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cadet blogs

Songs in the Windy City

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo It’s been a long weekend – in the best of ways! When these three-day weekends come along, such as MLK Jr. Day recently, the corps gets to leave base at our last military obligation (LMO) on Friday, and not return until liberty expires on the day off. Seeing as how most cadets, especially fourth class, usually don’t get to stay overnight off-base on weekends, you can guess how exciting these weekends are!


But, this one was particularly special for me. I had the privilege of traveling out to Chicago, Illinois with the Cadet Chorale. I along with 14 other cadets and the choir director, Doc Newton, left on Friday at 0400 (oye…) and arrived back in New London Monday evening. We met and performed with a high school a cappella group on Friday evening – very talented young men and women, indeed! The next day we had an engagement at Navy Pier, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. It was so much fun to perform for the families walking through the pier, and to have the chance to see the city! (I must say, the Adler Planetarium was very interesting!) Our weekend closed out on Sunday with a performance in the Tivoli Theater, an old venue that was the second American theater designed to show films with audible dialogue. Once again, I felt the thrill of being on a stage, with lights shining around you, and the voices of several devoted and gifted cadets filling the room.


Yes, I am a performance geek… that’s why I love being a part of the music program here at the Academy. Our music is very beautiful, mostly oldies, show tunes, nautical songs and sea chanteys and patriotic selections. I appreciate that while some of our songs require piano accompaniment, many of them are a cappella, meaning no instruments except for voices. It’s a lovely, rich sound, with the challenge of keeping up the tune on our own. The choirs here are such an integral part of my cadet experience; my life would be much too quiet without them (literally and figuratively!).


More about Abby.


Life as a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Major

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bellm Photo As a junior, now in my sixth semester at the Academy, you could say that I’ve gotten pretty used to everything around here. Wake up, morning formation, breakfast, morning classes, afternoon formation, lunch, afternoon classes, workout, dinner, homework, go to bed, and repeat. We could add in a few other military obligations here and there, but for the most part, that’s how your normal weekdays will go. Now, you’re probably thinking, that sounds pretty awful, and you’re right, it could be, but it’s not. The reason is because of the amazing group of people in my major that surround me for the majority of those activities. I’ve been a part of countless sports teams throughout my life, but nothing has quite been the same as our group.


As a NavArch (what we are commonly referred to at the Academy), we take an insane amount of credits. We’re basically taking what should be a five-year program and cramming it into four years. To date, I have over 100 hours completed from only five semesters. For all of those hours, I have completed countless additional hours of work outside of class, all with my classmates in my major, sometimes at 1400, and other times at 0200. While it has been a real challenge, I am so happy, even now, that I chose the major that I did. Those countless hours have been some of the best bonding time that I could have asked for with my classmates. My fellow NavArchs are some of the best people that I have met in my life. Being in this major has provided the roots to many lifetime friendships. Not only in academics at the Academy, but even in my personal life, I know that I can count on them when I’m stuck in a rough spot. They would likely be some of the first people that I would call in a sticky situation. We all talk about how happy and excited we will be to walk that stage at graduation when they announce our name, closely followed by our major because we will know how hard we worked to get there.


On top of all of that, being a NavArch will set me up perfectly for my fleet life hopefully. My desire to be an engineering officer stems directly from my good experience at the Academy in the field. Not only that, but I have gained so much knowledge, not only of engineering systems, but of problem solving and how to think through a system to get the answers that we need. Although it has been a long and sometimes bumpy path, by classmates in my major have had my back the entire way, and that has made it all worth it.


More about Lulu.


The Bittersweet Return

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo It is hard to believe I'm sitting in this chair right now. One second, Swab Summer was in full swing and I am drenched in sweat, trying to make timed objectives so my cadre don't make me and my shipmates do any more planks or push-ups. And then in the blink of an eye, it is the end of the first semester and I am saying goodbye to my friends for three weeks during Christmas break. The weirdest part about the whole situation is that Christmas break was the longest amount of time me and my classmates had not been together for six months. Nevertheless, the break was awesome and flew by so much faster than I had anticipated.


It was great to be able to wear civilian clothes, go to Waffle House (8 times), sleep in my own bed, and even drive my own car. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, and also got to see some friends who go to regular colleges. It was interesting to hear how different our college experiences have been, and how much free time they always had during the week. Although I somewhat resent some of their experiences, there is something about a regimented schedule that I still like about the Academy. While fourth class year is tough and draining at times, I would not trade it for anything. Soon, my classmates and I are going to be able start earning simple privileges like playing music out loud and social networking. The real thing I am looking forward to this semester is the beginning of baseball season. I can't wait to be back out on the diamond and playing the game I love. I am very excited for this upcoming year, and I am more than ready to become a third class. I know I am meant to be here, regardless of the countless sacrifices I have made to be a cadet at the Academy.


