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Orientation on Land vs. Orientation at Sea

Greetings from the Atlantic Ocean!

Stranded at sea with hundreds of miles from land in any direction, Cara and I finally accepted that we would not be returning to Duke this Fall. Our Semester at Sea 107-day adventure to 14 different countries has finally begun! As much as we’ll miss riding the bull at Wednesday Night Shooters, having dinner once (four times) a week at Sushi Love and being surrounded by thousands of other Cameron Crazies, we are so excited for the next 3 ½ months.

We can’t stay away from Duke life totally, though, so we will be writing a weekly installment from sea! Panic not – instead of just being a generic diary-style study abroad blog, we will do our best to tie it all back to ya’ll on campus.

At the time of writing this first article, “O-Week” is in full swing back on dry land in the Dirty D. We couldn’t help but notice, therefore, the similarities and differences between our own SAS Orientation on the ship and how we remember our first few weeks at Duke 2 years ago.

So, what are the similarities?

1.) First impressions are crucial. Be yourself and show everyone how much of an interesting person you are. All Duke students have a story to tell.

2.) It can be overwhelming. There are so many new faces to meet, and with that comes the daunting task of remembering so many names. Take a deep breathe.

3.) It’s acceptable to talk to complete strangers. How else are you going to meet people? See an empty spot at a table at the Marketplace? Grab it while you can!

4.) Information Overload. Orientation days can be long and monotonous, but they are crammed full with important information that you need to know. Stay hydrated!

5.) Wandering hallways. Those in your freshman dorm could well turn out to be your most loyal buddies throughout your college years and beyond! Make yourself known.

6.) Leaving class to Throw Up. Rough night last night? Whilst you may have drunk too much Natty Light, we’ve got seasickness to contend with.

7.) Icebreaker Overdose. Two Truths, 1 Lie is a definite favorite.

8.) Excessive but necessary excitement. Enough said.

And, how about the differences?

1.) Luxury Living. No more communal bathrooms for us! En Suite bathroom? Check.

2.) Diversity. Whilst Duke’s international edge could never quite be matched, we are the only two Devils onboard! It’s interesting to hear about life on other college campuses.

3.) Age of Students. SAS has a program for “Life Long Learners”, meaning there are people of all ages in the classroom. 82 year olds have some pretty cool stories.

4.) Living for the weekend? We don’t have weekends. Every day at sea is a class day!

5.) Communication. Forget asking for someone’s number, it’s all about email on the ship. Yes, that’s right. We have no cell phones, no Facebook and no Twitter. #weird

6.) Girl Power! It is a known fact that more women become Semester at Sea Voyagers than men. The ratio of women to men on this “voyage of discovery” is 3:1.

7.) Work Load. Most faculty members (if not all) sailed on SAS as a student so they go easy on us, knowing how busy we are both on the ship and when travelling in port.

8.) Cameron Crazie Population. We are severely numbered! GTHC, anyone?


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