Celine Yam ’21
I was unfamiliar with the concept of being a Hamilton "Jan" before becoming one myself. I visited Hamilton the summer before my senior year of high school and immediately saw myself as a student there. Upon opening my acceptance letter, I was intrigued at the idea of coming to Hamilton in January, but I had so many questions. It took me a while to understand what January admission meant, but when I finally understood it, I found it to be more than ideal for me!
Once committed as a "Jan," I chose to participate in the Hamilton Sea Education Association program, SEA Semester. I was so excited to embark on a journey of a lifetime; I was ecstatic to be spending half a semester in Woods Hole, and the other half on the Atlantic Ocean!
My time with SEA semester was beyond phenomenal. There was so much to learn, in so little time. The first six weeks spent in Woods Hole were filled with classes, field trips, trips into town, and visits to the beach. As the weather got cooler, my friends and I got more and more excited to finally sail away from land. We were ready to disconnect from the world and put everything we had learned – celestial navigation, rules of the road, shooting sunlines – to good and practical use, while finally starting our research projects.
Before long, all seasickness was forgotten about and our ship, the Corwith Cramer, became our home. Class at sea was quite different and there were many ways to spend our time not on watch. There was much to look forward to at all hours of the day. At some points, sleep fell off my list of priorities. Every day there was a guaranteed sunrise, sunset, and moonrise. I fell in love with the ocean, the stars, and maps, and I found a new appreciation for navigators, sunrises, and dawn watch. Most significantly, I got to know my classmates who turned into shipmates and family.
Returning to Hamilton was bittersweet for me. On one hand I was sad that my adventures on the Atlantic were coming to a quick end, but I was also very excited to arrive on campus. I was able to reconnect with the friends I made during orientation and make new ones. I became involved in club Nordic skiing, the running club, and the rowing team. I was excited to meet my professors and engage in all my classes.
Initially I was worried about returning to campus and making friends. However, my experience proved otherwise. When I introduced myself as a "Jan," I always got positive responses and everyone on campus seemed so excited to learn about my first semester abroad!
My "Jan" experience was more than just an adventure, it provided me with an opportunity to explore my interests and grow into a more independent person. I am so glad I was able to have the opportunity to be a "Jan," and I am confident that my experience will continue to teach me new lessons throughout my life. I would not trade the "Jan" experience for anything!