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cadet blogs

Class of 2017 Ring Dance

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo Ring Dance is a very momentous milestone in a cadet career. We finally have a physical connection to the Long Blue Line and to all those who have walked through the halls of Chase and across that graduation stage. The night was full of good food and lots of dancing, which made me very happy. I got a miniature rose gold band with an amethyst for my stone. Amethyst is my birthstone so it makes the ring that much more personal. The Class of 2017 cannot stop gawking at one another’s rings and I think it is just because we are in total shock that we have made it so far in our Academy careers already. Time has surely flown. My friend was also kind enough to remind me that the next huge landmark in our path is Billet Night. That was crazy to think about, and I cannot tell you for sure where I plan on spend the first two years of my career but hopefully this last summer as a cadet will inspire me to come up with an answer.

 

This summer, I will be on commercial vessels for five weeks, getting a look into the merchant mariner world and the people we serve. For the last six weeks of my training, I will be going to Sitka, Alaska for an internship. I am aware of how challenging internships are to get, in both civilian college and here, so I am super grateful that the Academy has given me this opportunity. Being able to use the science knowledge I have learned over the past two years in a real life study at the Sitka Sound Science Center will be amazing.

 

As always thanks for reading and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!

 

More about Sydney.

 

1/c Summer on the Horizon

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This week has been madness! I’ve been swamped with finishing up term papers, group projects, routing planning memos for Swab Summer, studying for finals, and attending end-of-year club dinners.

 

My classmates and I just received our class rings this past Saturday! We had a great time dressing up in our dinner dress white tuxedos, donning our class rings, and spending the night off-base afterwards. It was a great event and definitely a milestone for the Class of 2017. Looking at our class rings, it is clear that we are almost seniors. Time has flown, but at the same time, it feels like it has been a lifetime. With the Class of 2020 receiving their appointments, it means that the Class of 2016 will soon be shipping out to the fleet. Crazy to think that soon my classmates and I will be the oldest folks here at the CGA.

 

I am excited to leave for Alaska on a 110-foot patrol boat in two weeks! After finals, I have to pack out my room and move all of my stuff to Regimental Row for the second half of the summer (which should be a monumental task with many trips)! Less than a day after that, I’m leaving for Alaska. I’ve already started my qualification for Quartermaster of the Watch with my Nautical Science instructor, and hopefully this summer will be a good opportunity to shadow junior officers and see what it’s all about. My next blog in May will probably be from the icebox!

 

More about William.

 

A Whirlwind Semester and Much to Look Forward To

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo “Flying by” is an understatement when it comes to describing this semester. Diving season ended, spring break in Machu Picchu happened, and now there is only one week left of classes. The end of the school year means 4/c passing boards, earning carry-on (no longer having to brace up in Chase Hall), and using social media again; 2/c bringing back their newly bought cars; and firsties making plans for their new homes, weddings, and 30 days of leave. For myself as a 3/c, this past weekend made me truly appreciate everything I have to look forward to in the next two years.

 

I attended Class of 2017’s Ring Dance, which is a ceremony that recognizes the 2/c approaching their final year of the Academy with personalized class rings. Just looking at everyone’s rings made me excited for when I get the chance to pick out one for myself. The most astounding part to me about the rings was the amount of money people spent on them. The reason behind the hefty amounts paid was not that people had money to spend carelessly. Instead, the splurging was justified by the sacrifice they have personally put into the Academy; those late nights cramming, exploring foreign port calls, running a PFE the day after every break, hanging over the side of Eagle feeling seasick, cleaning until midnight. They made the investment in the rings because of the strong impact of their Academy experience and the bonds they made with the people around them. I’m sure if I asked any of them if they would pay $1,000, $2,000 or even $3,000 on a ring in high school they would laugh at the thought. But, something changes in three years that makes cadets take enough pride to want to spend that sum on a place they had no experience with three years before.

 

More about Amy.

 

The End is Close!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dow Photo Wow! It’s been a while; you get so caught up in everything here and then it’s April. Between softball, school and other extracurriculars and duties, I didn’t even realize it has been so long since I last posted. But in reality, the days may be slow here, but the weeks are going fast. Only a few more weeks until finals and then second class summer! Although the school years sometimes feel long and very difficult, the summers make it all worth it. Being here at the academy has opened many doors, and more opportunities than I could have ever imagined going to college.

