Starting out in marine careers

What I wish I’d known on my first day of college.

Right across the country around now impressionable, excited, young people are making the first step on the journey that’s the rest of their life, their first day at college.

School is behind them and adulthood now beckons, they’ve chosen their career path and college is the first step on that road. It’ll lead to new friends, romances, late nights, anxiety, confidence, opportunity, laughter, and for some success, for others failure.  Oh, to be young again!

So as the 2013 maritime trainees begin their voyage we asked some ‘old hands’ a simple question; ‘what do you wish you’d known on your first day at college?’. Here are their top ten pearls of wit and wisdom.

  1.  ‘I wish I had known how important all course work was rather than concentrating on the parts I enjoyed most’.

    A recurring theme this one and a great tip. There are some things you are just better at than others, that’s the case in all walks of life. However everything is being taught for a reason, and no matter how difficult or boring you find it, try and take it in. Enjoy the subjects you naturally excel at but make it your business to try and master the other subjects too, because you’ll need them in the future and you’ll be grateful for the time you invested in them when you had the opportunity.

  2. ‘I needed to be self-disciplined, I wasn’t at school now.’

    You might still be in a learning environment, still sitting in a classroom but you are most definitely not at school now. It’s up to you to keep up, to listen, to ask if you don’t understand and to put the time and effort in. No one else is going to do it for you. That’s what being an adult is all about.

  3. ‘That I get seasick.’

    A popular piece of advice and our favourite! You’ve signed up for a career at sea, well chances are you might get seasick at some point, so go find all the seasickness remedies you can and have them handy should that day ever arrive. The good news is you are not alone; almost everyone who works at sea goes through this at some point.

  4. ‘That it was an HB2 pencil I needed.’

    Know the tools you’ll need to master your trade. If you don’t know make it your business to find out. Be it for college, work or your time at sea, make sure you know well in advance what’s supplied and what you need to source, don’t wait until the last minute and don’t expect someone else to do it for you.

  5. ‘I can pass this because I’m a smart guy’.

    Self-confidence: the quality that’s so elusive to so many at school. Here’s the thing, you passed your exams, you gained entry to this course, many others didn’t and lots of people out there are envious of you. Don’t be cocky but understand that you wouldn’t have been accepted onto the course if some very smart people didn’t think you had what it takes to make it. You are more than capable of achieving the grade, it just takes some hard work and application.

  6. ‘How much knowledge of Maths I would need! I didn’t pay that much attention at school and the majority of the navigation and stability subjects are maths based so I had a lot of hard work to do.’

    Yip, for those of you who wondered what the point of Maths was in real life you are about to find out. But here’s the thing, you can master it, you wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case.

  7. ‘What going to sea is actually like. It’s hard work and continual learning when you are on board, it can be difficult, but you’ve just got to get stuck in.’

    This is the real jump. College feels like a logical progression from school, but time at sea is different; it’s work. The environment is different, the attitude is different and the conditions are different. It’s also the reason why you are here in the first place, this is your chosen career and it’s a great industry, but be prepared for it.

  8. ‘I wish I’d realised that technology would change so much.’

    A great tip. What you learn today will always be valuable, but how you use it will change. Technology advances, do your best to keep up with it because it won’t wait for you.

  9. ‘Enjoy yourself, just not too much!’

    Your college years are great, you’ll make new friends, visit new places and experience new things, that’s important. You’ll also socialise, a lot. There will be parties, evenings out, weekends away and impromptu events you’ll always remember. Embrace them because they are an important part of being young and of college life. However, find the balance, don’t let your social life become your whole life.

  10. ‘Don’t be afraid to take notes and ask questions.’

    Simple, yes? Yet so many students find this difficult, speaking up in front of their peer group seems to terrify some. Remember, the onus is on you to learn, there will be some things you’ll not fully understand first time, don’t be afraid, the lecturers welcome questions and want to help you.  Asking a question means you’re smart, not the opposite.


Article provided by Clyde Marine Training