This is the time of year when high school students are scrambling to get their college applications together, hoping to make it into their dream school. If you’re reading this blog post, you might be applying to a maritime academy. Many of our members here at Out2Sea.com are academy graduates, and you can learn from them by joining our network.
Trust us, the maritime academy route is totally worth it in the end. But while you’re here, we wanted to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Your first year at a maritime academy is usually the hardest
But don’t worry — it only gets better! You just need to survive the demanding physical training, frequent drills and team-building exercises designed to prepare you for the demands of academy life over the next four years.
You’ll have to tolerate training officers (usually upperclassmen not much older than you) barking orders to adjust your posture or clean some section of academy property. To make matters worse, you’ll have to report for training a week or two before classes even start. That means you’re going through drills and exercises while the rest of your friends are going school shopping and saying their final goodbyes to their high school classmates.
Throughout your first year, you’ll have to adjust to a regimented lifestyle on top of taking college-level courses. Some schools have special names for their freshmen. At Maine Maritime Academy, they’re referred to affectionately as MUGs.
You’ll learn to embrace the regiment
Ever worn a uniform before? If not, you will need to get used to wearing one. Most maritime academies require students to wear a uniform almost all the time while on school grounds. Getting caught without one is no laughing matter.
The regiment also demands a strict schedule. Forget the idea of going back to your dorm room and sleeping in between classes. Meals and class schedules are punctuated by daily regimental drills designed to teach discipline to future mariners. Most maritime academy students are involved in extracurriculars, which take up much of the afternoon
In the routine for cadets, nights and evenings are set aside for studying.
You’ll get to spend a semester (or more) at sea
One of the best parts of being a merchant mariner is the ability to see the world. Here at Out2Sea, we love to talk about the many exotic places we’ve traveled. You’ll get to do the same while attending a maritime academy. Except, your voyage might take place over the summer, while your friends are home relaxing. Of course, you’ll be seeing things they’ll probably never see in their lifetimes.
The world’s oceans will be your classroom during your semester at sea. Far from a walk in the park, you’ll be taught watch-keeping on deck and in the engine room. You’ll also learn a lot about safety and ship maintenance. Most maritime academies even have their own ship, which is used exclusively for cadet training.
Do you have a question about maritime academy life? Feel free to ask us on our forums!