 

During finals week, we can only have at most two finals in a day, and it runs for five days. Some finals you are able to validate if you exceed a certain grade in the class, but it is very difficult and not many do. The summers are definitely a highlight of the Academy experience because you get to go out and explore the real fleet, and meet people you might one day work for, or with. The Coast Guard gives you so many great opportunities to see the world, and all you need to do is put in a lot of hard work.

 

As a rising second class, the week after finals is 100th week when we prepare for cadre summer. The Cape May Company Commanders (who are cadre for a living) come and train us. During this week and the actual three weeks of being a cadre, we also get to sail on the Academy’s yachts to practice navigating, plan the trip and lead our peers. We qualify for pistol; take our Rules of the Road test; and explore what the aviation side of the fleet does with a week at an air station down south. This summer will be challenging, but will also bring us even closer as classmates.

 

Last summer, I was on a buoy tender out of Newport, Rhode Island. It was one of my favorite memories. The second part of my summer was on Eagle, where we sailed to Bermuda, Philadelphia, Portland and Boston. This was also super cool, because not many other people can say they sailed around the East Coast, (and because we got to go to cool places for “work”!)

 

Can’t wait for the summer to begin!

 

More about Emily.

 

Fastest Four Years I’ve Ever Experienced

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo 0600: Wake up and splash some cold water on my face.
0620: Morning formation.
0625: Breakfast; try to make conversation with my division despite my exhaustion.
0645: Retreat back to my room; look at the calendar for my to-do list for the day.

 

…but wait, is that calendar correct? Is it really April 15th already? Where has the time gone?! There is still so much to do, but there is also so much to look forward to.

 

I honestly cannot believe there are now less than two weeks left of school and 33 days until the Class of 2016 graduates from this fine institution and will be heading out into the fleet. Seriously, I am in utter disbelief how fast the time has flown the past four years. However, I am also beyond ready to begin a new chapter of my life aboard the USCGC Hamilton, a national security cutter located in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

I am blessed to be heading to Charleston with one of my best friends, Jay Power. However, I cannot help but feel saddened that I will be separated from some of my other best friends. I truly believe that the Coast Guard Academy fosters deep friendships that will last a lifetime. I basically consider all of my best friends I have made here family. Don’t get me wrong, everyone here is a family. We have all been through so much together. From reporting in together as civilians who had no idea what they were doing, to surviving seven weeks of Swab Summer, getting through a strenuous work and passing boards 4/c year, creating and unveiling our class crest, sailing on the USCGC Barque Eagle, being introduced to the fleet, wearing our rec gear to numerous trips to Chili’s, Olive Garden and other liberty bus locations, making it through 100th week, indoctrinating the Class of 2018 as cadre, sailing around New England on $1 million yachts, getting civilian clothes privileges, starting to take command positions, going to Ring Dance and receiving our class rings, being introduced to the fleet as future junior officers, leading the corps through regimental reviews with our swords, attending Castle Dance at Rosecliff Mansion, dining in, enjoying billet night, and so many more memories, it’s hard not to become a family.

 

Looking back at my time here at the Academy, sure there are plenty of things I would do differently, but I would not want to go through it again with any other people. I am so thankful for everyone who has lent a helping hand to me, made me laugh, and showed me the way. I never thought that I would make it until the end of this extremely challenging, but rewarding, 200-week program, but somehow I did! (Knock on wood.)

 

I am so excited to continue learning out in the fleet and start my career, but of course I am also very nervous. However, I will continue to take life as it comes, one day at a time, and I am hoping I will have a long rewarding career – whether that be in the Coast Guard or civilian sector.

 

If there is one piece of advice I can give to those of you still in the Academy or about to join the best Corps of Cadets in the nation, it is to never take any experience you have here for granted. Sure, bracing up isn’t fun and no one wants to clean heads and passageways in their free time, but I urge you to make the best of every situation you’re put in. It’s amazing how much better your experiences will be if you look at the positive side of things and never take situations too seriously. Remember, whatever happens to you, the world keeps turning and time goes on. You will be okay and you will make it through the day.

 

More about Samantha.