Exams have been taken, exams have been graded, grades have been turned in, bags have been packed and sent down to the holding area. This is happening. We are getting off the ship.
You would think that being done with classes and exams would make things slow down, but NOPE. After the students are done with exams the faculty busily work to grade the final exams and then calculate the grades. Our grades must be turned in 24 hours after the exams are taken and…here is the kicker…they must be turned in via the Internet. Wow, that doesn't seem like a great idea does it? Some professors didn't have any trouble but some of us were working at this for several hours. Oh well, what can you do.
One of the biggest events on the ship happens in the evening, after final exams are over. This is the Alumni Ball. This is a fine dining experience for every single person on the ship. You sign up for one of two dining times and pick your menu and who you want to sit with and then everyone gets dressed up and we have a fancy dinner and celebrate the fact that we are all alumni of Semester at Sea. After the dinner there is dancing in the Union. This is a great night for the students and the faculty.
The next morning we try to post our grades and finish packing. Then we have a commencement ceremony and that is when the tears begin. There are several speakers at the commencement. We had a life long learner, a faculty member and a student and they were all wonderful. I also sang "For Good" from Wicked with one of the Resident Directors, Emily. It was a really meaningful ceremony.
The evening after the commencement ceremony was so fun. Everyone was wandering around the ship handing out business cards, signing maps and t-shirts and hugging everyone they saw. Up in the faculty lounge we had a great party. There was no dancing at this party, no time for that, we just talked the night away. Everyone that had any wine or food or other drinks left over from the things they had purchased in port brought it all to the Glazer Lounge. Usually we are not allowed to bring our own drinks up to the lounge because we are suppose to purchase them from the ship, but the final night we are allowed to do that because our ship accounts are closed.
There was so much food and so many different drinks to choose from. We chatted and ate and drank until we couldn't hold our eyes open anymore and then headed home to our cabin. On the way back we noticed that there were a group of students sitting out on the deck in front of the lounge. They had all taken the comforters off of their beds and they were sitting in a nook outside talking and singing and playing their guitars. They told us they were going to treasure every moment and stay up all night until we got into Southampton. So sweet!
Tomorrow it all begins. We re-enter the real world. We are excited and we are dreading it too!