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cadet blogs

My New Major...Management

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo As Winter Storm Juno hits New England, I finally get a chance to catch up on my cadet blogs. School was cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday, which was a nice break in the routine. January flew by, and starting next week it will be February! This semester for me so far hasn’t been as stressful as the last, as I am taking four less credit hours, and I am already adjusted to the duties of a 3/c cadet. I am excited to take classes in my new major, Management, like Financial Accounting and Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Financial Accounting has been a bit of a struggle for us all, but that’s just because it’s something most of us have never learned. I switched my major to Management because I wanted to learn about how the Coast Guard efficiently manages manpower, materials, and money. I am interested in a Human Resources ashore career between afloat assignments, and I think I can make a difference in how Coast Guard command cadre relates to its people through its Human Resources Directorate.


Watching workers complete the Academy-wide slate re-roofing project, I thought about my roots. I was born to a working class family and my community has given me an opportunity to attend college, a federal service academy at that. I am excited to learn the ins and outs of management today so that one day I can make a difference in the lives of Coast Guardsmen around the world. Pretty idealistic, so I better get to studying for my Physics II test tomorrow.


More about William.


For the Parents of Prospective Cadets

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo I know this is blog is primarily intended for prospective cadets. That being said, I’m going to take the road less traveled and address a different demographic with this entry. Many of you readers have received or will be receiving appointments to the Academy, and for that I congratulate you. And I ask you now to call your parents over, who may have mixed reactions to this occurrence in your life, and ask them to give up a couple minutes of their time for this entry.


Why hello, parents, it’s very nice to meet you! Your child just got his or her appointment, and from what I’ve heard from my own classmates, either you’re thrilled or very worried. Regardless of which category you belong to, I have some advice for you. I got it from watching my own parents, and how they’ve walked with me from day one of my Coast Guard career, starting with when I originally considered applying.


You want the best for your child and so you might very well want to offer your insight into their college choices. When you do this, remember to consider whatever you believe will make your daughter or son happiest – not just now, but in the future. Not just what you think is best, but what you see as being best for them. My parents both attended the Air Force Academy, and I actually had appointments to both there and the Coast Guard. I often get asked if they ever pushed me into accepting my USAFA appointment. I am very fortunate to be able to say “no.” This is because my parents knew a very important truth about attending a service academy – to survive at one, to thrive, you must absolutely want to be there. My parents knew me well enough to know that the Air Force was a great place, and was their dream, but not the place that would ultimately make me happy. If there was any pressure, it was toward the Coast Guard because they understood that the missions of this force aligned best with my desires and aspirations. I know they would have leapt for joy had I become a Zoomie, but they did something I have always been thankful for – they encouraged me to take a path even they didn’t know much about, and become a Coastie. (They might be wondering what went wrong, considering I grew up ten minutes from an Air Force base, but God works in very strange ways.)


They supported my decision, and I could not be more grateful for that. Parents, your child has a huge decision in front of him or her. You’ll have your own thoughts on that decision, and they may or may not line up with what your child is thinking. Please, please, please, and please again – offer your positive support wherever he or she winds up going. You have no idea just yet how much of a difference it makes to know that, even when the cadre are in your face or the homework is piled on the desk, there are people at home who are proud of you and invested in your success. It’s a difficult school, and every cadet here has bad days and wants that encouragement. Help your child stick with the challenges of the Academy – and then you’ll get that idea I just mentioned. And I’ll bet you’ll find it feels awesome.


More about Abby.


Regular College is Overrated

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo Every Veteran’s Day, cadets at the Academy have the opportunity to march in the Veteran’s Day Parade held in New York City. Luckily for me, I snagged a spot to be one of about a hundred cadets representing the Coast Guard Academy to honor America’s veterans. Although the occasion was an escape from the rigor of Chase Hall with extra liberty to enjoy the city, the parade also illustrated the reverence of the servicemen and women who have already served and sacrificed for our country.


A captain giving a pre-parade talk to the Coast Guard group, consisting of cadets, officers, enlisted and auxiliary, summed up the purpose of the cadets perfectly. The great majority of cadets never served prior to attending the Academy, and had only experienced military life through the Academy, making us seem very miniscule in comparison to the officers and enlisted with years of duty. Although with the little experience we had, the captain emphasized the importance that we represent the future of our Coast Guard following in the footsteps of those before us.


This had a large impact on me because sometimes I wonder what have I done, I only go to school? But there is a larger reason that the captain highlighted; we chose to be here, and commit to stay here to eventually graduate and be commissioned as Coast Guard officers. That decision ultimately makes us stand out from other college students because we have a larger purpose than just attending college.


More about Amy.


Snowy Day

(Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo Since I am from New Hampshire I am very much accustomed to snow days, but I have to say snow days at the Academy are pretty awesome. We got hit with Winter Snow Storm Juno at the beginning of the week and in turn got around two feet or more of snow. They announced at lunch on Monday that the Academy was going to be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday. The wardroom erupted and I knew that I was in for a good couple of days. After school, everyone rushed to the cadet bookstore and the exchange to pile up on snacks and hot chocolate and then the snow began.


