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One Giant Leap for the Class of 2016, One Small Step Back for Some

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo The sun is shining, short-sleeved tropical blue uniforms and operational dress uniforms with sleeves rolled up are breaking out, flowers are blooming, and all due to one simple fact…the class of 2016 finally received carry on! Okay, so spring might have had something to do with most of that, but that’s beside the point. The Academy has never seemed like a brighter place before April 15, 2013 at approximately 12:20 in the afternoon. That is when it was announced at lunch: the fourth class finally can talk to their friends in the passageways, walk normally to class, eat like human beings, and most importantly – use social media networking legally again.

 

I stress the word legally because while this week was definitely a huge milestone to our class, we also had a huge setback as well. This setback is all due to the popular social networking application, Instagram, which allows users to post photos and to comment on and like their friend’s photos. The setback occurred on the Friday preceding carry on when a guidon, the 2/c in charge of training the 4/c, found a member of my class’s Instagram account. Of course, she was not the only one who had one; I would say at least one-third of our class did. As soon as everyone found out she had gotten caught, we all quickly deleted ours hoping to avoid any further consequences. However, later that weekend, everyone was asked to admit if they posted to Instagram, so everyone who had one, whether they deleted it or not, admitted it. As our consequence, every fourth class who had the popular social networking application received a Class II offense which included 15 demerits, 1 marching tour, and 2 working hours. Needless to say, the sixty of us at Restricted Cadet Formation, held at 1930 and 2200 on weekdays and 1300, 1600, 1930, and 2200 on weekends, looked kind of silly.

 

The punishment we received was very fair, considering our Fourth Class Expectation Packet had clearly indicated we were not to use any social networking sites. However, it was definitely a downer on my weekend considering it was my birthday on Saturday. Nonetheless, my mom still came to visit me and brought me cake in the shape of a Juicy Couture purse, and she brought me food from the real world since I couldn’t leave the Academy. Not to mention, my friends decorated my room with pink balloons and a birthday banner. I suppose I had the best birthday a restricted cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy could have.

 

With all of this said, I must stress to follow all of the rules given to you at the Academy. They are here for a reason – to help you. If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me! Samantha.E.Corcoran@uscga.edu 

 



More about Samantha.

 

Where Has Time Gone!?

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman PhotoIt’s already the third week of April, and here I am just now writing my blog for March! I kept thinking "it’s only the beginning of April, I have time to write", and then WHAM! Here it is and we’re less than 2 weeks from the end of classes! Time has flown.

 

This blog is going to be shorter than normal because I’m switching over to video blogs! That’s right, I won’t be writing as often, but instead will be making short videos about Academy life and posting them to the website. I’m hoping to get an introductory video and maybe another one out before summer training starts (2nd week of May!). I may still write short blog entries from time to time, but I’m going to try to go completely digital. This is exciting—wish me luck! Hopefully you’ll see me soon!

 



More about Justin.

 

Writer’s Block

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Oh my goodness, I cannot believe that it is so close to the end of the school year. But of course, like any good thing, something negative is attached. In my case, that negative would be the three term papers hanging over my head… I calculated that by the end of the semester, I will have written approximately 70 to 80 pages for my various classes. Maybe I should publish them all in a book!

 

For my National Security Policy class, I am writing about the war on drugs. This is my first term paper—EVER. When I first received the assignment, the 15-page limit terrified me. As a first draft, I took whatever facts I had, and slapped them on paper like spaghetti on the walls. Needless to say, not much stuck. So, I have to go back and write an argument in that paper.

 

In my Presidential Policy class, I chose to examine the efficacy of our 21st President, Chester Arthur. In case you don’t know who he is, check out what the White House website has to offer. I’m struggling with crafting an argument about just how effective he was; after all, he was a forgotten President. I’m halfway through the paper right now, but I have to go back and rewrite most of it. At least it isn’t due for another week or so!

 

Lastly, in my Social Science Research Methods class, my professor has assigned a group paper of 25 to 30 pages, to be written with a partner. The kicker is that this paper must be written like a scholarly article: complete with empirical data and analysis. My partner, 3/c Stephanie Figgins, and I chose to investigate the impact of age and income on one’s political ideology. I’m sorry: I won’t keep the suspense… Suffice to say that we are really struggling with finding the motivation to write this paper!

 

But on the bright side, there are only two weeks of school left from today! That means only a few more tests in Physics and these papers stand between my summer and me. I am super-excited for Swab Summer—it’ll be a great experience from the other side of the program. 2017, I hope you all are as excited as we are here in New London! As always, I promise not to bite if you email me questions at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu. Best of luck to everyone as you finish school and make your summer plans!

 



More about Peter.

 

A Lacrosse Victory

(Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo This past year at the Academy I have been a member of the lacrosse team. We compete in Division II of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, meaning that the lacrosse team in the Academy is a club sport. Don’t let the word club fool you, we compete against bigger schools than many of the varsity sports and club sports at the Academy and are in many aspects just as competitive as the varsity sports.

 

This past Sunday we played against our biggest rivals, Briarcliffe College. We played them seven times in the past four years, losing all the games including last year’s conference championship game – by one in overtime. Needless to say that we had had the game circled on our calendar all season. The anticipation built in the week leading up to the game as practices became more and more intense. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, it was the day of the game.

 

After waking up at 9:00 and getting some breakfast, I went down to the locker room at 10:00 and dressed for a team photo at 10:30. We were all excited to finally play the game, and could hardly wait to get on the field. After a couple pregame speeches, we took the field for warm ups at noon. As we warmed up, more and more Academy cadets, alumni, and other fans came down to the field. By the time of face off, Cadet Memorial Field was packed. Each goal we scored brought louder and louder cheering, as the intensity in the stadium ramped up. It was great seeing the whole Academy come out to support the team, but the best part was winning, 17-7.

 

After the game the team hung around a while and celebrated the victory with friends and family. It was great to see the seniors finally beat a team that they had never beaten before, and get the Briarcliffe monkey off our backs before the playoffs. I can’t wait to continue on into the playoffs, and hopefully bring a championship back to CGA.

