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cadet blogs

Time is Flying

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering) Permanent link
Dow Photo I have blinked and it is already March of my junior year! If there’s one thing that happens at the Academy, it’s that time flies. The days may be slow, but the weeks fly by. So much goes on here that it is hard to keep track of it all… you are so busy working on homework and division work, you don’t even realize it is already spring break!

 

My classes this semester are so different but still provide very useful knowledge that I will have to use next year as my capstone project. This final senior project is a culmination of everything we have learned and more. I am currently taking Ship Structures, Heat Transfer, Advanced Engineering Math, Criminal Justice and Marine Engineering.

 

The Academy also allows for cadets to try new things, and has many chances to do so. One option is the Service Marksmanship Team, which is a club that meets twice a week and does the fundamentals of shooting, without the commitment of a Varsity Division I sport (the other option for cadets for shooting). I have learned so much, and having been surrounded by some of the greatest people at the Academy who want to assist. The experience is so humbling and great.

 

The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department also has many opportunities for us to learn about life in the fleet, and applications to what we have been learning in the classroom. We got the chance to tour the Pratt and Whitney facility where they manufacture turbine engines. This trip demonstrated the connection between the real world with what we have learned in Thermodynamics last semester and also Marine Engineering. They also held a Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers meeting onboard the Academy at the O ’Club. We were able to meet Nav Arch professors at the Maine and Massachusetts Maritime Academies, students at the Webb Institute as well as others who are in the Nav Arch profession. It was wonderful to meet others who are successful in their jobs and have a passion for their work.

 

I can’t wait to find out our summer assignments and what the future has is in store for me!

 

More about Emily.

 

Eclipse Week 2017 at the Coast Guard Academy

(Just for Fun, Life as a Junior Officer) Permanent link
Andreasen Photo I recently did something that would have surprised my 4/c self, I jumped at the opportunity to spend an entire week back at the Coast Guard Academy. Why, you ask? Eclipse Week. Every year the Academy hosts an entire week of events aimed at inclusion and diversity and every year cadets are exposed to various topics, discussions, people and, in short, a world they may have never previously seen or known. In reality, cadets are not the only members invited to attend the festivities; Eclipse Week is open to faculty, staff, and officers from all over. I spent the week reconnecting with former cadets and friends as well as instructors and staff who have become friends. Of course, I also spent my time participating in events, while they are all special and important in their own right, three in particular stand out: the opening and closing keynote addresses (I’ll count them as one), the Take Back the Night Event, and…the Academy-wide talent show. As a cadet, I attended these events every year for four years, but as a returning officer, I had a unique perspective as essentially an outsider looking in. The key here is that I was once on the inside just a few years ago and I now had the ability to compare the differences a short time has made. The keynote addresses drew our attention to the significance and also the beauty of keeping an open mind in terms of how we treat others and consider their backgrounds. The value a person receives from taking the time to learn about someone, to help someone, to really work with someone is immeasurable. To be honest, the Take Back the Night Event shocked me. I walked in silence and solidarity with 250 cadets, officers, civilians, and friends to learn about and really reflect on sexual assault in the military. Finally, to end the discussion of my events on a lighter note, I will mention the talent show. The amount of talent possessed by the current corps of cadets and their instructors who performed is simply put: OUTSTANDING. The talent show exceeded expectation.

 

Each event of Eclipse Week is memorable, special, and vital in developing a cohesive workforce. Unfortunately, I fear some readers have dozed off and will begin snoring. I was fortunate to have attended 2017’s Eclipse Week and will carry the lessons I learned with me to my unit.

 

More about Brooklyn.

 

Receiving My Appointment: Starting a New Chapter in My Life

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Today I am going to look back to three years ago and the day that I got my appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. My path to CGA was slightly different than the majority of my classmates. I applied my senior year of high school only to get a small letter in the mail saying that I had not been offered an appointment. Broken hearted and feeling a slightly spited, I temporarily dropped my dreams of attending the CGA. This mentality lasted about a week and then I decided to quit my sulking and keep working to follow my passion to become an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. I went to University of Colorado for one year. I got a high GPA, participated in NROTC, got in better shape, and when it came time to resubmit my application, I put my heart and soul into my essays in an attempt to show Admissions how much I truly desired an appointment.

 

The moment arrived. I was walking across campus when I saw I was getting a phone call from an unknown number. Thousands of students surrounded me as I walked on a bright March day from Calculus to Chemistry class. I stopped on a grassy quad to answer the call. I remember my Admissions Officer telling me that I had been offered an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. My world started spinning. The goal I had been reaching toward for years was within grasp and I knew as soon as I got that phone call that as much as I loved civilian college, the Academy was where I was supposed to be.