On Tuesday morning we didn’t have to get up till 0745 and we were allowed to do whatever really we wanted for most of the day, besides go outside, because there was a blizzard going on. It was a great time to catch up on homework (and sleep) and everyone was in a great mood. On Wednesday the storm had died down, so we were allowed out of Chase. My friends and I decided to go and play in the snow. We went down behind the gym, near the obstacle course and had a great time sledding down hills, and playing on the obstacle course in the snow. What was really cool was seeing my friends from Florida and the south reacting to seeing snow (or a lot of snow) for the first time. Some of them liked it and others vow to never touch snow again. All in all it was a great day and I really hope there are more snow days to come.


More about Mimi.


A Month of Closure

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo December has been a month of closure. I say goodbye to 2014, and what a year it has been. 2014 was jammed packed with 4/c indoctrination boards, the end of 4/c year, 3/c summer on Eagle and a 210 foot cutter, and the first half of 3/c year. Last semester was challenging not only because I had 20 credit hours, but also because there was nobody constantly checking up on me. Unlike 4/c year, there isn’t a whole lot of pressure to keep up grades, room standards, or really much of anything. So it was a challenge to keep myself motivated when nobody was watching. At the Academy, there is a sponsor parent program, which pairs cadets with local adults around the Academy community to unwind during liberty hours. I was paired with a Senior Chief Petty Officer, who has helped me escape the Academy over the weekends to golf and enjoy good food.


Last week, I went to the International Debutante Ball in New York City, where the wealthiest families around the world introduce their daughters to high society. I got to go for free, and spend a few days in the Big Apple. The ball was amazing: the pageantry and showiness was like nothing else I’ve seen, and the ball started at 6:30 p.m. and ended around 2 a.m.! I met dukes, duchesses, and cadets from other Academies at the Waldorf-Astoria. Before the ball, I saw the United Nations Building, Rockefeller Center, and the New York City Library. It was nice to roam around aimlessly and not have to worry about school for a while.


More about William.


Coming Back for Spring Semester

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Wright Photo Happy 2015! Break was great. I loved going home, seeing family and friends, and celebrating Christmas. Unfortunately, it was all too short and now we are about to start classes again. It was difficult coming back after having been home, especially since we have to be back earlier than most colleges. Each semester here is preceded by a week of administrative stuff also known as Mid-year Administrative Processing (MAP) week (the fall session is CAP week). We have trainings pretty much daily, switch rooms, take the PFE, and meet with academic advisors. However, we also get more free time than during the normal school year, which makes it easier to transition back into school. Everyone says that the spring semester flies by, which is great since I can’t wait for summer!


More about Erin.


Round 2

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo The last time I wrote one of these blogs, I was looking forward to going home for Columbus Day. I was a fourth class cadet, full of hope and motivation. Now, however... nothing’s changed. First semester was definitely something else. One class in particular, Statics and Engineering Design (SED), was especially the bane of my existence. This class had no mercy and proved to be a formidable course that would eventually drive me, as well as many of my shipmates, to the brink of madness. The only reason I got off that class with a C+ is because of the help of instructors and shipmates. Going to tutoring sessions and dragging a buddy to come with you is a great way to study. In fact, the mutual suffering brings you closer. Seriously though, studying with a friend is one of the best ways to learn. You teach each other, correct each other, and may even find new ways to think. This is one of the great things at the Academy; everyone’s a student, but, at the same time, everyone’s a teacher.


Now that first semester is over, we’re in MAP week. This is when everyone returns to the Academy and prepares for the next semester. Despite classes not being in session yet, it’s a pretty busy week because of things such as class scheduling, roommate switches and almost falling asleep during trainings. The busiest day was Wednesday, when the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft came and addressed the Corps of Cadets. He talked about leadership, the Coast Guard’s future plans and even handed out a few sea stories. I think everyone took something from his words, and whatever they take will show in how they do in the semester.


More about Olivia.


Something Different

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Quintero Photo Last semester I took a class at Connecticut College and I learned a new way of thinking and experienced something different that I had not been exposed to at the Academy. Conn College is a liberal arts college across the street from the Academy and they offer very different courses than the Academy. Cadets in good standing, with the approval from the Dean of Academics, get an opportunity to take a class across the street. When I attended my first class over there, all the students were looking at me when I first came into the classroom, because I stuck out like a sore thumb. That is because we still have to wear our uniforms to class. There are many differences between the Academy and Conn cultures that I noticed on the initial day, first off there is no need to ask permission from the instructor to come into the classroom and if you come in late there are no penalties. Secondly, you are not required to stand at attention when the professor comes into the classroom. Lastly, some professors like to set a comfortable environment by having the students call them by their first name. To any college student the latter are merely everyday things, for me it was unorthodox. However, soon I would find out that my new classmates and I were not very different from each other. We both enjoyed the gifts of life such as sports, music and good food. The class I took required every student to attend five cultural events, and it forced me to experience new things I would have probably never ventured out to!


More about Carlos.