 



More about James.

 

Summer: So Close Yet So Far

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo With the end of classes quickly approaching and my summer right around the corner, I find it hard to concentrate in classes. All I can think about is what I will be doing in just a few weeks. I was lucky enough to get just what I asked for as a summer assignment. I will be on phase one of Eagle and then heading off to USCGC Healy in Seattle, Washington. I’ve never been to any of the places I’m scheduled to stop at before, so this should be a summer to remember! I’m just so ready to finish with 4/c year, become a 3/c, and get some experience in the fleet. Moreover, this summer will really give me the opportunity to meet more of my classmates (since it’s so hard to get to know your class when you’re squaring around in the wardroom and hallways in Chase Hall). I know I should be focusing on the crazy amounts of homework and the long list of tests left to tackle before this semester finally ends, but it’s just so hard when you have the opportunity of a lifetime waiting right around the corner.

 

On a separate note, congratulations to those who have received an appointment – especially those who have accepted them! 2015 and 2016 cannot wait to welcome you aboard ;)

 

As always, if you have any questions or need advice I am here to help you out as best as I can. Don’t feel shy to ask a question about swab summer or 4/c year – there is no such thing as a stupid question!

 



More about Cameo.

 

100th Week and Swab Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo It is finally spring, and that means that the end of the school year is fast approaching. With it brings warm weather, spring crew, and finals. It also brings us closer to 100th week. This week is the culmination of leadership training for 3/c cadets, and brings them into the role of 2/c class. This training is conducted by the Recruit Training Center company commanders who are responsible for the training all the incoming enlisted personnel for Coast Guard. This is an incredibly important time period, because it allows us to practice our leadership on our classmates and receive immediate feedback from the people who know basic recruit training the best. Team dynamics are also developed during 100th week, allowing each member of our cadre team to fall into a role that suits them most comfortably. I will be Swab Summer 1, which means that I will be interacting with the incoming swabs in and around Chase Hall. It is also my section’s responsibility to provide them the basic training required to complete the rest of the summer, as well as the school year. I am excited to be able to work with such qualified personnel, and to train the future of the Coast Guard.

 



More about Alex.

 

Just An Applicant

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo As I pause between lots of homework, I reflect on something that has happened to me recently. There was a prospective cadet (a visiting high school senior) in October that came to Echo Company. He was not my prospective cadet, but I found out that he played lacrosse, so we talked a bit. He seemed pretty cool, and we just kept talking about lacrosse, his senior year, and his application process. Eventually we parted ways, and I wished him luck. His almost-required thanks came out, but it seemed to be much more full of gratitude than the other applicants I had talked too. Nevertheless, that was it, and once again concentrated on my own prospective cadet.

 

Every so often, I do get responses from Academy hopefuls due to these blogs, and they’re great. I love getting in contact with them and wishing them well on their way to appointment or to other tracks of life. Well, a few days ago I got a response from none other than the prospective cadet from Michigan, saying he was in the same situation as I had been in: he was being medically disqualified, but for him, it was about years-old asthma, not non-existent psoriasis. He, too, had already been accepted prior to getting disqualified. What got me was this part of his opening paragraph:

 

“But yes, I want to attend the USCGA with everything in me, and I don't think I could even bare to get this close just to have it stripped away by something like this. I intend to do everything possible to get to the USCGA.” 

 

The flashback that came to me was a painful one. When I got my medical rejection letter, I threw it on the ground, ran upstairs to my room, sat on my bed, and just looked at the ceiling. At that very moment, it seemed that everything I had worked for was for nothing. The fact that I knew this kid was feeling that same feeling got me thinking. No one should have to go through that. To be accepted and then denied through medical hurts pretty bad.

 

I immediately responded, giving all the advice I could about how to approach the situation. We again talked lacrosse (we’re 9-1, by the way) and at this point I really wanted the kid to get accepted. He had everything that I remembered I had going into this place – dreams to go to an elite school while playing lacrosse and ending up with a commission in a U.S. armed service. It’s so easy to forget that’s why we’re here, and how fortunate we are to attend USCGA. It’s a privilege, nowhere near a right or obligation. We continued the conversation until we had said pretty much all that could be said, and he again thanked me and told me he’d update me as soon as there was stuff to be updated on.

 

For his sake, and mine, I truly hope he gets the waiver. There are kids beyond dedicated to coming here, with expired medical issues that no longer affect them, and still get rejected. Nevertheless, it’s just another roadblock, and no matter what, I have the firm belief that the senior from Michigan will be going places, whether it’s USCGA or elsewhere.

 

It’s not just the Academy and cadets that have an impact on the prospective cadets. Sometimes those prospective cadets have an impact on the cadets themselves.

 



More about Sam.

 

Time Machine for a Day

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo This second video blog is a brief collection of the events that occurred on the class of 2016's one hundredth day at the Academy. On this day, as per tradition, the class of 2014, our former Swab Summer cadre, acted like 4/c cadets and the class of 2016 acted like 2/c cadets. 100th day is one of my best memories from 4/c year and of the Academy as a whole experience.

Sarah's video blog YouTube Icon

 



More about Sarah.

 

A Shot in the Dark

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo Never in my right mind would I have ever imagined myself to be in the position that I am today. Twice a week, instead of rushing down to the gym after class, I find myself quietly making my way to the bowels of Chase Hall and onto the rifle range. For the following two hours I stand, kneel, and lie prone through round after round of practice. On the weekends, we whisk ourselves away in the Academy vans to compete against other teams. Other times, we stay here and host matches.

 

Rifle is one of the two NCAA Division I varsity sports offered here at the Academy (the other is sailing). However, despite this unique position, our sport usually goes unnoticed by most. Rifle does not require the kind of physical exertion that other sports are known for. There is no impact, little sweat, and a peculiar kind of athleticism associated with our sport. In light of this downplay, I am finally giving credit where it is due. Not only do we work as hard as any other sport, we have one of the longest seasons here.

