• Mariah Harkey

Reflecting on 2018: Working with Semester at Sea

One of the best moments of my life was the last night on the ship with Semester at Sea.

I had been slaving away at the end of voyage video for hours and hours.


I wanted it to be perfect. Not even for myself, or for my boss, or for my shipmates families to drool over.

I wanted it to be perfect for the shipboard community that I just shared the best four months of my life with.

I wanted to not only create something that I loved, but I wanted to make sure everyone else would love it just as much, too.

I wanted it to be a testament to people who want to do semester at Sea, and I wanted it to be something that the community took pride in sharing.


After finally finishing the video, I premiered it to Kathy, one of the child caretakers on ship who was the first set of eyes to see my new pride and joy. I was scared. Excited. Nervous to show her. I knew she would love it, but I just had to see her reaction. To see if it moved her enough. And it did. It did!


I learned very early in the voyage that “If something moves you enough to make you emotional, whether that be through a moment, a place, a person, a thing; treasure that object. It moved you for a reason.


Just like the women I marveled over singing in South Africa, or learning about the word Ikigai and feeling moved enough to slap it on my wrist as my first tattoo. I wanted to create a video that did that - that moved others.


On the last night on ship, we started our last Pre Port playing my video. We dimmed the lights, turned up the volume, and it felt like a little cinema inside the Kaisersaal. And as I watched my video next to the hundreds of other eyes doing the same, I felt the most complete I’ve ever felt in my life.


I felt the power of this situation, moving me enough to tears. I bawled. I seriously broke into tears in front of 500 people on the stage. And why? Because after that video stopped, and the lights went on, and everyone gave a standing elevation, I was completely overwhelmed by the amazing support I received throughout this voyage.


I have never felt more complete, and more fully Mariah Ann Harkey, than in this moment.