More about Colton.


A Month Full of Fun

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo It’s crazy to say it's already February! This semester has been flying by. The past month was full of fun; I went skiing at Mohawk Mountain which was a good time. It was freezing that day, but it was nice to be on the mountain since I had not been there in a year. This past weekend, I went to Mohegan Sun to see a Lady Antebellum concert with Kacey Musgraves and Kip Moore opening. It was an awesome concert and I loved the set up because it felt very intimate with the artists. I also had an away swimming and diving meet, which was our last meet before championships. It will be nice to have two weekends without a meet, but I will still have practice everyday.


This month will be another fast paced month that will slip right by. The corps gets a long weekend for President’s Day, but I haven’t figured out what I am going to do yet. The swimming and diving championship is the last weekend of this month, which I am very excited for, but also a little nervous. It is crazy to think I am almost finished with my third season at the Academy. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! The second class cadets also get their loan at the end of this month. This is a really exciting time for our class because we will have money to buy a car, invest, or/and save for when we graduate. The second class also get to try on their class rings at the end of this month. I CANNOT wait to see my ring! The ring I designed means a lot to me and represents my family who are the people who have helped me most to get through the Academy.


Hopefully everyone is enjoying their schoolwork and weekends! Keep chugging along…before you know it the snow will clear and everyone will start complaining about the heat!


More about Sara.


Doing What You Love

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo A popular question I have been getting from many 4/c lately has been “What major do I pick?” It’s about that time of the year when 4/c choose the major they would like to pursue for their remaining time at the Academy. Cadets are told that certain majors can lead to certain officer career paths, and extrapolating that far ahead into our career, especially as a 4/c, can be pretty intimidating. However, I always end up giving the same advice, regardless of the career path a 4/c may be contemplating. It’s quite simple: do what you love, and don’t be afraid to experiment!


I was originally a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major. And then I switched to Marine and Environmental Sciences. But I finally settled on Government. It sounds a little crazy, and maybe a bit scatterbrained, but I wanted to make sure that whatever I was planning on studying for the next three years would make my time at the Academy a little more bearable. After testing out most of the majors offered at the Academy, I am happy with the choice I’ve made. I find the world, people’s interactions, and different cultures fascinating; not to mention I love reading and writing. Majoring in Government, with an International Affairs focus, allows me to study those things while also giving me some free space to pursue classes from other majors. I intend on taking some MES courses as a 1/c and 2/c to cover all of my passions and interests.


So basically what I’m suggesting to the 4/c is to not get caught up in the pressures here to study certain majors. Many (perhaps most) things cadets do are predetermined and prescribed. What we study and the classes we take are one of the things that we actually have influence over (after 4/c year, of course). Figure out what you like to do first, and then select a major. Don’t sit there and ponder life, trying to predict your future. Just because you may want to be an aviator now doesn’t mean you “should” study mechanical engineering to better your chances – you may not even want to fly in three years, anyways! But what is for certain is what you will enjoy in the present moment. So make a choice in the best interest of your happiness! If you do what you love in life, life will love you back.


More about Allie.


A Delicate Balance

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo I can’t believe a month has already gone by since I started this semester! I am definitely a lot busier than I was last semester! I have a couple more classes, and overall my homework load this semester is greater. It’s been nice being busy though – I actually enjoy being able to check things off a list, whether it be homework, military, or sports obligations – feeling accomplished is great.


I’ve gotten my fair share of breaks from school though. I’ve spent most of my weekends either away in Boston with friends, on hockey trips to places like New Hampshire or Massachusetts, or just down the road to Waterford to spend time with my sponsor family. We also have had an early dismissal for snow, a delay due to snow, and a snow day in the past month; all of which were awesome breaks from school. Presidents Day is coming up next weekend and I’ve got plans to go see Brad Paisley and Chris Young at Mohegan Sun and then go skiing in Maine for the rest of the weekend! I’m super excited. Even though the Academy loads you up with a lot of different types of obligations, sports, military and academic, once you learn to balance everything it is relatively easy to make time for yourself. It’s already been a great semester because I figured out the balance early and have set a routine.


We also just recently put in our requests for what cadre section we want this summer. This summer I will be a cadre in charge of training the incoming swabs in the Class of 2018. It’s pretty exciting; it marks your halfway point through the Academy and it gives you your first real exposure to key leadership positions. Along with cadre, I will also go to the range to get qualified in shooting a pistol, go to an air station for a week, and go coastal sailing for a couple weeks. There will also be some training in there but overall I’ve heard it’s the best summer experience you get at the Academy; and the summers are definitely what make the Academy worth it.


For now, I’ll just be waiting for spring break. I’m going to Disney World and Harry Potter World in Orlando with some friends! I have thirty days to go and I plan on powering through this last month so I have no worries when I’m having fun in the sun.


More about Jade.