 

Rifle has opened many doors for me. Initially, I was skeptical about the sport and joining was a shot in the dark for me (pun intended). I had no idea what to expect. However, the outcome has presented me with many more possibilities than I could have anticipated. For starters, rifle allowed me to participate in a varsity extracurricular activity despite my injury. As I have found out that I will not be able to row for the remainder of my time here, rifle has also given me the opportunity to learn a new skill and improve myself in a whole new way. I have many new friends on the team; people I would have probably never spoken to otherwise. Also, since the start of the 2012-2013 season, our team has come a long way. We even moved up from the sharpshooter to the expert small bore division. Every single person on the team has achieved personal records this year, and we fought our way into the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship for air rifle. Although we didn’t win, everyone shot really well and we are really excited about what we will be capable of next year.

 



More about Alexis.

 

A World of Possibilities

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo For me, the start of a new semester is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Right now, the Academy teems with all sorts of emotions and activities as cadets prepare for a fresh start. Looking around, I see a world of possibilities. Embracing my friends as they return from a much-needed winter break, we rally around our revived ambitions. This semester, indeed, will surely be better than the last. Likewise, I find myself wearing a smile fueled by hope as I navigate through our Mid-year Academic Preparation (MAP) week. Unlike folks at normal colleges, cadets report back to school early in order to make arrangements for the new semester. The routine is usually the same: we move rooms/roommates, we get new divisions/departments, there is a change of command, as well as new books, class schedules, and a variety of trainings/meetings. Nonetheless, there is ample time to catch up with friends and take one last sigh of relaxation before classes begin.

 

Looking at my schedule, my lips press into a thin line, my optimistic grin fading ever so slightly. In my hands is the real deal - my first real taste of being a Mechanical Engineer major. Dynamics, Engineering Material Science, Differential Equations, Physics II, Ships and Maritime Systems, Applications of Navigation, Spatial Recognition, and Lifetime Sports (racquetball/golf). Of course, a handful of these classes are simply required courses for all 3/c cadets. However, a part of me trembles at the difficulty of my schedule. Sometimes, and yes I am not afraid to admit this, I wonder why I thought engineering was a good idea at all. Why jump into the unknown, challenging world of mathematics and science when I could be perfectly comfortable doing something I’m good at (reading and writing) in a completely different academic department.

 

I suppose a part of me couldn’t resist. You see, I am wired with this odd, innate tendency to see a challenge and run after it, rather than away from it. I also know that engineering, despite how harrowing the material is, will keep every single graduate school opportunity open for me. Although I do not know if I will go, or what I would pursue if I did, a part of me relishes the idea that this is still a possibility simply because of the major I have chosen. And like I said before, right now is the time to savor all of these possibilities, including what next week’s classes will hold.

 



More about Alexis.

 

Onward and Upward

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Dear blog readers,

 

Today is April 12, 2013, and it is FRIDAY!!! This week has flown by and by this I mean that I would believe it if someone told me that today was Wednesday instead of Friday. Now in the homestretch of many of my classes, the semester has about two weeks left before finals week and then summer assignments!!! My shipmates and I can barley wait for May 11th, when we all board USCGC Eagle and head for the Caribbean. I am pretty lucky because most of my closest friends will all be on the same Eagle phase as me, in addition, I will be going to summer school after Eagle and many of my friends will be doing the same. I am taking summer school courses because I started in the Introduction to Calculus class rather than Calculus 1, and I am a Marine and Environmental Science major now, which means that I need to be done with Calculus 2 by next semester. I will also be taking a leadership course this summer, which will be put me ahead and give me an extra space for an elective somewhere down the road.

 

Classes have been going pretty well for me this semester although they have been a bit more challenging than last semester. Statics and Chemistry have been probably the hardest classes but I have also been working pretty hard in Honors English.

 

With only two weeks left before finals, as a class, 2016 has been getting pretty excited for carry on. We are waiting for one last 4/c to pass boards and if he passes on Sunday, then WE GET CARRY ON!!! I am super excited and really hoping that he passes. But even if he doesn’t we will have to get it at the end of the semester.

 

We are hanging in there and I cannot believe that I am about to be a third class cadet in a month!!! I am so excited about my future in the Academy and in the Guard. The Atlantic Area Commander came and spoke to the core yesterday and he was very motivational. We have a lot to look forward to!

 

Next month will be a big one, consisting of my BIRTHDAY, finals, and EAGLE!!!

 

Good bye for now!

-Lucy

 



More about Lucy.

 

April Showers Bring May Flowers

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo Spring is attempting to come peak out of its winter hibernation one colorful flower at a time. With spring comes a flurry of last minute tests, huge projects and any other work that will hopefully get our grades where we need them to be. We only have a month or so until we have our summer trainings to think about. Starting to think about what the summer brings gets me excited to learn and grow as a leader. Granted I did not get the cadre section I had hoped for, I am still looking forward to helping the swabs grow as leaders but more importantly as effective followers. This summer marks the turning point for our class where we go from the effective followers to the leaders, and hopefully learn something in the process. I often stop to think how far we have come since it was our turn to raise our right hand and take the oath of office, not knowing what was coming next. Some of us were newly graduated high school kids, some came from prep school, while others were prior enlisted or came from college. Whatever the case, these strangers were now going to see us cry, laugh, and help us through the tough times.

 

As often as we think about the bad things about this place, and how much it can bring you down, we forget to stop and be thankful for the good things that we do have, that very few people only imagine of doing. The bonds we have here will never be broken, regardless of the years and miles that separate us. We are like a big family, where most of the people will have your back no matter what. They will be there for you through the good, but will also give you a helping hand when you are down. That is what I like the most about this place. There will always be someone there when the going gets tough and you think that there is no hope left. I can’t wait for the summer, to instill in my future swabs the same work ethic my cadre instilled in me.

 



More about Cameo.

 

Chart Corrections to Bring to Nautical Science

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo This first video blog is about Fundamentals of Navigation, a series of courses I did not realize were part of the yearly Academy curriculum until becoming a cadet. Every cadet takes these classes and it is one of the most applicable courses for our careers. Nautical Science has been one of my favorite lectures and labs so far  the instructors are very engaging and always available for extra guidance.

