By Lauren Ball, a senior in the Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State University. Lauren is part of the science crew on the R/V Neil Armstrong, collecting data off of Cape Hatteras, NC.
One thing I was not expecting about this research cruise was the lack of a personal schedule. I am on watch from midnight to noon, meaning anything scheduled within that time period I am partly responsible for executing, but depending on the day there may not be anything that needs my attention. Other times, there are experiments scheduled for outside my shift time and I adjust accordingly to be able to work on those. While on a research cruise, you have a limited amount of time to get your list of tasks done, which means everyone works hard to accomplish the cruise goals.
As a student who has worked full or part time throughout my degree, lack of a daily schedule is a foreign concept to me. So I sleep when I can, and try to jump on any part of the itinerary that is possible for me to participate in. Dr. Zambon was right when he told me that I’d learn more on this cruise than I would if I had sat in a classroom the rest of the semester!