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cadet blogs

Only in the Boyshouse

(Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo After a long right shoulder reconstruction in the spring and hearing the news that I would have yet another on my left shoulder this fall, I made the decision to volunteer any help I could to the men’s rowing team. Why the men’s team many asked; with a new head coach, Colin Regan, and a shortage of coxswains, the opportunity for me to improve myself as a rower could not be ignored.


After a conversation with the head coach I thought my intentions were clear – my primary focus would be to assist the novice squad with their technical progress and fill in as a coxswain if necessary until the position was filled. I made it a personal goal to befriend the varsity coxswain, fellow blogger Peter Driscoll, and ensure every practice I learned from his skill and if possible, challenged his abilities. Not able to row myself I still wanted to “go fast”, a typical rower motto, and I knew this could happen by pushing myself as hard as the guys of the “Boyshouse” every day.


At some point in the season Coach Regan decided I would take the varsity boat out on the water more or less to give the rowers exposure to different coxing. This first practice on the water was just as awkward as the spring season had been; a rower would stretch over spilling sweat on me or accidentally spew a string of sweat across my chest. I somehow managed to survive and crash land the boat at the dock, thinking it was the worst practice the men had ever had. My coach looked over at me as I stumbled off the dock and said, “You know you can make a difference to this team”. And then later when I asked the men what they thought about the practice, none of their critiques were about my performance. Looking back, this first integrated varsity practice was when they formally adopted me as “one of the guys”, but it wasn’t for months later that I would understand what an honor it was.


Every day we made boats faster and at some point my goals shifted from just the novice crew to the entire team, even the four fastest men. I wasn’t aware of their subtle gestures – inviting me to study in the library, complimenting me as we took the boat out of the water, and offering to carry the coxswains into the boats when there weren’t docks at the race site. By our first major race, Head of the Housatonic, I felt part of the team but didn’t share the same pride in boat speed because I was no longer a rower. For me to reach that moment it took the bow man of the four I raced with at Head of the Charles, one of the largest rowing regattas in the world, to say, “I know you don’t like to hear it, but you are a good coxswain”. Racing Head of the Charles as a rower was the second best experience in my 11 year rowing career: the first was racing October 19th, 2013 as a coxswain. From the moment I stepped into the boat I felt connected to the guys, not just in our hull, but the other Coast Guard boat and the hundreds of other male competitors on the water. Being part of Coast Guard Men’s Rowing has made me mentally tougher, spiritually stronger, and confident that my teammates can accomplish greatness. At the last regatta of the season the novice men who I had started with won gold and bronze in two events, and two varsity boats I coxed brought home two additional third place medals. It has been an honor and pleasure to cox the men of Coast Guard Rowing this fall season. The Boyshouse has redefined my Academy experience and I look forward to abiding by the bro code for another competitive season this spring.



More about Sarah.


My Test Taking Tragedy

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo By now I have been in school for longer than one would ever desire. However, despite the fact that I have spent the last 16 years of my life involved in academics, I am by far the world’s worst test taker. You want to talk about anxiety? I am the queen of quiz crashing and the tyrant of test-taking tragedies. I have yet to learn the secret of balancing time management and discipline. Procrastination, it seems, is my prowess (and awesome alliteration, if you haven’t caught on to that by now). Anyhow, I felt it was finally time to admit my faults and move on. After all, they always say that the first step in change is recognizing what is wrong. If you didn’t know by now, I have switched majors from Mechanical Engineering to Civil Engineering (which is a whole different story within itself that I have yet to attend to). As a result, I am dealing with a whole new set of Academy faculty members on a daily basis. I couldn’t be happier here; the Civil Engineering department contains some of the hardest working, dedicated instructors I have ever met at the Academy. You probably think that I am just desperate for help at this point in my career and am blowing how awesome they are out of proportion, but I know too many other students who agree with me. For example, my academic advisor has not just told me what I need to do to fix my grades, but she also makes me meet with her at least once a week to ensure that I am not slacking off. My midterm grades weren’t catastrophic, but they weren’t outstanding either. These meetings help give me a new sense of responsibility of not wanting to let her down when we meet.


Back to the procrastination problem, my Environmental Engineering instructor noticed my test taking struggles and has told me that she is going to have an intervention with me. I cracked up at the joke, but she was actually serious. As funny as the idea sounds, it might just be the thing I need. I am so thankful for her, as well as my other teachers and their patience with me. In all honesty, I do feel silly for still struggling like this so far into my cadet career. I am “over the hill” for goodness sake. Sometimes, people just have a hard time getting over really bad habits. For me, all it takes to fix them is my decision to change and a good butt kicking from some awesome instructors.



More about Alexis.


Midterm Update

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Keeley Photo End of the first semester and still going strong. The cross country season is coming to an end with only two meets left. Everyone’s times are dropping, which is very exciting, but I cannot wait for the winter to come, which will mean skiing almost every weekend. Whether I go with the ski and snowboard club or my sponsor parents, I will find my way up to a mountain.


Halloween was very fun, however 4/c year was still more fun just because of the carry-on trick-or-treating on the hill and running through the barracks. This year I still went to the dinner but had a project due the next day so didn’t get to experience much of the excitement.


One interesting thing I am seeing this year, as opposed to last, is the openness of my classmates admitting that they are thinking about disenrolling. Last year no one talked about it even if they thought about doing so. The difference is that this year, no one is really watching us and we do not have a great amount of responsibility compared to the juniors and seniors. We are on our own and given more freedom to really see behind the scenes and sometimes, we don’t like what we see. The military aspects can get tiring and tedious and the idea of being at a regular college appeals to us.


Despite the large number of people that have considered leaving, not many actually do. There are many reasons for this. Some people realize that they shouldn’t let the little details get to them because they are here for a greater purpose. Others realize that they would still be stressed with work or chores at other schools and recognize that they are in such a good position here with a solid income and much more. Still, some discover that they do not like life in the fleet and believe that they should get out now before things get worse. However, we have only experienced one summer in the fleet so I personally do not think I have a good impression of it yet.


I have no idea what my life will be like in three years but I would like to remain in the Coast Guard. I have thought about leaving but I know that I would definitely regret it in the future whether that be one or ten years from now. I would always wonder what could have been. Therefore I am determined to stick it out even when things get stressful. Our class just signed a document saying that come the beginning of this summer, we will have to pay back all of the money that the Academy has given us if we were to get kicked out. Therefore, anyone who wants to leave knows that they have to do it before the end of the year or they will have to pay back a great deal of money.


It will be interesting to see what happens after this year and during the upcoming Swab Summer. Sorry to make this entry depressing. Things really are going well and I am enjoying the year.
~Missy Keeley



More about Melissa.