Sarah's video blog YouTube Icon

 



More about Sarah.

 

Carry On! The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo At long last, the fourth class has passed boards! It has taken nearly seven weeks, but we’ve done it. Getting carry on is the second most significant part of our young Coast Guard careers, behind taking the oath on Reporting-In day. Receiving full carry on is like the grand finale to fourth class year. We’ve worked so hard mentally, physically, and emotionally to get to this point, and it has paid off. Now we have a short two weeks until we get to go on our summer assignments in the fleet.

 

Carry on changes everything for fourth class. We feel more like human beings now. We don’t have to be braced up in the hallways, meaning that no more walking in the middle with eyes in the boat, fingers curled, and greeting everyone. We can just walk normally and talk to whomever we want. At meals, we no longer have to square. We can look at our food! And we can talk to other fourth class. When going to class, we no longer have to march in section and be silent. Now, we can go to class using all the short cuts we were forbidden from previously, and we can talk to each other as we do it. On the computer, we can use social media again, watch YouTube videos, and play whatever games we please.

 

It is hard to describe how satisfying all of these privileges are when most people have never gone without them, but it is amazing.

 

Carry on is awesome, but it doesn’t mean we’re no longer fourth class. Unfortunately we still have to take out the trash, clean, and announce formation at clocks every morning and afternoon. In addition, Carry on is a privilege that can be taken away at any time. We have to be responsible and respectful or we can lose carry on and have to go back to being braced up. That would be very awful.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me any time. Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu.

 

I look forward to corresponding with you. Stay tuned for a blog on summer assignments!

 



More about Hunter.

 

Exciting April

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo We are getting so close to the end of the semester and its very exciting, but very stressful. There is so much for everyone to do aside from schoolwork that it gets overwhelming. We are all working on qualifications for next year and a lot of things are due in the next three weeks. School is picking up and it’s a race to the finish. The third class found out there cadre assignments, which makes second class summer seem so real. It’s crazy to think that we have almost made it; I can remember this time two years ago being so nervous for this summer and having so many questions. I will be a waterfront cadre, which means I will be down with the swabs teaching them how to sail. I am really happy I got waterfront cadre and think it’s the perfect fit for me. I can’t wait to be involved in developing the newest members of the cadet corps and indoctrinating them into life in the military.

 

April is an exciting month and the morale is high. Next weekend I am going down to Georgia to see my best friend, but I need to focus this week so I don’t get overwhelmed. Third class formal is also this weekend and it will be really fun for my classmates because they bring dates and it’s always nice to have a social event with all of your good friends.

 

Exams will be at the beginning of May and then we will all depart for the summer and the first class will become ensigns. This year has gone by so fast and I know this month will fly by. It’s been a great year and I love the Academy more and more everyday. This summer will continue to develop me into a leader while I have the opportunity to lead the swabs.

 

Congratulations to the class of 2017 for their appointments; you should all be very proud of yourselves because it is a tough school to get into. As you go into Swab Summer remember the reason you wanted to come. It is easy to forget why you chose the United States Coast Guard Academy, but the light at the end of the tunnel will appear and you will be happy you stuck through it.

 



More about Sara.

 

Restored Shore

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Rossi Photo For those that have been following me, know that I am from the little town of Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island on the coastline of New Jersey. Despite what is depicted on MTV’s show the “Jersey Shore,” the town I live in is nothing similar to the show. Ship Bottom is one of a few small towns on our 18-mile island and probably has about 500 residents in the winter months but a few thousand in the summer. The beautiful Island, along with the rest of New Jersey and New York had been due for the “Fifty Year Storm,” and it just so happened to come this past October. Unfortunately, my family was directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy and had to be away from home for five months. Luckily, my loving Uncle opened up his home to us and let us stay with him while the house was being rebuilt. Fortunately, I was able to stay with my family in our house over Easter weekend. Although everything was not finished, it still felt nice to be in my home with everyone.

 

Despite the delay in returning home my family, with support from our friends and relatives, were able to overcome. I’d like to especially like to thank my Uncle Matt, my best friends Bobby and Brian along with their families for opening their homes to me over winter leave, and lastly my close friends at the Academy (you guys know you who you are) for being my support, I could not have made it through with out you all.

 



More about Michael.

 

A Sprint To The Finish

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Simon Photo The last few months have been a whirlwind here at CGA, and it has been quite some time since I’ve written a blog, but better late than never, I suppose…

 

It’s officially springtime here in Connecticut, meaning warmer weather and longer days ahead! It’s a sprint to the finish, as the corps of cadets enters the last month of classes, and summer is on the horizon.

 

The corps is starting to receive information on summer training and assignments, and the majority of the Class of 2016 has passed their 4/c Indoctrination Boards. I am relieved that both of my 4/c have passed and now they are able to dedicate their energy and attention to finishing the year strong. I have two 4/c in my division, and I am so excited for them to experience the awesome opportunities and adventures of 3/c summer as they gain knowledge in the Coast Guard fleet, and return as 3/c and role models for the Class of 2017. I have two great 4/c that I am incredibly proud of!

 

This summer I will be a cadre for the AIM summer program. This program gives rising high school seniors a glimpse of Academy life and Swab Summer. I’m ecstatic, as AIM cadre was my first choice! This summer I will have 11 weeks of training. During which I will be participating in the Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP) in either Elizabeth City, North Carolina or Mobile, Alabama. I will also be sailing on Leadership 44s for two weeks around New England during the Coastal Sail Training Program before I assume the role of AIM cadre later this summer. Overall, this summer is about developing my leadership style through working with the Aimsters and my classmates. 3/c summer was a blast, and I can’t wait to see what 2/c summer holds!

 

As this school year is nearing to a close, I started to pick my classes for 2/c year. As a Government major fulfilling the Public Policy and Law track I had many different classes to choose from. I’m really looking forward to taking Contemporary Political Theory, National Security Policy, and Creative Writing among other major specific classes and electives. Overall, it will be a good balance of government and the humanities. It’s crazy to believe that I have completed almost half of my time here at the Academy.