 

After that phone call the rest of the semester was a whirlwind of paperwork, planning, and getting ready for a new chapter in my life. I have never seen my parents happier for me than when I got my appointment because they knew it was what I wanted so much. To this day, I know I made the right decision coming to the USCGA and not giving up my dream just because of one little letter.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Diversity Makes a Difference

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo (02APR17) New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so coming to New London, Connecticut was a bit of a culture shock. However, there are ways to discuss the concept of diversity and the Academy dedicates one week, Eclipse Week, to these discussions. Personally, Eclipse Week is one of my favorite events because I see it as a way to share stories and perspectives that people wouldn’t normally share. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in classes, sports, and drill that anyone can get distracted from their roots, no matter where they’re from. I’ll be working on this blog over the course of Eclipse week, and I’ll try to do a mini-entry every other day. I’ll also try not to sugar-coat anything, because diversity isn’t something that can be taken lightly. It’s a real issue that goes beyond the Coast Guard, and something that I think we should all consider. Hope you like it!

 

(03APR17) This year’s theme is about “character” and who you are when no one’s watching. Conveniently, we had John Quiñones, an ABC News reporter and host of “What Would You Do?” come and speak to us today. He shared his story, his dreams, and the challenges he faced as a Latino-American. What I got from Mr. Quiñones is to never underestimate the value of empathy. Oftentimes when someone is being mistreated, the people who step in to help have had a similar experience and don’t want to see others suffer, even if they’re a complete stranger. Even more interesting was that, most of the time, the people had almost nothing in common, whether it is ethnicity, occupation, or even wealth. However, all it takes for people to take initiative is a single shared idea that they can all relate to.

 

(06APR17) This morning was my first Eclipse Event, organized by the Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). We had breakfast with Asian Coast Guard officers, ranging from Lieutenants from the class of 2015 to Admirals who have been in for a years, and had mentoring sessions over spam and rice. In the short time we had with them, I learned about life in the fleet, life outside the fleet, and I even got some financial advice. However, the most important thing I learned is that diversity makes a difference. I believe that people are visual beings, meaning that a lot of our actions and emotions are affected by what we see around us. Frankly, talking to Asian American officers was really just refreshing because I saw higher shoulder-boards on someone who looked like me. I found myself relating more and being more comfortable asking questions because we were raised under the same culture, and I think non-Asian cadets benefited just as much from seeing a new perspective.

 

(07APR17) Spectrum Council is the Coast Guard’s first official LGBTQ support group and they hosted a lunch panel about transgender people serving in the military. Along with the amazing number of people who attended, we had the opportunity to meet the Coast Guard’s first transgender officer. However, while we can celebrate the progress we’ve made after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), today’s panel highlighted the changes that will be necessary now that transgender people can openly serve as well. Of course, bathrooms are a prominent issue, but there also needs to be focus on teaching people what exactly “transgender” is and what we can do to help people during their transition, rather than pushing them away. It may be an awkward conversation at first, and some people may be uncomfortable just by reading this entry, but now is the time to adapt and improve our understanding of the changing world around us.

 

(08APR17) So what did I learn this week? I don’t even know where to start. It’s hard to present the concept of “diversity” without making it seem like another mandatory training we have to finish. It’s even harder to show why people should care about diversity issues because they may not see it as a priority, and the worst is when they say, “It’s not that bad.” However, the Coast Guard is a humanitarian service, and taking the perspective of others is one of the basics of our mission. As a Chinese American and member of the LGBTQ community, I truly appreciate how we’re at least making an effort to dispel obstacles and assumptions. Diversity will always be a hard topic and we all have different values, but we should value each other above all else.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Recognizing the Importance of Eclipse Week

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond what is right in front of me in a single moment; tunnel vision causing me to walk, nearly blind, through days and weeks at the Academy, barely aware of anything beyond my classes and my shipmates in the engineering buildings and on the pool deck.

 

While not a lot can pry me away from my busy life, it is essential to recognize Eclipse Week and what it stands for, not only around the Academy, but throughout the growing Coast Guard and throughout the country. Eclipse week always brings me to a standstill. It is absolutely amazing when so many people can join together in the common goal of not only recognizing the diversity problems that our world faces today, but talking about them in earnest. This communication and sharing allows people to come together, to understand one another, and to recognize how each different person brings something new and essential to the table.

 

I sat at dinner one night and listened to a speaker who told of her story, serving as a Coast Guard wife in Panama during the invasion by United States armed forces. She not only saw and heard of the fighting, but she was actually caught in the crossfire. This was eye-opening to me and to everyone sitting in the crowd. This speaker was able to offer her worldly experiences to us, teaching us of struggles that most of us will never face but still must strive to understand. Through her speech she brought diversity of thought to the table. She experienced combat before women were allowed to do such a thing; she broke down boarders and as a result has lived to tell her story in the hopes that it lives on and inspires others to think beyond what is known to be possible.

 

Diversity of race, religion, and gender are so vital in today’s world. They allow us to develop a diversity of thought, which is paramount. Someone who is able to draw experience from every walk of life is someone who can subsequently break down barriers and change the world as we know it and how we all see it.

 

More about Jacklyn.