mater (GO DAWGS!). College is kind of like a transition period between being a kid and becoming an adult. You move away from home and become responsible for things like doing your own laundry, feeding yourself, waking up on time for class and keeping up with your own social calendar.
While living on the ship, you feel like you’re set apart from the rest of the world because in a way, you kind of are. Depending on where you’re from, it’s likely that you’re not always plugged in and able to talk to your friends and family every day. Because of the changing work schedule, you can’t always catch your favorite TV show when it’s playing live. We don’t have newspapers, so you’re not always caught up on what’s going on in your country. Working on a cruise ship figuratively and literally sets you apart. That said, there are many parts about working on a cruise ship that remind me of life in college, which I love.
I actually got the idea for this blog post while I was doing my laundry. I was walking down the hall with my laundry basket and Tide Pod, and it struck me how similar it felt to when I was living in a college dorm. On the ship, we have a community laundry room, and sometimes it’s dog-eat-dog when it comes to getting a machine. Just like college, if someone is waiting to use a washing machine, they’ll take the clean laundry that belongs to someone else, put it in the dryer and start it for them. The same goes for the dryer, except they will put it on the laundry folding table. I’ve been pretty good about setting my timer, so I have yet to have either of those things happen to me. Yet being the operative word there. One advantage versus college is that doing your laundry is free on the ship, so no need to keep a stock of quarters!
When you’re in college, if you have a meal plan, you eat most, if not all, of your meals in the cafeteria. On the ship, all meals are eaten in either the staff or the crew mess, depending on which department you work in. The staff and crew messes definitely have a college cafeteria-like atmosphere to them, and just like when you’re in school, when you walk in, the first thing you do is check out what’s on the menu.
Living on a cruise ship is similar to living in a college dorm room. The rooms are small, and you have a bunk bed. Not surprisingly, my room on the ship is a lot smaller than the dorm room I stayed in during my freshman and sophomore years of college, but the idea is the same. One advantage is that my roommate and I share our own bathroom, unlike college where we had community bathrooms and showers.
When I first got to college, I was so excited about the cute little things that were left on my door. While I didn’t have anything on my door when I got on the ship because rooms are assigned and changed last minute, my roommate and I do have a small dry erase board on the door. At the beginning/end of each cruise, I like to write an inspirational message on it. It’s just a nice, friendly reminder to be happier, kinder, etc. throughout each day. It’s especially nice to read and come home to after a long day or night of working.
ALWAYS AROUND PEOPLE
One thing I really enjoyed about college is that campus is almost like a little town. You could go to the library, the quad, the caf, the bookstore, anywhere, and expect to find people. There was always someone new to meet, a new friend to make and someone to talk to (assuming they wanted to talk to you too).
While I do enjoy my alone time, one of my favorite parts about being on the ship is that it’s nearly impossible to ever feel lonely. One thing I was told by someone who used to work on a cruise ship is that your department becomes like your family, and that was quickly proven to be true for me. I enjoy everyone I work with, and almost all of us live on the same hall, so it’s nice to come home and chat with the people you didn’t get to work with that day. I love being around people, and working on a cruise ship means I’ll never have to feel alone.
Another thing I love about working on a cruise ship is that I don’t have to feel like a grown-up. Yes, I still pay bills, like my car note, student loans, etc. etc., but I also get to play games, sing silly songs and dance all day. Working on a moving vessel makes me feel like I’ve reverted back to my college days in that I put a pause on growing up, and I’m totally okay with it. Even though there are many things I miss about being back home, for now, I’m really loving this life.