Interview: Jorien on her year as Sea Ranger
On July 6, 2017, Jorien van Schie signed up for a Sea Ranger Bootcamp info meeting. Two years later she leaves the first class of Sea Rangers to get her masters degree in Marine Biology. We look back with her on her experiences.
Do you remember how you first heard about the Sea Ranger Service?
“I certainly do! I was on the train to school. At the time I studied HBO Applied Biology and read in the newsletter from Stichting De Noordzee that the Sea Ranger Bootcamp was organized. And I thought: I want to do that after school!”
You signed up for an info evening in Utrecht and registered for the bootcamp. What was the main reason for doing that?
“Well, I always had the ambition to do something with marine conservation. But that is quite a weird business. Few vacancies, certainly in the Netherlands, a lot of volunteer work or jobs that are filled locally abroad. Or you spend days in laboratories writing reports, that’s not really something for me either. You are Sea Ranger in the Netherlands, it is adventurous, you are outside .. So for me ideal to start with.”
How do you look back at the bootcamp now?
“The bootcamp was really nice. A lot of new people, a lot of learning, being outside, also outside my comfort zone. Actually it was really a bubble, as if you lived on another continent for five weeks. Only later did I realize that it was a good fit for my year as a Sea Ranger. The bootcamp was all about sports. During our sailing training after the bootcamp that disappeared a bit, but later it came back in the working weeks.”
You were selected as Sea Ranger, what was your first reaction?
“Wietse called me and that was a bit of a weird conversation. He started by saying that I had to be aware of how my – sometimes somewhat dominant – behavior comes across in a group. Only then did he say that I would be welcome to join the Sea Rangers. Did I expect to be selected? Yes and no. Yes, because I was a very good match for what the Sea Ranger Service wants to do. And no, because of course I really didn’t know if I would fit in the Sea Rangers team that was put together.”
You have been a Sea Ranger for a year, how do you look back on it?
“With a very good feeling. I learned a lot, especially about sailing. Met many new people, made friends and get to know maritime companies. But I mainly learned important lessons about myself in my time with the Sea Rangers. In particular how I come across to others. How others look at me in a team, how reflectively that works. Before that I wasn’t very much aware of the impact your behaviour has on a team. Even think that I have become milder, more environmentally conscious!”
What has been the highlight of your year as Sea Rangers?
“Yet the summer we learned to sail. Every day was different, we learned new things every day. And the team that wasn’t there at all developed very quickly, that was a very special experience. There were days when it didn’t work out at all, but the next day we worked very well together again. Really a wonderful time!”
If you could go back two years in time, would you make the same choices?
“Sure! Although I have left the Sea Rangers, I have a lot of confidence that things will work out well and that the organization will continue to develop for a long time. But that development just no longer matched my timeline and my ambitions in marine conservation. But I had wanted to do nothing else than what I did.”
If you were running the Sea Ranger Service for a day, what would you change?
“Haha, well I wouldn’t want to be Wietse at all, is that also allowed? He is so busy looking ahead, the goals for the coming years and the bigger picture .. I would like to be more involved with the team now, the Sea Rangers that are working on the mission now. And I think I would ensure that their knowledge is not lost as soon as a new class enters the organization. How do they call that? Don’t throw away old shoes before you have new ones or something?”
Which people would you recommend to sign up for the next boot camp?
“Real doers. People who are ready for a unique adventure at sea. Without seasickness then, haha. And doers who want to be part of an organization that can really change something in the world. So doers for the adventure or for the mission. And they must be real team players, have reflectivity and want to be outside – in the summer and in the winter.”
What are you going to do now and to what extent has that choice been inspired by the past year?
“The coming year I will still work in the restaurant where I work to save money. With breaks to take diving courses and volunteering in marine conservation. And then in September 2020 I will start my masters in Marine Miology in Wageningen. After college I thought that my hunger to learn was satisfied but as Sea Ranger I realized that I was still too eager to learn. I want to develop even further and will start learning again!”
Everyone at the Sea Ranger Service wishes Jorien the very best continuing her maritime career!