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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Every Angle of the “College Experience”

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo As I looked on at the excitement that the first class cadets had this past Billet Night when they received orders to their first unit, I began to examine my college experience while closing in on only a year left of my undergraduate degree. I have been fortunate enough to attend civilian college, preparatory school and the Academy. All three of these institutions offered different skills and lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today. My first college experience was at the University of South Florida. I knew that, being a shy person, I should join a small team to make friends at this huge college of over 48,000 students. I joined the crew team and a few clubs I found interesting around campus. I started by taking 15 credits and was in charge of my own schedule, which was pretty great since I had a job a Walgreens. This was my first taste of independence and it felt great. Being in control of my own schedule allowed me to make social plans and explore Florida’s vast array of theme parks and tourist traps at my leisure. As the semester progressed, I began to realize just how much independence I really had. Since I was paying for school, teachers did not really mind if I did not show up to the auditorium lectures of 500+ students and I was never forced to see the teacher if I did not understand a lesson and I mistakenly, in hindsight, did not have a study group of people from my classes. These conditions ultimately led to my grades not being the best reflection of my capabilities. I really did enjoy the beautiful lawns full of people playing ultimate Frisbee and enjoying the sun, climbing campus trees and being exposed to so many different types of people and ideas on a daily basis. However, I knew that if I wanted to make the most of my college experience and of my potential, I needed to find a place that I was invested in enough to want to do my best every day, both academically and morally.

 

I reapplied to the Coast Guard Academy and received an appointment to one of the Coast Guard Academy’s preparatory schools, Georgia Military College. This was such a great year! My best friend and I reminisce about that time frequently. I was able to learn about the Army and their missions and start creating good study habits with a prescribed course schedule. This experience forced me to be more accountable and think about my actions because now I was gaining an education off taxpayers’ dollars; I wanted to make them proud and show that the Academy had made a good choice in choosing me. This time in my life also allowed me to start deciding what was important for my future and allow me to better acquaint myself with what the Coast Guard actually does and how I could see myself fitting into this organization. One short year later, I made it to the Academy. What a challenge I faced! Some of the hardest things I have had to deal with professionally, emotionally, and mentally have occurred while I have been at the Academy. My time is no longer my own, as I have a short 200-week program to turn me into a service-ready ensign in the Coast Guard fleet. I have matured greatly in these past few years because I have learned to also consider others that I work with and affect, as well as understand the great opportunity I have been given, which I have been very fortunate to receive.

 

To sum it all up, USF allowed me the most autonomy and I was able to practice my independence. But, my successes and failures were my own and there wasn’t necessarily anyone there to back me up if and when I needed it. Preparatory school was a great way to get to know other services and affirm my decision in choosing the Coast Guard. The Academy is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences I have had thus far. I am learning each day and it is a continual process. I am also a part of a community and we succeed and fail together; I do not have to do anything alone. And although the Academy owns most of my time, it really allows me to think of how I will use the time I do have to myself and to make better use of that time. I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon the Academy. It is a unique experience and it may not be for everyone, but I hope my insight to both civilian and military college gave you some food for thought!

 

More about Sydney.

 

What’s Important to You?

(Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Disclaimer: I’m writing this blog entry to procrastinate from doing actual work. However, in writing this entry I’m also being productive, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

 

Throughout high school, my life revolved around my next track meet. When will my next conditioning day be? What am I going to eat the night before? How can I schedule my schoolwork around it? Granted, I had an awesome time competing and I wouldn’t change anything about it, but I was also missing out on the little things—lunch with friends, a Friday night movie, and countless weekends. Plus, sometimes I was putting track ahead of schoolwork. Although I never failed any classes, it would’ve become a bad habit if I had let it continue.

 

I guess the point of this spiel is that, over time, my priorities shifted quite a bit. Honestly, I’d much rather be free to do my own thing on occasion than be confined within extra obligations. It’s not exactly the most militaristic mindset, but we’re still in college and it’s important to enjoy these years. Having fun and making the most out of the time we have; that’s what’s important to me.

 

More about Olivia.

 

A Full Fall Semester

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hey, everybody! Long time since I’ve updated you about life at the Academy. This is now the fall of my 2/c year – crazy how fast three years went!

