An important experience for me, in which I learnt a great deal, was going on the school sailing trip when I was fourteen. Six days in the English Channel on a 75ft yacht seemed a daunting prospect at first, but I wanted to take up the challenge. I set sail from Southampton on Monday morning with eight other school friends and the boat’s crew; our first destination was the Isle of Wight. The first and most important thing we learned was how to move safely around the boat, both on deck and below. This included the importance of wearing our lifejackets, what to do in an emergency and the dangers of being out on water. I felt apprehensive at this point because we knew how many things could potentially go wrong, but I also knew that we were in safe hands with the rest of the crew.
As we sailed towards the Isle of Wight, we began to get to grips with the boat and started to learn the important skills needed to sail. These included tacking and gybing manoeuvres, navigating and steering the boat. I really enjoyed learning these new skills, as I was able to apply the theory straight away, and got to practice with hands-on experience. Working well as a team was crucial in making sure that the jobs were done quickly and successfully, and I liked having the opportunity to get to know the crew and my schoolmates better.
Throughout the six-day trip, I learned how to be more independent and reliant on myself, as well as how to successfully manage responsibility within the team. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I appreciate the skills I learned and practised on the boat and as part of the team.
Louise R. Rysiecki studies Business Management at Southampton Business School. The views in this article are those of the author. This article is part of our ‘How I Learn’ series.