 

Crew season officially started on March 30 with our season opener at home against Wesleyan. I was the coxswain for the Varsity Eight boat (V8). It was fun to battle it out on the Thames River in front of the home crowd. The water and weather were nearly perfect for the scrimmage. Wesleyan is a strong crew, and we learned a lot. This weekend we will be competing against UConn, Colgate, Trinity, and Marist at UConn. I’m looking forward to another weekend of strong racing and spending time with my teammates.

 

With 2/c summer so close, I can’t wait to finish this school year and see what the summer holds! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to send them my way! Go Bears!

 



More about Lili.

 

The Upcoming Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo As this week comes to an end we are all even closer to the end of another semester at the Coast Guard Academy. At times it seems as if the world speeds up its rotation because this semester had flown by and everyone is starting to reminisce about another school year coming to an end. The first class cadets just received their billets for their first assignments afloat and all of the second and fourth classes are anxiously awaiting our summer assignment billets. The summer is always a training period for all classes so that we can continue to learn and grow even when we are not in school. Your first training summer is Swab Summer where, for most people, it is their first experience in a military environment and they have to learn and adapt to this lifestyle. Then you move on to 3/c summer where you have your first involvement in the Coast Guard fleet. The majority of 3/c go on CGC Eagle for half of the summer and then to another CG unit for the rest of the summer. During 2/c summer you are cadre for the incoming class, and it is your job to train the swabs to ensure that they are able to become part of the corps once the fall semester starts.

 

This coming summer I will be experiencing my 1/c summer, where I will learn valuable leadership traits that I hope to apply during my 1/c school year and when I become an ensign. I will go out to the fleet again to experience more hands-on missions of the Coast Guard and to decide what I want to do for my future in the Coast Guard. I hope to go to CGC Eagle again for half of the summer because of the exceptional leadership opportunities that are offered and then I hope to go to a buoy tender on the West Coast for the rest of the summer.

 



More about Brianna.

 

Words of Wisdom

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo On one balmy October morning as I was trudging, disgruntled, out of my morning Mechanics of Materials (MoM) class, I happened upon one of my other instructors. I was in no mood for small talk, frustrated with my current academic struggles, but we chatted nonetheless. I soon asked him where he was off to. With a huge grin he replied, "I'm going to meet Captain Burbank!"

 

My jaw dropped, "You mean, the Captain Burbank? As in the Coast Guard captain, aviator, astronaut?"

 

"Well of course," he laughed, "Dan and I are old buddies from when he used to teach here at the Academy. He's in the parking lot right now."

 

Captain Burbank had come to the Academy to give the engineers and aviation club a presentation during lunch; he also attended Aviation Day that Saturday. In a sad attempt to bottle my excitement, I asked Doc Adrezin if I could meet him before my next class. He nodded and gestured for me to follow. As I stepped outside I could see a figure in a royal blue flight suit approach us. I squinted against the sun as Doc Adrezin waved to him. Moments later, I found myself in the presence of one of my childhood idols. Doc Adrezin introduced us and I shyly expressed my gratitude for the inspiration he has been. Not only did he ask me to call him "Dan," but he also gave some much needed words of wisdom. Doc Adrezin had joked about how Captain Burbank should tutor me in MoM, and although I was a bit embarrassed, I admitted that the class was indeed a struggle for me. With a confident, knowledgeable tone Captain Burbank said, "If it's not a struggle, then it's not worth doing." He then smiled and wished me luck. Shaking his hand, I thanked him. We parted ways, and I ventured off to my next class standing a little taller than before.

 



More about Alexis.

 

The Late Night Woes

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Its dark, taps just went off, I have signed in for the night, its 10 p.m. and I am ready for bed. Sadly, it is only the start of my night. A lot of my friends at a “normal school” talk to me about the nights that they go to bed at 9 o'clock if they aren’t feeling too well. They were able to finish their homework during the evening, and throughout their day. Here at the Academy, it is definitely not that easy. After a long day of class, finishing around 4 p.m. we then go to our respective sports practice. Luckily for me, I do not necessarily have to go to sports. (I do inter-company sports, which counts as my sports credit.) I do tend to workout during this time frame. After running back to the barracks, I take my shower and get dressed to go to dinner. Having a pretty decent meal, I return to my room to see what I have to accomplish for the rest of the night. It’s now about 7:30 and I begin to start my list, Chemistry online homework due tomorrow night, Calculus homework due tomorrow morning, Statics of Engineering and Design homework due tomorrow afternoon with an exam the next Thursday, reading 58 pages and taking notes for Leaders in American History, and writing a paper and doing research that is due this upcoming Friday. Oh yeah, on top of that I have to go to a corps-wide lecture tomorrow night, there is a Personnel Inspection on Wednesday morning, and a formal room and wing this Saturday. (A formal room and wing is an event in which the 4/c clean the barracks. It is an all-night affair.) This is an average week in the life of a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

 

The Academy is not like a normal college at all. We have about 20-22 credit hours per semester, where each professor expects you to spend the same amount or more time on their class, than all of your other classes. Yes, we do not have to make the decision of which outfit to wear, or when to go to work, or worry about a car payment, etc. but we have a very stressful lifestyle. Every day I wake up I have a to-do list. Every night when I go to sleep it seems the list is longer. I am going to be honest with you, my readers, life is difficult and it is a hard transition from high school and even prep school. A lot of my shipmates, along with me, are having a tough semester. We, however, all see the light, even though it is dim right now, at the end of the tunnel and cannot wait to get our ensign shoulder boards in the short time frame…only 1130 days to go…

 



More about Nathan.

 

Halfway Mark!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Wu Photo It is so exciting to get past the halfway mark and having the end of the semester in sight. Everyone had a refreshing and relaxing spring break and the cadets are impatiently waiting for the warm weather to come and permanently stay at the Academy. The winter has been rough and typically has the reputation as being the “Dark Ages” here, but with the sun coming out and the temperature slowly picking up, I am excited to get back into shape! I had been suffering a minor knee injury that has kept me from regularly exercising and running, but I am slowly getting back into the swing of things and the nice weather recently has tempted me to take some nice runs outside. Running off base are truly a blessing in disguise at the Academy; it is a great stress reliever to get out of Chase Hall and explore New London or Groton! Any time you have something on your mind, whether it is school or for personal reasons, a run off base usually does the job of clearing your mind and unbundling the nerves built up.