Last First Day of School

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Today marked the “last” first day of school for my undergraduate degree. It is crazy to think about that and to finally write our graduation year at the top of my papers. The corps just returned from winter break, which was full of sand for some and snow for others. I was fortunate enough to go home for a week to spend time with my family and friends before heading over to the west coast of Florida for the swimming and diving training trip. My time spent at home was very relaxing and fun. It was great to spend time with the people I care about and miss so much while I am at school. The training trip was a lot of hard work but also very fun.


It was hard coming back to school mostly because of the significant change of weather, but I am happy to be back with my friends and to complete this final semester together. Our billet lists are due in a couple of days, which is exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. I am ready to submit my list just to stop thinking about it until Billet Night in March.


Not much to report yet for this semester. Since classes just started, the homework, quizzes, papers, and tests have not begun, but they will before I know it.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their loved ones and I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!


More about Sara.


Happy 2015!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo It is a surreal feeling to finally be in the year that my classmates and I are graduating. Since Swab Summer, “2015” has accompanied us through our cadet experience. We were referred to as the “Class of 2015” and that was where our identity lied.


Going into the last semester at the Academy, I am feeling bittersweet about graduating. Just when the routine at the Academy is becoming familiar, it is almost time for us to leave. We are all looking into available billets, which are the job assignments and locations for ensigns. Our jobs and the responsibilities involved in being an officer seem so foreign right now even though it is in our near future. Aside from planning for the future and putting in for assignments, I am excited for all the events coming up for us! I am most excited about spending my last semester with my friends and having a good time before we disperse across the United States.


As a class, we were pretty successful at leading the corps fall semester, I hope we can continue our positive influence spring semester and set the underclass up for success as they finish off their Academy experience and eventually join us in the operational fleet.


I was very fortunate to have a good 2014 and I looking forward to what 2015 will hold for me! First off will be the last first day of classes!


More about Wu.


Admiration and Faith in my Shipmates and Service

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo Aaaaaaaand we’re back! Given my hectic schedule this past semester, I have not had an opportunity to post a blog in quite some time. But fear not! You are just in time for a crash course in everything that I have experienced since getting those blue shields!


In mid May, I became the Hotel Company Commander during the end of the year Change of Watch Ceremony. No more than 24 hours after pinning on my four stripes, I was on a flight to my first assignment of the summer: five weeks aboard the USCGC Sturgeon out of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Championed a “mighty warship” by its crew, Sturgeon is an 87’ patrol boat that has a variety of missions throughout the Gulf of Mexico. While onboard the Sturgeon, I had the opportunity to drive the cutter on my own, earn my qualification to carry OC spray (not a pleasant experience, trust me), train with the Marine Safety Response Team (MSRT- essentially, the Coast Guard equivalent to Navy Seals), board recreation and shrimping boats, and manage various collaterals that a junior officer would be assigned. I also acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge from my Commanding Officer. At 25 years old, LTJG Burke is tasked with being the Captain of a multi-million dollar Coast Guard asset. That’s pretty darn incredible! Mr. Burke taught me a great deal about ship handling and leadership through empowerment. In the time I got away from the ship, I even managed to experience New Orleans. Proud to say I can eat crawfish like a true Southerner – heads and all!


After my time in Grand Isle, I spent a week of leave in Miami. There I met my family to bid adieu to my brother as he boarded the USCGC Eagle for his 3/c summer cruise. While in Florida, my parents and I visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.


But vacation couldn’t last long – there was work that needed to be done back at the Academy. The Swabs arrived in early July and I was whisked into the duties and responsibilities of a company commander. This experience was undeniably the most rewarding leadership role I have ever experienced. I was directly responsible for leading and overseeing the growth and development of 20 2/c cadre as they indoctrinated 32 recent high school graduates into the United States military. How many 21 year olds can say that? While we did not earn Honor Company for the 2014 Swab Summer training period, we were still the best company (at least in my opinion, but I may be a little biased)!


After seven weeks of tremendous responsibility, the rest of the corps promptly arrived in August, eager to meet the Class of 2018 and ready to start a new academic semester. The fall Change of Watch Ceremony was held and I passed on my responsibilities as the company commander pinning on my one strip 1/c shoulder boards. I was ready to fulfill my duty as a division head within my company.


This past semester has deniably been my favorite. I received my highest term GPA, highest physical fitness exam score, single handedly organized the ‘Dress for Success’ event for the junior class, performed at the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum in San Francisco, California, in addition to numerous other performances in New York City and in the greater New England area, and I earned a leading role in the cadet musical. While on leave in December, I was notified that five of my classmates and I have been selected to compete and represent the USCGA in the ‘International Law of Armed Conflict Competition’ in San Remo, Italy this upcoming March from our success in the Coast Guard Academy’s International Law Class.


This semester also reiterated my admiration and faith in my shipmates and service. My friends and classmates are literally some of the greatest people I know and I am beyond excited to start our final semester together. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished as a team thus far and am anxious to see where our future careers lead us – especially as we are in the process of authoring our first station requests form. It’s undeniable, odd class years have it going on.


Go Bears! Go 2015!


More about Victoria.