 

This summer was especially rewarding to be able to embark on many adventures and learn so much about my leadership style. I participated in the Coastal Sail Program, navigating my way to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, and several other ports with five of my closest shipmates. It was quite the experience to learn how to navigate safely and efficiently, planning every step and calling every move. I also got to lead the Class of 2020 in their journey to become successful cadets here at the Academy. I was Cadre 2 for Swab Summer, which means I worked with my classmates to develop the swabs for the last four weeks of their summer experience. We taught them drill, basic indoctrination of the Coast Guard, and physically conditioned them. It was a difficult yet rewarding challenge to decide how we would train the swabs.

 

This fall I’m busy with Civil Engineering classes, cheerleading, and being a Master at Arms or MAA. Officially taking major-specific classes has been so exciting, especially because we got our very own hard hats! In the labs, we have made our own asphalt concrete, Portland cement concrete, and have conducted many safe drinking water tests. We’ve taken multiple field trips. Our most recent field trip was to the Groton Waste Water Treatment Plant, where we toured their facilities. In cheerleading, we have progressed many of our stunting skills and sharpened our cheers. We’ve done multiple basket tosses, extensions, half-ups, and full downs! As an MAA, I get to work directly with the 1/c and the department, as well as with the 4/c in Alfa company. It’s kind of the best of both worlds because I get to make positive changes within the department, as well as continually help develop the Class of 2020 and maintain that close relationship with them.

 

As the fall semester continues, I’m nervous for the cold approaching. However, it’s predicted that we will have an exciting winter! We already got our first snowfall last week!

 

More about Kathryn.

 

The Great Boat Race

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Another October breezes by at the United States Coast Guard Academy. I barely realized the month was over until, well, writing this blog in fact, because this is the first time I’ve taken a breath to reflect on the events of this past month. For this post I’m going to focus a little more on my major – Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. In my graduating class, there are only 23 of us. I really love that it is a small group. For our Principles of Naval Architecture class, our first truly nav arch specific class, we have a three hour lab every week. This week we started a three week long lab where we are going to create our own boat. This lab is called “The Great Boat Race” because for the last session of the semester we will compete against other lab groups to see whose boat has the best overall mission efficiency. The goal is to carry as many sodas (weight) as possible while still moving at a decent speed. We are using programs such as Orca3D to design the hull. At first we started looking at a double catamaran design in order to make our ship light and fast, but unfortunately due to dimension restraints on beam width we could not make two hulls fit with room for soda cans and space in between. So, we decided on a planning hull and we are in the midst of designing it right now. ShopBot is going to cut out our boat using a plastic material and then we will epoxy/paint it to get some aesthetic points. Fingers crossed the race will be a success!

 

More about Hannah.

 

Thanksgiving is for Family and Friends

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo The greatest thing about the Coast Guard Academy is not the beautiful river view, or the extremely devoted teachers, it is the family you get when you join. On R-Day you have 30 brothers and sisters in your company and a thousand cadets in the corps that have your back. With each cadet, teacher, officer, and sponsor parent, you gain their entire family as well, and are accepted as one of their own.

 

As a cadet that lives relatively close to the Academy, I have, on many occasions, told my parents that not only was I coming home, but my entire entourage would be joining me as well. No grunts or anger from my mother, just how many blankets and packages of Oreos was she going to need to buy. My home is no longer my home, but a home-away-from-home for all of my friends that live on the West Coast. My two closest friends no longer ask me when I am going home, but call my parents asking if they can crash for the weekend, even if I am not going to be there.

 

Thanksgiving is one of the better examples of cadet adoption. This year my wonderful parents are managing to fit in seven cadets from both the Coast Guard and the Air Force Academy into their home. Thanksgiving is one of the three holidays I get to see my entire extended family, which can be anywhere from 15 to 30 people at a table. Our family tradition starts with a turkey trot, which I am so excited to share with my friends. My cousin is a Division I runner at U- Albany and one of my Coasties is one of the fastest on our cross country team. My family has a small pool on who will take first. My brother and his Air Force friends will blast past the rest of us, saying something about the air being so much easier to breathe. All that matters is when the last of us cross the finish line, there will be a group of my friends and family in matching Flash t-shirts cheering as hard as they can. Dinner will be similar, with every member cooking something different, from the turkey, (and the backup turkey my Dad got before we left), to my aunt’s corn and saltine chowder, the cadets cleaning all the dishes and chasing the smaller kids around the yard. When we all fight over chairs and couches in my aunt’s living room, there is no difference between my friends and my biological family, they are all just my family.

 

More about Emily Rose.