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cadet blogs

Core Curriculum at the CGA

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo  Photo The academics here are rigorous but more than that, they are incredibly diverse, which is something I am starting to appreciate. One of the best parts of any college experience is to be able to decide, in part, what you are going to learn. CGA has a really heavy core curriculum, which to some people may sound like a bad thing, but in reality it is something to welcome.


The variety of topics covered in the mandated courses is something I value much more than when I started. For example I am a Marine Environmental Science major focusing on chemistry and physical oceanography. Currently I am taking Meteorology, Marine Biology, and Physical Chemistry. I am also taking Ships and Maritime Systems and last year I took Statics and Engineering Design, neither of which is specifically for my major but the knowledge I gained from those two engineering classes often times help me in day to day problems but also will be invaluable in my career and life. We also take several non-technical classes, which include Macroeconomics, Morals and Ethics, and Writing about Literature, all of which are have provided me with skills and knowledge that will serve me for the rest of my life.


So if you are reading this and thinking that perhaps a large core curriculum is something that isn’t for you, I would recommend you reconsider. A strong core curriculum diversifies your knowledge, makes you more well-rounded. This is something you cannot really appreciate until something you learned in core class comes in handy.


More about Alex.


Veteran’s Day Weekend – Las Vegas Bound!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo The Coast Guard Academy always offers amazing opportunities to network and meet different people in various ways. Over Veteran’s Day weekend I had a great opportunity to leave base and travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for a conference. I am writing this entry right now from 34,000 feet up in the air on an airplane heading to the conference. A group of cadets including myself are helping with a conference for the Academy Robotics on the Water program, which is offered at high schools throughout the United States to give students a chance to be exposed to robotics and the missions of the Coast Guard. I have attended a conference like this in the past and it is a great chance to teach others about what the Coast Guard does and to apply my knowledge of robotics that I obtained from being part of a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team in high school.


This is a great way to end the semester, which only has about 12 more days of school in it, and then it will be time for a very much-needed winter break. I look forward to spending some quality time with my family and friends. I am also very much looking forward to catching up on sleep after a long semester of projects and homework. This semester has flown by and I can not wait for next semester to be one step closer to getting my commission and graduating.


I am very thankful for the opportunities that I receive at the Coast Guard Academy especially because I know I would not be able to take advantage of things like this at a normal college. On this Veteran’s Day I am also very thankful for all of those military members that have served our amazing country, and for all of their sacrifices that they have made to keep us safe. Veteran’s Day is a great chance to step back from our busy lives and realize what the people in our military have done for us. Thank you veterans and stay safe wherever you service brings you.


More about Brianna.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo As I write this, I am sitting in my room listening to Christmas music, joyously embracing the change in seasons. A lot of people say that you have to wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music, but November 1st is good enough for me!


School gets pretty hectic this time of the year, as we only have 2.5 more weeks of classes and then final exams (as of today, Nov. 11th). It seems like the projects, tests, and papers never end, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not so hard to stay motivated to finish up the year strong! I can’t believe this semester is already winding down; it seems like just yesterday that I was writing my first blog article of the semester! I’m looking forward to being home in a week, and getting some much needed rest and relaxation with my family and friends.


One of the best parts about being home for me (besides the food, sleep, time with family, seeing my girlfriend, and BEING HOME) is getting together with my friends from high school and “re-living the glory days” (as they say) by having an alumni basketball game at my high school! Although I am extremely rusty, having not played in two years (evidenced in the fact that my little brother now kicks my butt), it’s still a lot of fun to get together with my two brothers and all of our friends and play some Thanksgiving basketball. I know most people play flag football games, or do “Turkey Trots,” but my tradition has always been playing basketball, and I am very much looking forward to continuing the tradition this year!


Oh yeah, I almost forgot! The Mike and Mike talk show on ESPN came to the USCGA last week, and that was really cool! Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg host a talk show that can be seen on ESPN 2 and heard on the radio from 6-10 a.m., and last Thursday, November 8th, they broadcasted live from the cadet wardroom! It was great publicity for the Coast Guard Academy, but more importantly for me it was a lot of fun to eat breakfast and listen to the two of them talk about sports. Who needs TV when you have the real thing!


