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cadet blogs

My Many Families

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo I’ve always been used to living with a small family. In the most limited terms, my nuclear family consists of only my mom, my dad and me, and the extended family living near us back home in Georgia is a small group of my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and grandmother. With the rest of my extended network scattered across the country – from Washington, to Illinois, to Utah, to Hawaii, to Maine – our opportunities for face time have always been few and far between. I never experienced sibling squabbles or sibling bonding, massive family reunions or series of weddings, graduations and baby showers, or even a Christmas dinner of more than ten people. Rather, I grew up forming deep attachments to a small number of people close to me, and as a result, I grew accustomed to frequent visits, exchanges of love and support, and giving of gifts, favors, time, and attention to those that I loved; it sustained us all.


Coming to the Academy, then, took me entirely aback. I suddenly found myself part of a new company family of 100, a class family of almost 300, a corps family of 1000, and a Coast Guard family of many thousands. However, the obligations of a good family member, to me, did not change; I still owed my time, my affection, and my devotion to all my new brothers and sisters of the Coast Guard, and I found that they gave the same in return. Whether it was helping a shipmate with their Calculus homework 4/c year, accepting help from a stand-in on an OOD day, or commiserating with a classmate over how much work we have on any given night, the dynamics within the corps are consistently fraternal, compassionate, and supportive.


To my delight, my integration into the new families of the Coast Guard and the corps have not meant distancing myself from my other family at all; each accepts and values the other as each has accepted and valued me. Nothing warms my heart more than watching my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins interacting with my friends and companions from school. To see that my family from home is willing to immerse themselves in my new world, and that fellow cadets will take them in like they took me in, makes me feel at home even far from where I grew up. I have learned, from my family in Georgia and my family in here at CGA, to form close ties with a vast array of people, and I couldn’t be happier with the companions I’ve met over the past three years.



More about Jessie.


My Biggest Supporters

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo My time at the Academy has been everything that I thought it would be when I applied here almost four years ago. I never would have been able to get where I am today if it wasn’t for all of the supportive people in my life that pushed me to achieve my goals. My parents and sisters were my biggest supporters in life and I owe all of my success to them. They helped me apply for schools and figure out that the Academy was the right choice for me. I always knew that they were my biggest supporters when my dad offered to coach my basketball team in middle school just so that my parents could watch me play every game. I have experienced so many positives with my family, but there always are hard times that come along too and my parents have always helped me get through all of these moments. When my two best friends at the Academy left last year they knew exactly what to say and they helped me find the positive in that situation.


I never could have made it this far in my cadet career if it wasn’t for my family. My family does not only consist of my parents and sisters but also all of the teachers and coaches that have molded me into the person that I am today. They are the reason that I am who I am, and I am very thankful to have met each and every one of them.t



More about Brianna.


My Families

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Over the past year, I have realized how important family is. I know that I could not be successful in life if it wasn’t for my family. I never realized how much I had to be thankful for and how much my family really meant to me until I went away for school. It’s crazy how you realize how much someone means to you when you don’t see them every day. Going to school more than a thousand miles away from home makes me appreciate every moment I get to spend with my family.


I know a lot of my friends went away for school thinking, “Yes I’m free! My parents are not my boss and now I’m out on my own!” I can’t imagine this. My parents have only ever been supportive, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my family. They are always there pushing me to get better, but helping me when I struggle. I have realized over the last year just how lucky I am to have parents and a big sister that I am so close to. I know whenever I am having a bad day, my family will be there to talk no matter what time it is. They help me get through everything. I have learned to cherish every opportunity I get to go home because it is only a few times a year. Being here has made me much more grateful for what I have.


My family doesn’t stop at my parents and my sister. The Academy is a place where you develop so many families, each there to support you. My best friend’s family has become my second family that I can go spend long weekends with. I even get a little brother when I visit them! Then, the sponsor family program gives me yet another family right in the New London area, where I can decompress and get off campus. It is amazing how families around the Academy take in cadets as if they are their own. I feel like I always have someone looking out for me.


Most importantly, the corps itself is a family. My teammates and classmates all form family-like bonds that cannot be broken. This kind of support you don’t get at a civilian college. It’s support I never realized was important before coming to the Academy, but it’s support that everyone needs to get through here. And this support is the same that I give to my friends. You have so many people looking out for you and trying to help you at the Academy. It’s these families that I could no longer imagine my life without.


As always, feel free to email me any questions about the Academy at!



More about Christi.


Update Since August

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Hello everyone! My last blog was from August, so time to catch up! After I left summer school, I returned back to the amazing city of Jacksonville, Florida to enjoy my summer leave. Being the over-ambitious cadet that I was in May, I had asked the Cadet Training Department to have the opportunity to work at Station Mayport near my house. So the Monday after I got home, I reported at bright and early at 0700 in my operational uniform to get to work. The first few days were a little slow and awkward but then I was introduced to the Reserves Detachment located at the station and my training began hard! The third day I was at the station, I had the opportunity to “drive” the 25-foot patrol boat and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. After growing up by the St. Johns River and going fishing and boating on it, the rush of being on a Coast Guard small boat brought back many memories of my childhood. I had always remembered looking at the Station Mayport and thinking of how amazing it would be to work for the Coast Guard. Finally, part one of my dreams came true. I also had the (horrible) opportunity to get pepper-sprayed. Let me just say it was the worst hour of my life. I’ll let all of the YouTube videos out there show you pretty much what my experience was. While there, I did not work all the time, as it may seem, and I did enjoy quality time with my parents and friends! I cannot wait to see them when I return home in December.


After reporting back to the Academy on August 18 (my birthday; thank you CGA), it was amazing to look around and take in Chase Hall. It was also very strange being called sir…something I still have not become accustom to. After “set-up” week the academics struck, and let me say they struck hard. Having 21 credits is not fun…at all. I am usually working on homework into the wee hours of the night. I am struggling in some classes, but I have great friends and professors that are determined to see me succeed. I have now run my 2nd Tough Mudder and other than that have not really gotten away from the Academy. However, in the coming weeks I plan on going to New York City, I will be serving at the Red, White and Blue Mass being celebrated by the Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese and the Bishop of Norwich, and some other adventures that I will right about later to keep you in suspense. Until next time, fair winds and following seas, Go Bears and Go Great Class of 2016!


If you have any questions please do not hesitate! 



More about Nathan.