 

The nice weather around the corner also reminds me of a very exciting summer ahead; how it is often on my mind that my classmates and I will soon embark on leadership roles this summer. It is very interesting to be on the other side of Swab Summer this time and seeing everything come together. We have multiple trainings in the morning on how the summer is going to be and the Summer Regimental Staff have been working endlessly to organize and plan. It is amazing how much we have to do this summer and how it is not just Swab Summer for us, but a whole summer full of different leadership opportunities. We also have a lot of duty to sign up for and I never realized how Chase Hall is basically run by 2/c during the summer. We have recently been signing up for different duty slots and also determining our roles as a certain cadre. It is exciting to see how the summer is just around the corner and my classmates and I are getting ready to lead individuals whether it is through Swab Summer, CGAS, or the AIM program. Aside from being cadre, I am very excited for the rest of my summer and very exciting to get everything set up for my semester at the Air Force Academy. Their semester is actually starting really early, on August 4th and I hope I will not be missing out on a lot of the summer programs we have here at the Academy. I am sure all the puzzle pieces will fall into place when the time comes! Until then, I am just taking the semester one day at a time and keeping my head above water to get to the end of the semester and through finals week!

 



More about Ellie.

 

Final Four Experiences

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo In light of the current March Madness going on in college basketball, I did some reflecting on my “final four” experiences that I’ve had here at the Coast Guard Academy. So I now present to you, in no particular order, my “final four.” (Also note that just as in the real NCAA basketball tournament, I have divided up my “final four” experiences into separate regions where they took place!).

 

#1 (East Region) Without a doubt, one of my greatest memories since coming to the Academy was getting to take part in the Presidential Inauguration parade back in January. At the time, when I was writing about and reflecting upon my experience in the parade, I remember thinking that it was a lot of fun, but I was also VERY tired, had a lot of homework to do, and had the whole semester ahead of me to complete; so the parade was really not that important to me. Now, two months later, as I reflect once more, I am beginning to truly realize how special and rare of an opportunity I had that weekend. As I marched through D.C., and heard the cheers of the crowd, I remember feeling an extreme sense pride in the United States Coast Guard. I am truly honored to have had the privilege to attend the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, and that is why it ranks as one of my “final four” experiences.

 

#2 (Northeast Region) Over President’s Day Weekend of my 4/c year, I attended a weekend retreat in Vermont that was sponsored by Officers Christian Fellowship. This retreat gave all of the cadets who attended the chance to relax, go skiing, visit the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory, and most importantly; study the Bible and gain a better understanding of God’s Word. The speakers who led the discussions that weekend were Mr. and Mrs. Van Antwerp. Mr. Van Antwerp retired from the Army in 2011, after achieving the rank of Lieutenant General and serving as the commander of Army Corps of Engineers. He and his wife are amazing and strong Christians, who shared advice on how to live boldly for Christ. Their faith was amazing and their wisdom and insight into the Bible was great! Not only that, but I also had the opportunity to grow closer to some of my classmates that weekend, who are now four of my closest friends! (One of which is 3/c Justin Sherman, you should check out his blog articles, they’re great!) That truly was one of the pivotal weekends in my spiritual life, and one of the most memorable weekends of my life , which is why it also ranks as one of my “final four” experiences.

 

#3 (South Region) Being a part of the men’s crew team here at the Academy has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it is hard to pinpoint a single day or event that was most memorable with the crew team; because every day is fun and exciting. That being said, this past spring break when we went down to Florida was one of the best weeks of my life, for multiple reasons. For one, the entire week consisted of two practices a day, getting ready and preparing for the upcoming season. Besides the great team comradery and bonding that comes with spending an entire week practicing and hanging out with the crew team, I also had the special opportunity to hang out with my girlfriend for a couple of days that week! I hadn’t seen her since the beginning of January, so that’s why I was so thankful when Maureen (my girlfriend), my mom, and Maureen’s mom were willing to come down to Florida and work through my crazy practice schedule to find some time to spend with me! In fact, on Wednesday of that week Maureen and I got to go to Disneyworld together! It was a fantastic time, and we were so thankful for the opportunity. We definitely made memories that we will remember and treasure for a lifetime! Spending time with the crew team, my girlfriend, and going to Disneyworld, it is no wonder why this was one of the best weeks and best experiences of my Academy career!

 

#4 (Midwest Region) To round off my list of “final four” experiences, I decided to include my first trip home after beginning Swab Summer. Thanksgiving of my 4/c year – November 2011 – was the first time that I was able to return home. That was after five grueling months of Swab Summer plus the majority of the first semester of 4/c year; arguably the hardest semester at the Academy. I cannot express the emotions I felt as I visited home that first time, and how proud I felt of all that I had accomplished. It continues to be a strange yet exciting experience every time I go home, and every day that I get to spend at home with my family is a day that is truly special to me, but none are so memorable as those first days that I went home after beginning my journey at the Academy.

 



More about Luke.

 

What is Memory?

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo Memory is a perplexing thing; it’s beloved, it’s life changing, it’s sweet, and it’s deceptive all at once. For all the time we spend recounting our experiences and looking back at days-gone-by, it’s vital to note that oftentimes our memories are as much the synthesis of the outside world with our own dreams, fantasies, and illusions as they are accurate depictions of the past. And this is precisely what makes them so important. Our memories are not just a reflection of what has happened to us to make us who we are; they are the very manifestation of who we are, showing, through our own interpretations of and selections of our memorable moments, how we view and define our world. I remember the things that I remember how I remember them because of who I am, and the way those events have changed me. They show how my existence is very much different than yours – perhaps we don’t even exist in the same reality, when it comes down to it. So, I say again, memory is a perplexing thing.

