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cadet blogs

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo The semester is flying by; midterms have come and gone and women’s rugby is undefeated conference champions getting ready for the postseason. With things moving so quickly, a seemingly never-ending discussion of next steps has started. While this makes me excited for the future, I also took time to reflect on some of the places I have been able to go while at the Academy.

 

During my 3/c summer I spent five weeks at Station Cape Disappointment on the Washington/Oregon line. I got to explore Astoria and Portland, Oregon, which is a stark difference from the hustle and bustle of the northeast. I then flew halfway across the world and got on USCGC Eagle in London, sailing it to Madeira, trans-Atlantic to Bermuda, and disembarking in Norfolk, Virginia. I never would have gone to Madeira if it had not been for the Academy and I am so thankful I was able to go; it was an amazing port call and I would love to go back if I could. Also, that year the rugby team made it to the final four so I went to South Carolina for the tournament and was able to take in the Charleston Christmas parade with some of my teammates in between games.

 

I spent a week at Sector Baltimore during my 2/c summer working with their marine inspectors. I took my time off of work to explore Annapolis, Baltimore, and went to my first MLB game. I spent two weeks that summer sailing around the best ports in New England from Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, to Block Island. I used some of my leave during the summer to go to Madrid and explore Spanish culture. Recently, I was able to go on a tour of the National Security Agency and learn about the interdependence of their mission, the military’s mission, and the Coast Guard’s strategic goals. I’m also scheduled to go to conference in New Orleans next semester to help create an inclusion and diversity action plan for the Academy.

 

These are just some of the places I have been able to visit and be afforded distinct experiences. My point with this is if you asked me my senior year of high school where I would go in the next three years, I never would have produced this list or come anywhere close. When you make the choice to come to the Academy, yes you are signing up for a different life with some hardships and sacrifices, but your time at the Academy and in the Coast Guard is what you make of it. If you stick out your 4/c year, the opportunities you have will continue to build, giving you experiences and adventures you cannot imagine now and with some of your best friends.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

Developing Identity and the Coast Guard Family

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020, Government) Permanent link
Hill Photo So, it is October now – my Dad’s birthday is on Halloween, and so far this Florida girl has yet to transform into an icicle from the cold (miraculous, I know). However, my poor friend from California was shivering on the way back from a Government major dinner with honorable guest Mr. David Guergen who worked under four presidents, one of them being Richard Nixon. He shared his insights on leadership with us and what our country’s future holds – he said we are a tough bunch and there is hope. I have been enjoying my classes this semester and the only math I have is Probability and Statistics! It has been interesting to delve further into the subjects of government, public policy, and current events – trust me, I thought that stuff was boring before, too. Class time consists mostly of my classmates arguing (intelligently) over current controversies. Diversity of opinions is crucial in government, but learning to compromise is even more important. So, yes, this semester has also been filled with plenty of naps, golf and badminton classes. Not to mention, my awesome roommate who is now my “sister,” after our adventures together on USCGC Eagle.

 

I have also been developing great relationships with the new 4/c, Golf Company, and the corps. The family atmosphere is ubiquitous. Additionally, cheerleading is going well – we are becoming more progressive with the stunts that we raise up into the air and are also getting issued (much needed) new uniforms!! The teamwork and social skills I have developed since my journey began on the Spirit Squad have helped shape my identity in a positive way. So, I will celebrate my Dad’s birthday from the sanctuary of the watch office as Junior Chase Hall Duty Officer on Halloween.

 

HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY, DAD!

 

More about Kelly.

 

Escaping (For an Hour a Day)

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo I’m starting to realize that the longer I’m here, the harder it is to find things to write about and the more I want to write about something other than the Academy. It’s funny because you would think that, with all the firstie responsibilities, my Capstone project, and upcoming billets, I wouldn’t be able to stop talking about these things but they all kind of meld together into a giant mass of “stuff that needs to be done.” So, I’m going to leave the Academy and enroll in classes at Connecticut College across the street.

 

However, leaving the Academy at this point would’ve made AIM, CGAS, and the past three years all for naught (and put me in a serious amount of debt.) So, instead of leaving for good, I trek over to Conn College for about an hour a day to take a class in Mandarin Chinese. It’s pretty nice, really. I am lucky to have an awesome academic advisor and a good enough memo to convince the Academy to let me to take Chinese for my language requirement as a Government major. I grew up speaking Chinese, so this is a great opportunity for me to build up on my skills, especially reading and writing. I can even see my improvement every time I call home or listen to Chinese music. The class itself is a lot of fun—my professor and classmates are all very welcoming, and it’s a very relaxed environment. Not only that, but I get to wear civilian clothes and experience a bit of traditional college, even if it’s only for an hour a day.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Alpha Lambda Delta

