Our students’ meetings – fun and chaos

Today it’s Saturday and after cleaning up our ship we, the students, have a regular event. It’s called students’ meeting and takes place every Saturday at sea. It gives us the chance to talk about issues that are important for us, for example organizing things like our Halloween party or painting a pier picture for the Azores, but also about more serious topics. That is very important for our community as we sometimes need time to talk together, aside from our usual fun conversations during the long days we have on our ship.

Now we’re sitting in our messroom and the first thing we do is to check if everyone is here. The students’ meetings aren’t mandatory for us, but we all want to use this opportunity, so everyone takes part. For the meetings we have two presenters that structure and manage the meetings. These presenters are students that we think are reliable because they also represent us students within the ship’s community, so it’s a great honour to be chosen as presenter.

In the beginning of our meeting today, Judith, our project manager, introduces new presentation topics for the next stage. After that she goes outside and we begin to distribute the topics among interested students. Two things you need to know here: first, the meetings takes place without the adults, as they are only for us students. Secondly, on our trip every one of us has to hold a presentation, one of 10 minutes and a longer one of 30 minutes, to inform everyone about interesting topics along our route, for example about natural phenomena like volcanoes, or information on the countries and cultures we visit. Now it’s getting loud, as two of the students want to present the same topic. Our solution is “rock-paper-scissors”, and the problem is more or less solved. Another of our tasks today is to create the new watch groups and reassign cabin members for the next stage. We do that every stage as we want to get to know all people aboard the Thor. Therefore we choose four to five people who want to plan the new cabins and watches. After they have created those plans, Judith checks them.

During the students’ meetings it’s loud and hot in the messroom, which can be a bit stressful since they usually take a long time, sometimes up to two hours. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to discuss with 33 other teenagers, when they all have another opinion. We’ve been discussing for 20 minutes about an unimportant topic. The question is: who will organize the colours for painting the pier picture in Horta. Someone is asking which colours we need, as if that would matter for the discussion right now… I am looking around and portside astern somebody is sleeping. More and more students start to notice that, too. One of us counts to three and then all of us shout the name of the sleeping person, who looks up confused and tired. Obviously, everybody else laughed a lot about this situation. 

I find the students’ meetings really helpful and interesting, not only because we need the meetings to plan parties and events like Christmas or Easter. It’s interesting because I see how the others discuss, what they think about certain topics and that it’s not always what I thought it would be.