 

I’m nearing the end of my 2/c spring semester; a few more months, and I’ll have been at the Academy for a full three years. So what, then, has my experience been here so far? What are the memories that my mind has chosen to form, and how has it created them? What is my Academy reality? Accurate or not, in the absolute sense, I’ve considered my “Final Four:” the top four memorable moments without which my Academy experience would be a very different story.

 

Memory 1: The Challenge

 

When I arrived on R-Day, physically, I was not cut out for Swab Summer. About 15 lbs too skinny, with a moderate background running and swimming being about the extent of my athletics skills, I spent most of my summer feeling like “the weak link in the chain.” In many ways it was good for me; I was used to being independent, strong academically, taking care of myself and rarely having to go to others for any sort of assistance. My lack of brute strength taught me humility, and it taught me to trust my shipmates to pick me up off the ground when I needed it, and trust them not to begrudge me for having to do so. But, in other ways, my deficiency took a toll on me mentally. Even as my strength improved, I hated feeling like a failure, feeling like I still hadn’t earned the respect and admiration of my shipmates. I wanted to prove myself if the area where I knew I was weakest.

 

I got my chance. One blissful night toward the end of the summer the cadre were clearly getting bored with the typical IT session, so they decided to mix things up. Our company was broken into five teams, and in turn a representative from each team would challenge the others to an exercise; whichever team’s representative won the round scored a point for their team. Part of me was dreading my turn; how could I stand it if I picked the exercise challenge, and then failed? But, there was one thing I knew I could do…I could hold a plank forever. If only that exercise didn’t get taken by another team before I got up…

 

What is Memory? (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



More about Jessie.

 

A Passion for Electrical Engineering

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hoburg Photo With a simple glance at my past blogs you might noticed that it has been a while since I have submitted an entry. Well I just want you to know that I am still alive an kicking and the spring semester of my 3/c year has proved to be nothing short of exciting. The reason I haven’t written in a while actually ties really nicely into the topic I would like to discuss in this blog which happens to be the academics of your second year as a cadet. 3/c year is when everybody starts to get into his or her respective major-specific classes, which can be an extremely exciting time. I have discovered that all through my academic career I have been told which classes to take and when. Now I have the opportunity to take classes that I want and decide a course of study that I really enjoy and am passionate about, which is awesome!

 

I am an Electrical Engineering major taking the Systems track offered here at the Academy and so far I absolutely love it. I have been very fortunate that the major I chose has turned out to be exactly what I am passionate about; I love learning how to use technology to solve the world’s problems. I would just like to highlight some of the excellent aspects of the Academy’s Electrical Engineering Department. First off, I must mention that we are an accredited program, which as little as that meant to me as a high school senior, turns out that means some really good things for future endeavors of grad school. But anyway, as far as the interesting things go, the one thing that makes our department awesome is that we are a very tight knit community. I currently have 19 classmates that are EE’s and we are all very close to each other and want nothing more than to see each succeed. Which means we will all do whatever it takes to help our classmates out when they are struggling. We really have each others’ backs because I’m going to be honest with you, EE is not an easy major but it is extremely rewarding.

 

That being said, each and every one of the instructors is the exact same way. They all want to see you succeed and they will not hesitate to go out of their way to stay at work late or help you on the weekends to make sure that you understand the material and pass your courses. The Engineering Department is set up in such a way that you walk into a big room with a conference table in the middle and all of the instructors offices have doors are around the room facing the conference table. This means that whenever I need help on something all I have to do is sit down at that conference table and ask one of the instructors for help and they will stop what they are doing and put my success first. They really are an excellent group of people that are all highly trained experts in their field and work very hard to make sure that labs and coursework are productive tools to help us really grasp concepts. One of the best parts I must add is that everybody chips in to provide coffee and a well stocked M&M machine for all of the EEs. Sshhh! Don’t tell the other Engineering majors.

 

So I sit here and glorify the Electrical Engineering Department because I have found my place academically at the Academy and I love it. But literally every major offered here has an endless list of attributes that make it great and drive their students to succeed. I know a lot of people in the Government major that talk extremely highly of their instructors and coursework and really are getting a lot out of their education. And the same goes for all the majors. It really comes down to finding what the Academy has to offer that is going to spark your inner passion and excite you to go to class every morning. I won’t lie to you, there will be days where your military, academic, and athletic requirements build up. There are going to be tough days. But if you can find that passion inside you that’s going to spark your intellectual curiosity and make you want to learn and work hard, it is all going to be worth it in the end.

 

I really hope my insight into the Electrical Engineering major will get you thinking about the endless possibilities that come with any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors offered here at the Academy. But whatever area you passion lies in do not be afraid to take a chance and give yourself the opportunity you deserve to succeed. If you have any further questions about any of the majors or anything about cadet life please email me at: Adam.J.Hoburg@uscga.edu. Thank you for your time.

 



More about Adam.

 

Spring’s Here!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Hi all! Spring semester is still plugging away. We are down to the last month or so of classes, and it was back down to the grind last week after a very enjoyable spring break. I can’t think of a better way I could have spent my break! I got to spend time with my two families – my real family and my sailing family. The sailing team spent Saturday through Thursday training in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sailing back in Florida was so nice! It definitely beats wearing dry suits, which still seem like a foreign entity to me. We had four alumni join us for the training trip; they were stationed as close as down the road at sector St. Petersburg and as far away as Seattle. This was a really cool opportunity to sail with alumni who participated in college sailing for four years already, and to get to talk with junior officers in the fleet right now. Everyone does something different in the Coast Guard, so it was nice to get multiple different perspectives on fleet life.

 

Now, we are back to school, classes, exams, trainings, and the endless list of things to do. I feel like spring semester is so much more rushed than fall. The to-do list never ends, and it’s hard to find time to come up from air. This being said, it should go by fast. Until then it’s just day by day to get through.

 

As always, you can contact me at Christina.M.Frost@uscga.edu with any questions you may have!

 



More about Christi.

 

Homework HELP!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo It’s Sunday night, and instead of doing my Heat Transfer homework, I’m writing this blog.

 

Now, you as the reader must be like, “Whoa! This guy is a slacker, not doing his homework.”