I hope any and all of you prospective cadets reading this are having a great year in high school! Enjoy those days, the time definitely goes by fast, and you are going to make some great lifetime memories and friends. As always, if you are reading this and have any questions about ANYTHING, email me at and I’d love to answer your questions! Have a great Thanksgiving!


More about Luke.


Fun in the Shadows

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo In most cases, the concept of going to summer school is viewed in a negative connotation. A lot of people think that if you go to summer school it is because you failed a class and need to catch up. However, this is not always the case. I went to summer school because I chose to do so. Yup, your heard me, I sacrificed six weeks of my summer experience in the fleet to stay at the Academy and study Calculus! Heaven forbid! Who would ever do such a thing, right? Well, I’ll admit that I had my doubts about whether or not the decision was really worth it. In the end, everything managed to work out just they way it was meant to be and I learned that sacrificing one thing for another has the potential to create a truly unforgettable experience.


In one of my previous blog entries I explained how I ended up in summer school. So now I’d like to tell you a tale of what Academy life is like during the summer, sans squaring.


You see, the third class cadets that go to summer school exist only in the shadows, behind the scenes so to speak. We were told that we do not exist to swabs, and that the color red (that of our shields) should never be seen by little swabbie eyes. So this made for an interesting time. I’ll have to admit, there’s something quite unique about witnessing R-Day from the outside. I got a bit nostalgic while watching the new swabs run around all frightened and awkward like. Ah, the good old days…


On another note, I only had to take two classes, Calculus I and Leadership and Organizational Behavior. This was nice because I had a lot of free time to get help. The instructors stayed on base most of the day, so getting homework done was a cinch. I spent my free time with my two best friends, Virginia Stoddard and Maria van Scoyoc, which made the experience that much more worthwhile. One time, we were laughing so hard that an officer had to walk all the way down from the other end of the hall to tell us to keep it down. We didn’t for long. I had a lot of fun during summer school, and although some of the assignments were difficult, I managed to end up with solid grades.


Have no fear. If you ever find yourself headed toward summer school, keep your chin up. You never know what kind of fun could be coming your way.


More about Alexis.


The 'Other Side of the Fence' Part II

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo During my 3/c summer assignment at USCG Station Port Canaveral, I assisted in the first Search and Rescue mission (SAR) of my Coast Guard career. On May 12, 2012, after a long day of volunteering at a Palm Bay Veteran’s function, I was pretty beat and had put my feet up to watch a movie. Before I could hit the play button, the SAR alarm sounded, and I startled up from the couch. My heart raced as I listened to the announcement on the pipe: “male in cardiac arrest onboard Disney Fantasy


So I might have over exaggerated a bit when I kicked the door open and sprinted to the watch office, but it was really hard to bottle the sudden rush of adrenaline. I slipped in quietly with the rest of the crew as the two watch-standers, an enlisted personnel and 3/c Leigha Steinbeck, communicated on the radio with the ship’s captain. I crossed my fingers, hoping for the opportunity to help, and waited for further instructions. Moments passed before the NCOOD pointed a finger at me and told me to grab a PFD (‘lifejacket’ for y’all landlubbers).


The sun was beginning to set as I jogged to the locker and grabbed my PFD, along with four extras for the victim’s family. We were told that we would possibly be bringing his children. This was concerning because we did not want them to get seasick in the survival compartment on the 45’ patrol boat. Within about ten minutes of the initial alarm, we were on the water, making our way through the port toward the ocean. Fortunately, the cruise ship, which was roughly 13 miles out, had turned around and was making its way toward us. At one point we were put on standby as it was debated whether we should send a helicopter instead. The decision was eventually turned down and we continued on.


Once we were clear of the no-wake zone our coxswain hit the gas and we barreled into the open sea, lights-a-flashing. We bounced over four to six foot swells, catching some wicked air, racing toward the Fantasy. Meanwhile, the ship’s captain maintained communications, giving us frequent updates of the victim’s condition. I stared in awe at the colossal structure that steered toward us, as if it were going to mow over us without hesitation. I felt like an ant next to a boot. We took a wide turn and pulled alongside the Fantasy’s port side. Forward of us, toward the bow, a hatch opened in the ship’s hull right next to the waterline.


The 'Other Side of the Fence' Part II (Continued) PDF Icon 


More about Alexis.