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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Countdown Begins

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo This is the final stretch! After spring break, there are only six weeks left of school. Everyone says that it will fly by and already we made it to the 20-day countdown. (Until finals, that is!) These last few weeks will not be easy, as classes are coming to an end and exams are piling up but they are the most important in the whole year. Finishing strong is the key… especially as 4/c. This is the time we have been waiting for since R-Day nine months ago. Carry-on! My company, Charlie, has earned back social media privileges by each member passing Boards. It’s really interesting to look up what our classmates were like through their old Facebook posts and my friends and I have found it even more interesting to look up the incoming swabs in the Class of 2019! We are trying to picture them calling us “ma’am” and “sir,” asking us questions, and treating us like we were not just in their position one summer ago! But first, we just need all of 2018 to pass Boards to earn carry-on as a class.

 

Once all that happens, it’s off to summer training which I could not be more excited for! First I will spend five weeks at Small Boat Station Port Aransas, Texas with one other 4/c, learning what life is like working as an enlisted member in the Coast Guard. Then I will travel back to the East Coast, to meet the Barque Eagle. I will be getting very familiar with Eagle during the six weeks we will spend sailing from New York, to Philadelphia, Bermuda, Maine, and Massachusetts! A year ago today, I never would have believed all that has happened this year, and what is in store for near future.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

The Skier

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Culp Photo As I shuffled my way back up to the rope tow that would drag me to the top of the hill at the base of the beautiful Alps, two words resounded in my head: this stinks. I had a pair of skis strapped to my feet for the first time during the Glee Club trip to Germany and could not for the life of me figure out why this sport is so popular here at the Academy. I was getting increasingly frustrated as the lesson went on and I was unable to successfully stop or turn on my left leg (yes, only my left). Then, eventually, everything began falling into place, and while I was far from being accomplished, I could at least make it down the hill without plowing over any children or the instructor in the process. That’s when it occurred to me – going through the Academy follows the same pattern as my ski lesson that morning. When you first sign up, it’s such an exciting opportunity! You get your gear and make plans for when you’ll report to the slopes, eagerly awaiting your training. Then, you finally meet up with your instructor and suddenly all that confidence you had goes away. Your skis feel awkward on your feet, you are tired from dragging yourself up that silly hill over and over and you fall. Constantly. And sometimes, you have to rely on someone to help you stand back up. Even after you’ve been taught the basics, you continue to have issues with actually executing the skills and keeping up with the people around you. You feel like you are falling farther and farther behind; then, things start to come together. You start figuring out where you are going wrong, and with patience, you fix those areas. Before you know it, you are zipping down that hill like you’ve been on those skis forever, and by golly, you might even be able to teach someone else the skills you’ve learned.

 

That’s pretty much the journey from Swab Summer to the school year in a nutshell. And frankly, a lot of it is tough. Chances are you’ll fall down MANY times, no matter how confident you are at the beginning, particularly during a grueling Swab Summer. It is then that your shipmates will pull you back up and that you will in turn lend them your hand when they fall. Then together, you will move on to the more advanced slopes, with even more turns and steeper hills, and even more chances to fall. The good thing about that is the increased number of opportunities to recover and learn.

 

As a rising 2/c, I am thrilled to be in the part of the ski story when I get to put those blasted mechanisms of gravity-related mockery on someone else’s feet and guide them down the slope. I only hope they don’t fall quite as often as I did over the summer! To the future cadets of the Academy, and especially to my swabs, the Class of 2019, I wish you the best of luck as you start gathering your gear for a long day in the snow.

 

More about Abby.

 

What’s Coming Up

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Second semester is an exciting time for cadets. As the snow melts and days grow longer, things start to come together in Chase Hall. We find out what we will be doing for our summer training programs: 1/c are given their billets, 2/c get their class rings, 3/c prepare to become cadre, and 4/c earn carry-on. On April 6, we will switch to our short-sleeve uniforms. It is a sign that we are close to the end of the school year.

 

This winter has been long and cold, so it is especially exciting to hear about our summer assignments. Each year, cadets have 11 weeks of training and three weeks of leave. Whereas the other summers include only one or two five to seven week training experiences, 2/c summer is composed of several one to three week training experiences.

 

The first week of my summer training, I will be going through 100th week. This marks my class being halfway through our time as cadets. Chiefs come up to the Academy from Cape May to act as our cadre, remind us of Swab Summer and train us to become cadre. After that, I’ll have three weeks of leave to go home and see my family. The next weeks are comprised of T-boat training, Rules of the Road, range week (shooting), and air station training, each for one week; coastal sail on the other hand is two weeks. At the end of the summer, I will serve as cadre for the Class of 2019. I will have one week of prep and then three weeks on Eagle. I requested to be Eagle cadre because I want the swabs to enjoy their first time sailing on America’s tall ship. I loved Eagle over Swab Summer. It gave me an appreciation of all the sailors who have come before me and the history and culture of sailing. I am looking forward to teaching others what I’ve learned.

 

Throughout the summer, I plan to update my blog with stories from each of these training programs. As always, if you have any questions, please email me at Sarah.R.Ritchie@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Fantastic April

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Another fantastic month has come and gone. It’s hard to believe with all of the schoolwork and military obligations that graduation is right around the corner. Only two and a half more weeks of school and we are in the final stretch to commencement. The feeling is just beginning to become real and a little scary. I don’t want to leave all of my amazing friends but I am also so excited and ready to head to my first ship. It is such a strange feeling and is very hard to explain.

 

Billet Night was an incredible night full of excitement and memories. I will be headed to CGC Legare, a 270-foot cutter home-ported in Portsmouth, Virginia! I am beyond excited to report aboard and be given the opportunity to carry out the missions of the Coast Guard. It will be a challenging two years full of learning but I am so ready to perform to my highest potential and serve this great organization well.

 

Another awesome event for the Class of 2015 this past month was Castle Dance. This is the 1/c formal held at a castle in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a very classy night with a lot of dancing and fun with my classmates. Additionally, it was nice to wear a dress and be able to have my hair down for this formal event.

 

Last weekend was Easter and a group of us went to my friend Carolyn’s house in upstate New York. Her family was so welcoming and made our Easter weekend so incredibly special. It is so nice to be able to get a home-cooked meal and feel like a part of a family when your own is so far away.

 

One of the things that I cherish most about the Academy is the lifelong friends and family you make in just four short years. I did not ever imagine myself being fortunate enough to be a part of so many families and it is so nice to have constant support from so many wonderful people.

 

I hope spring has sprung for many of you reading this and that warmer weather starts making its way up here soon.

 

More about Sara.

 

Aaand… We’re Back

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Unfortunately, I could not stay in Orlando forever. Universal Studios, the beach and Disney World had become my home away from home from my home away from home. (Try to figure that one out). And while I dearly miss the Florida sun, palm trees and Mickey and Minnie, the time to come back North had come. I guess all good things must come to an end but there are good things to come here, too.

 

We found out our 3/c summer assignments and I was lucky enough to be put on the first phase of Eagle, where we’ll make our way down to the Bahamas and end in Staten Island, New York. And it’ll only get better from there. Along with six other 4/c and two 2/c, I’ll be on the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, coming from Japan and making its way back to its home port, Seattle, Washington. Out of the nine of us going, four are bilingual. We have two Korean-speakers, a Japanese speaker and myself, speaking Mandarin. Being able to sail on completely different coasts and go overseas is something I never would have thought I’d be able to do so early on in my Coast Guard career. It’s going to be a good summer.

 

More about Olivia.