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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

April and the Living’s…Relatively Hard

(Academics, Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo I feel terrible that I haven’t been able to post in so long, but to put it lightly, my workload has been absolutely insane as of late. Papers are flying in everywhere, nautical charts need to be prepped, tests and quizzes are being taken, and presentations are being given. On top of that, so much more has been added to the ever-increasing workload that a cadet will entertain here.

 

On an extremely happy note, I am pleased to say that I got accepted to the Jewish Institute for National Student Affairs (JINSA) Military Program over my firstie (!!!!!!!!) summer, meaning that I get to go to Israel for three weeks and work with the Israeli Defense Forces as well as learn of the history and culture of Israel and its relationship with Palestine. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel due to my deep interest in the subject matter and its potential for leadership and military knowledge. That’s going to be an incredible three weeks.

 

For the other 8/9 weeks of my summer, I will be aboard the USCGC Seahawk out of Panama City, Florida. It is an 87-foot patrol boat, with an entirely enlisted crew. To say I’m not nervous would be a lie, as this will be the first time I’m onboard a REAL coast guard cutter (Sorry Eagle, but you’re not!) and I plan on getting some serious knowledge and leadership experience in. On a fun note, one of my swabs and now-4/c in my company will be coming with me, so that will be quite a good time switching from the role of a 2/c to 4/c relationship into the role of a 1/c to 3/c one. Nevertheless, it should be a great time.

 

Lacrosse has struggled a bit as of late. We’re 1-3 on the season, and after starting out ranked 6th in the nation, we moved down to 21st. Such is life. We have a game on Wednesday against Southern Connecticut State, so hopefully all will go according to plan and we can continue our winning ways.

 

Well, that’s about all I have time for, as a presentation on the Myth of Sisyphus is calling my name. Not really, but I have to do it anyway.

 

 


More about Sam.

 

One Coin Worth More than a Paycheck

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo While the paycheck at the Academy is an incentive to some, it turns out that some of the “coins” cadets receive aren’t produced by the U.S. Treasury. Many civilians ask me how I spend my paycheck – to be brief it’s broken up in the following way. 1) The Basic Life Requirements: Haircuts for gents, laundry, wardroom meals, along with a number of other expenses are automatically taken out of biweekly paychecks. 2) The Academy Necessities: This includes all of the uniform issues and formal tickets that test our etiquette skills and ability to keep it classy. 3) The College Wish List: Every wish can’t be fulfilled with our paycheck, but we are extremely lucky to balance the cost of textbooks, some sports equipment, travel home, and entertainment if we budget carefully.

 

Overall, that steady paycheck can help to make the Academy a rewarding experience. But even more gratifying are the experiences had here. One of my favorite opportunities so far has been participating in the color guard, specifically at the Major Cutters Commanding Officers Dining In event on base in February 2014. The yearly event is hosted at the Academy and in addition to all the major cutter CO’s who attend, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and many distinguished guests also come. It was very nerve-racking to present the colors in front of so much gold, knowing in the back of my mind they very well could be the ones to write my evaluations in a few years. The audience collectively had accomplished an unimaginable magnitude of good and at the end of the event Admiral Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, mentioned that my 3/c classmates and I would be the ones to take their place someday as future leaders of the service. In recognition of our small contribution at the event, he presented all nine of us on the line with his challenge coin – a highly regarded tradition in the service. On one side it reads his name, “Admiral Bob Papp” and Commandant, while the other reads “Shipmates Semper Paratus”.

 

Receiving Admiral Papp’s challenge coin didn’t add to my paycheck, nor did participating in that color guard event necessarily help my grade in Differential Equations, but in the long term that accomplishment is what sets the Academy apart. The idea that one coin can be worth more than a paycheck makes the nightly feeling of exhaustion just a little more satisfying.

 



More about Sarah.

 

From Coast Guard to Army and Back

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) as part of the Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP). It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The people there were fantastic. My two roommates were extremely accommodating, explaining everything from how to get haircuts to traditions for football games. The Army crew team is an amazing group of guys who welcomed me with open arms and ergs. It was my pleasure to compete with them. All of my instructors were extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to help when I had a question. Obviously West Point is different than the Coast Guard Academy and I wanted to highlight the differences between two factors: academics and cadet leadership.

 

Going to another service academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I couldn’t pass up. It was also great for putting my time at CGA in perspective. In general, I found the academics at USMA to be less rigorous than at CGA, in particular, the lab periods were extremely limited due to West Point’s schedule. Additionally, classes at USMA meet for an average of 2.5 hours a week for a 3-credit class whereas Coast Guard classes meet 3 hours per week, meaning that there is less class time per week. At USMA, this means slightly lighter class loads but a longer semester in order to meet the required class time. Due to their size though, West Point offers a much larger selection of classes and majors than CGA does.

 

On a military and leadership note, I think that West Point has a more cadet run chain of command. The brigade staff at West Point truly runs the Corps of Cadets. As a second class cadet (they call it a cadet sergeant) you are in charge of four to six underclassmen. The equivalent level of responsibility at Coast Guard is reserved for seniors, instead of juniors. This exposes cadets to command earlier in their career. Because USMA is so much larger than CGA, the companies and their company commanders have much more autonomy than at CGA. The USMA Corps of Cadets is a great unit and I was proud to be a part, even if only for a semester.

 

I was extremely grateful for this unique opportunity. I was able to see how the Army does things, and I was hopefully able to improve my personal leadership ability and bring something valuable back to the Coast Guard Academy.

 



More about Alex.