(Academics, Class of 2020) Permanent link

Chamberlin Photo On Tuesday 24OCT2017, fifty members of the Class of 2020 were inducted into the Academy’s chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD). To be an inductee, a cadet has to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5. It was an extraordinary night, with Lieutenant Melissa K. McCafferty (a former blogger) as the keynote speaker. Her words of wisdom about striving to put others before yourself, working hard toward your dreams, and staying humble throughout your journey touched everyone. Dr. Alina Zapalska, the advisor of ALD, commented that there were more inductees in the Class of 2020 than usual, which she was very excited about. Being a part of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society is just the beginning of a great academic career at the Coast Guard Academy. As LT McCafferty told the inductees and special guests, there are scholarship opportunities for high-standing cadets, such as the Fulbright Scholarship, Truman Scholarship, and Rhodes Scholarship. LT McCafferty was awarded the Truman Scholarship in 2011, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Truman Scholars Association. My favorite part of the night was when all of the inductees got their certificate and stood reciting the pledge of the Alpha Lambda Delta society with a “flame of knowledge” (a lit candlestick)! 

 

If you have any questions about Alpha Lambda Delta or anything regarding cadet life, please email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu.

 

More about Amy.

 

Fast Forward to the Future: Homecoming is a Peek into What We May Be and Could Be?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Noble Photo The USCGA’s Homecoming is a great tradition for the school that serves many purposes. Although many think of Homecoming as an event for the alumni, cadets also are very involved in the festivities.

 

For the alumni, it is a momentous weekend – a much-awaited time to reminisce, reconnect and revitalize bonds. For those who are still active in the service, Homecoming offers a chance to relax in a place close to their hearts. For those who have retired, Homecoming is a time to cherish the good (and perhaps not-so-good) memories that have become a part of their lives. To the families of graduates, it is a time to reflect on the service of their spouses, parents and siblings.

 

For the cadets, it’s a glimpse of the future five, 10, 20, 25 or even 50 years from now. That’s how we might look. That’s how we might walk and talk. It’s a foretaste of the kind of family that we might have. That’s us…someday.

 

No matter how much we are struggling at CGA, we will miss the institution when we depart. No matter how many petty tensions we have with our classmates, we will miss them and long to be reconnected with them after graduation. Why? Because the bonds that we develop will be very strong, borne by the struggles that we have overcome together as roommates, classmates and schoolmates. That bond is going to endure for years and over distances.

 

For these reasons, the Homecoming parade is always a special time. At that moment, the alumni are the stars and the families are their fans – and that’s something that no one gets tired of watching. No matter how many times we may have heard the songs, cheers or announcements, they take on a special meaning at the Homecoming because they celebrate those graduates who came before us.

 

As an international cadet, Homecoming is an extra special event for me. I look forward to seeing the international alumni, especially those from my country – the Philippines. They are the chosen few from their country – like me and my fellow international cadets. I try to look for them and find out what became of them after graduation. Did they go home or did they stay in the U.S.? Did they go back for a while and decide to come back? I track their footsteps and consider whose path I would want to follow. For the international cadets, the alumni are our forerunners and benchmarks. They are role models, but we don’t just want to emulate them. We want to surpass their legacies.

 

We hear about their stories and escapades and we make the comparison. Now that they have retired, they said that they never forgot what they learned in New London. I enjoy talking to them and listening to their advice and tips. I especially take to heart their biggest lessons from the Academy and how they used it in their careers in the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard.

 

During this 2017 Homecoming weekend, I was privileged to meet a ’77 grad and an ’82 grad who was the former Commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command for the Philippine Navy and was a classmate of Admiral Paul Zukunft, the commandant of the USCG. He majored in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and during his time at the Academy. He told me back then it was not a Swab Summer, but a swab year. What a horrible thought.

 

The Philippines’ alumni are great men and I was very sad when they had to leave. However, I will continue to keep in touch with them and they will always be an inspiration to press on in service to our country and our people.

 

This year’s Homecoming had a special bonus for me. One of the alums brought a special friend with him – my father, Police Superintendent Eric Noble. My father is the newly installed Police Attaché at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco. I am truly grateful for CDR Crabtree and the Officers’ Christian Fellowship for hosting them at the Shepherd’s Fold.

 

This year’s event surely hit a home run for me, the corps, the alumni and the CGA community as a whole. To the project officers and CGA staff who labored over Homecoming, your efforts were not in vain! Year after year, Homecoming is a testament to the Academy’s investment of time and talent in the corps. Homecoming is a great tradition, and I look forward to many more Homecomings as a cadet and (hopefully) an alumni.

 

More about Eric.