Always announced last during roll call, Cindy Zomchek’s bubbly, infectious personality will prove that she is most definitely not least. A Wisconsin native, and serious Packers fan, Cindy Z can always been found around the MV Explorer wearing her Green Bay Packers lanyard ‚Äì and on special occasion, her inflatable cheesehead. Sailing with the Spring 2015 semester, this marks Cindy‚Äôs eighth voyage with Semester at Sea. Never having sailed as a student, Cindy‚Äôs very first voyage was in 1986 as a Resident Director. She went on to sail as the Director of Student¬†Life/Dean of Students in 1993,¬†2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2010. Cindy currently has taken on a new role, and is sailing on the current voyage as the Lifelong Learner Coordinator.
Over the past 29 years, there‚Äôs no hesitation that there have been some changes to the Semester at Sea organization. Cindy explained, ‚ÄúThe program has changed to accommodate technology, and to accommodate what college students now find important and to match their priorities.‚Äù Even more, she continued, ‚ÄúThe management of the program has changed, but the essential qualities of the program and the integrity of the program have remained the same. The exact same energy exists today, as it did in 1986‚Äù
No doubt, Cindy has continued to progress as well. Changing roles, to the Lifelong Learner Coordinator, she is enthusiastic, ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs not a job onboard that wouldn‚Äôt be amazing‚Äù. She then explained the motivation for the Lifelong Learners on the current voyage, ‚ÄúA lot of these individuals are coming and taking a break from whatever they have been doing for their careers. They have worked extremely hard in a wide variety of diverse areas and this is a chance for them to get back and do something they haven‚Äôt been able to do or to connect back to some of the things they are really passionate about.‚Äù With lifelong learners that vary in a wide degree concerning age, race, occupation, and incentive, Cindy said, ‚ÄúI think we are probably all lifelong learners in a way‚Äù.
Full of wisdom and advice, Cindy Z. is what one might call a Semester at Sea expert. Consequently, she is no stranger to getting asked for guidance. Her advice to the students on the current voyage is, ‚Äúwhenever you feel like you want to connect with somebody at home‚Äîeither via text or phone‚Äîchallenge yourself to go meet somebody new‚Äîand you‚Äôll never regret meeting that new person or those new people‚Äù. She continued, by expressing the joy of having faculty, staff and lifelong learners onboard the ship as well, ‚ÄúJust know that there are other people out there that are waiting to be a new adopted adult in your life, a new best friend.‚Äù
Semester as Sea has forever left a mark on Cindy‚Äôs life, ‚ÄúMy worst day on the ship is generally better than my best day anywhere else.‚Äù She emphasizes that the experiences that come from this around-the-world voyage are unforgettable, ‚ÄúNot one day in my life has gone by without having thought about SAS since 1986‚Äù.
All photos by Evan Meyer