Blog post by Tobias • January 13, 2022

Well, here we are: another December, another lockdown. Our Christmas holiday started a week early to limit the spread of Omicron. Though this was pleasant because I suddenly had time off, it also was a bit of a disappointment, too. We missed out on the Christmas activities at school, as well as some biology experiments that we were going to do, which I hope we manage to find the time to catch up on. (I was really looking forward to dissecting a heart!) I used the time leftover to finish a Dutch language assignment early because I must make time later on for other group work.

My grades are better than they were last year, so that went as planned! However, I do need to sort out how I’m going to be dealing with my ADHD because I have struggled with it for the past few months. My main goal for 2022 is to pass my exams with grades that will make it possible for me to fly a helicopter in the Dutch Navy. There are a couple of ways in which I can accomplish this, but they all require good grades for mathematics, physics, and the Dutch language. While I am confident that I can achieve these grades, I will have to sort out my wellbeing too. My current medication (which I have been on for 10 years) is affecting my mood in a negative way. Combined with the global crisis we are going through, focusing on my grades can be difficult at times. I am talking to my GP and my mentor at school about this, but it will take some work to sort out, as it did when I joined School at Sea. In a way, it was easier then because there were fewer distractions.

Having said all of that, one thing that I am really pleased about is that in addition to being a member of the Participation Council at my local school, I now also represent the students at our school at the council meetings of the school consortium which consists of 14 secondary schools in the region. I am learning quite a lot about how decisions are made and how things work in different layers of an organisation. It is quite interesting, and I think being aware of how these processes work will help me to do impactful things in the future.

Speaking of my future, I went to an open day in Vlissingen, which is on the southern coast of the Netherlands, near Belgium, where my sister is. It would be great if I could go there next year if I cannot get into the pilot program for helicopter pilots. But I do not think that I would mind much. Of course, I would prefer to take the most direct route to my dreams but taking a detour would not be a terrible thing. The journey in itself would be great, and I am sure I will get where I want to be in the end. After all, that’s one of the things that Semester at Sea taught me.