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Memorization? Not Just for Indoc Anymore!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo The Coast Guard Academy, while being a STEM school, also has a highly engaged and active Humanities Department. 4/c year, cadets are required to take an English class each semester. This semester, I’m in Honors Writing about Literature, in which cadets spend time composing, memorizing, and reciting a poem in front of the class. The prompt this year was to write about a significant moment in our lives, or a situation that took our emotions to different ends of the spectrum, and model that poem after one studied in class or on our own. In my poem, based on “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, I reflected on the influence of my dad, specifically his three-month deployment to Qatar with the Air Force, on my own military career.

 

Usually writing and reciting is all for the assignment; for myself and a few others, though, that recitation goes further, into a full-fledged competition. We participated in a 4/c Poetry Slam, performing our pieces for our classmates and Academy faculty. Poems compete in two categories, “Best Performance” and “Best Poem,” with a winner and an honorable mention for each. Some poems were very personal and poignant, perhaps relating the sickness or pain of a loved one; a couple went for a more humorous touch, for example, one that satirically demonstrated an obsession with social media! It’s a small-scale competition, but once again, an opportunity to perform for an audience and utilize our creative talents. All the poems were very well-written, with beautiful images and emotion underneath them. I had a blast presenting for the crowd, and hearing the unique poems my classmates had created!

 

I’m really hoping to take more English and creative writing classes later on at the Academy; I hadn’t realized how much writing means to me until I got here. There’s not a whole lot of writing required of cadets, especially for me as a science major; but, if you want to explore language more, there are plenty of opportunities for creative writing contests, publication in a student literary magazine, and so on. I never expected to get such a kick out of editing papers, and scribbling down the thoughts in my head. Just another way this place gets to you, I suppose…

 



More about Abby.

 

But Ma, I Don’t Want to Take Boards

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Doctolero Photo It’s that time of year again and I have never been so glad not to be a 4/c. Boards are coming up. The 4/c board is basically a 10 question “What fun facts do you know about the Coast Guard?” test. The thing that stinks is that the packet for the test is like 80 pages and you have no idea what they are going to ask so you have to study the whole thing. As a 3/c, I offer help but if the 4/c don’t want it, then the only real thing you have to do is take them to the exam and stand there and listen. Luckily for me my 4/c is self-sufficient so I just took him to the board and he passed on the first try. Yay me! Some kids take five or six tries to pass. This year the board was ridiculously easy. Compared to our exam, they basically spoon fed the answers.

 

On the bright side, spring break was awesome! It was my first time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Unfortunately, I could have done without all the wind, but you can’t have it all. It’s a beautiful place, but it still doesn’t beat Miami. I live where others vacation; I’m proud of my city.

 

Anyway, now we are just waiting for all the other 4/c to pass boards so that they can get carry-on. And that means that our 3/c privileges are right around the corner. Woo-hoo civies and shorts! I can’t wait. And when I say shorts, I don’t mean an article of clothing in which people wear on the lower halves of their body to show off their legs. It means that you can sleep someplace other than Chase Hall on Saturday night. As boring as these things sound, it means a lot to you when you’re a cadet. They take away the basics and give them back one by one to make you think you’re getting something great. It’s kind of like taking one of your friend’s bracelets in January then giving it to her as a gift for her birthday in October. She had no idea she already owned it and is just happy to get a gift.

 

 


More about Rheanastasia.

 

In the Finest Tradition of Procrastination!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo To all my blog readers, I apologize for my lengthy absence from the cadet blog pages. I’ve decided that I will finally sit down and let you all know what I have been doing. In the finest tradition of procrastination, I am using this blog post as an excuse to not write a paper or take an online test!

 

March was a very busy month. For some reason, the spring semester here flies by in the blink of an eye. Coast Guard Crew traveled to Clemson, South Carolina for a week of training. We drove down, instead of flying this year; the passenger-side mirror fell off in a toll booth outside Baltimore, and we ended up adding five hours to our trip, waiting at a service station for repairs! Spring break only got better from there: we practiced twice daily, and sometimes three times a day. The water was calm, the weather was warm but not hot, and the rowing was great. At the end of the week, we came back to dreary New London to put what we had practiced into action on the racecourse.

 

The week after we returned to the Academy, I left for Italy. I received the opportunity to represent the Coast Guard Academy at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law’s Competition for Military Academies in San Remo, Italy! As the only second-class on the team, it was a great honor to work with the firsties and be the face of the Coast Guard to teams from other military academies from around the world. The competition revolved around a simulated conference, where mixed teams (my team consisted of a German air force cadet, a Swiss army captain, and myself.) worked through different scenarios and provided advice to a “commander” about the law of armed conflict. My favorite part of the week was meeting all sorts of new friends and exploring San Remo with them; now I have contacts throughout Europe, Nigeria, and India if I ever vacation there! San Remo had great food, warm temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Of course, when we returned to New London, Connecticut it had none of these things.

 

My flight from Italy landed in Boston at 2215 last Friday, and we got back to Chase Hall at 0230. I woke up at 0600 for our first regatta against Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, Wesleyan won by fifteen seconds. That won’t be happening again! We are practicing twice as intensely to make sure we race well and rank at the top of our league. As Coach says, “The days when Coast Guard was the whipping boy of our league are over.” Now we have to show everyone that!

 

There is so much more happening this semester. Ring Dance is coming up quickly: it is the last weekend of April. I don’t know if I can wait until the end of the month to get my class ring! It’ll be a great bonding moment as a class—the end is in sight! We are also competing at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia in early May. This will be the first time we have competed there since the 1970s, and I can’t wait to show the rowing community how resurgent we are! Then there is summer training coming…but that is best left for another post!

 

If you want to help me procrastinate more, please email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu with your questions, comments, or concerns. Have a great Coast Guard day, readers!

 

 


More about Peter.

 

1/c Summer: Internships and Underway

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo As great as the school year is, a huge part of our education comes during our summers. Each class has a specific summer plan designed to build leadership skills and introduce them into the operational Coast Guard. 4/c summer is Swab Summer, an introduction and boot camp program for incoming cadets. 3/c is your first experience in the fleet where you work as a non-rated enlisted member. 2/c summer you act as a cadre training the incoming cadets as well as practicing your leadership skills on T-boats and the new L-44’s. Finally 1/c summer is back out to the fleet. It allows you to “shop” for a job that you will enjoy as an ensign, as well as getting you familiar with life as a junior officer.

 

This summer I am going to CGC Willow, which is a 225-foot buoy tender home ported out of Newport, Rhode Island. I am excited to work with the ship’s officers and crew to see what life is like on a black hull, and see if it is something that I want to do once I graduate. The second part of my summer is in Seward, Alaska as an intern at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Here, I will be working with injured seals that need rehabilitation. Once again, I have been lucky to receive an amazing opportunity. This rounds out my summer so that I not only receive professional military training, but also a fantastic academic experience.

 

I am looking forward to the rest of the semester, and to see what the summer brings. Spring semester always flies, especially with spring training for rowing. After the summer is over, I will be a 1/c cadet and only one year from graduation.

 



More about Alex.