 

You’d be partially right.

 

Let me provide some insight into exactly why I am ignoring my Heat Transfer homework.

 

I do not understand it! This is seemingly self-explanatory, however, this is my blog, and I will expound upon it as I see fit. You see, the week prior to spring break, I left on Wednesday, flying to Los Angeles for the Harbor Cup.

 

Commencing Harbor Cup tangent. Hosted by the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Yacht Club, the Harbor Cup is the West Coast’s premiere intercollegiate offshore regatta. They provide us with Catalina 37 yachts and entrust us to race them among the giant cargo ships in San Pedro Bay and Los Angeles Harbor. Needless to say, it was a great time. Unfortunately, we didn’t sail as well as we’d hoped, but the experience was a great one.

 

Getting back on track, I missed two days of Heat Transfer class to attend the regatta. When I returned, terms like “Prandtl number” and “Average convection coefficient for mixed flow over a flat plate” were being thrown around.

 

In addition, I’m simply too tired to care. Typically, I use the weekends to recharge and refresh. This weekend, however, I spent about 16 hours on the River Thames (pronounced “thāmez” here in Connecticut, unlike across the pond) running a regatta that Coast Guard hosts. It was cold. And windy. And cold. And it snowed. Did I mention it was cold?

 

The good news is that I attend the Coast Guard Academy and my professors really care about my success. Tomorrow morning, I will go to my Heat Transfer professor, show him my futile attempts at solving the problem, and explain to him my difficulties. Then, he will invite me to stop by his office later so we can discuss where I’m struggling and help me work toward a solution, maybe even granting me an extension to finish it up.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must stare at this blank paper for a couple more hours.

 

UPDATE: Our professor realized some people were really struggling with the assignment, so he extended the deadline by six hours and took over a classroom for an hour to answer questions and provide assistance.

 



More about Nick.

 

An Extremely Busy and Exciting Month

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo March has been a stressful month for the fourth class here at the Academy. A few weeks ago, we began taking out Boards. Boards is essentially an oral test. We must memorize everything from ranks of enlisted and officers to the meanings of flags to Coast Guard history to light configurations of vessels. All of this information is jam-packed into a 46-page packet that was given to us right before Christmas leave. During the actual Boards, the 4/c must answer 10 questions and to pass they must answer 8 correctly. Upon passing, we earned privileges, including being able to write on our whiteboards and play music aloud. Once everyone in the class of 2016 passes, we earn full carry-on. Needless to say we are all trying really hard to pass and helping our classmates as well. Boards was difficult, however, now that I have passed, I feel extremely satisfied to have completed such a task.

 

Also in March, sailing season started again. This could not make me any happier. Life without sailing at the Academy for me was really boring. Before spring break I went to two regattas, one at University of South Florida and another in Charleston. Upon completing these “pre-season” regattas, the team and I headed to University of South Florida for our spring break training. It was great to get away from the snow in New London and train in sunny Florida. After completing training on Thursday, two teammates and I sailed in a Lightning (type of boat) regatta a few minutes away from where training was. We had a lot of fun, I included a picture of us sailing the Lightning! And although it was great to get away from the Academy for a week, of course I had to go back.

 

The next week the fourth class got slammed with a lot of tests and papers and homework. But we worked through it and got to the weekend. Last weekend, a few teammates and I traveled to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to compete in the Owen Trophy. This regatta is the trophy for all the service academy sailing teams. We were also competing against Kings Point to determine who would get the point for the Secretaries Cup. The Cup is a competition in all sports between USCGA and KP. Having completed a lot of races, we won the Owen Trophy as well as beat KP. It was an extremely successful weekend.

 

March has been an extremely busy but exciting month for me. I now I look forward to having only one more month of school and even more importantly getting full carry-on. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at Kayla.M.Ellis@uscga.edu.

 



More about Kayla.

 

Those “Last” Events

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo For many of you reading these blog entries, you are in the process of counting your series of “last events,” such as your last football game, your last prom, your last day of high school. The entire senior year seems to be revolved around these “last events” that for most of us, were a mixture of euphoria and sadness. I remember that intense feeling of wanting to break free from my youth and dive head first into a new life, far away from where I had spent most of my life cultivating my skills and personality, where I had built all of my relationships. But I knew that once I left, it would never be quite the same whenever I came back home to visit.

 

The day before R-Day, I met some of my classmates. Everyone was decked out in their unique style of civilian clothes, representing who they had been throughout high school. My hair was down to my eyes and over my ears. My sneakers were multicolored. And the butterflies nested in my stomach region were beginning to flap their wings. As the day turned to night, and night turned to day, those butterflies were increasingly bouncing around, as if they finally had awoken from some deep, Rip Van Wrinkle type of sleep. They were much too excited for what they were about to experience. I was not nearly as enthusiastic as my pet butterflies. At some point during the day, the yelling began. It was a lot of yelling, and I suppose the yelling scared the butterflies off for a bit, because adrenaline took over my system for most of the rest of the summer. I knew the yelling was going to come; I had watched all of the Swab Summer videos on YouTube. But actually experiencing it myself was much different than watching someone else experiencing it. Eventually, you learn to kind of tune it out, so it does not get in the way of your own thoughts, but it took some time.

 

My civilian summer was over and my Swab Summer had begun. It was everything I expected and everything I did not. Yelling. IT sessions. Indoc. Stress. Stress. Stress. Everyday was different and the same. I learned how to shine my shoes, make a hospital corner, square an actual corner, iron my shirts, and hold a piece. I learned how to work with a group of people and succeed through times of failure. Eventually, those long days became weeks, and the summer had ended. I remember writing in my “Thoughts of the Day” journal that the summer had felt like it took “nine months” when it was only seven weeks. But even though the summer was long and grueling, that feeling of accomplishment was great and well worth it. To all of you current high school seniors, enjoy the rest of your high school year. Of course, make sure you are in prime shape when you arrive, but make sure you also enjoy your “last moments” of high school with your best friends and family and do not stress or worry about how the summer will be. You only have three months, use it wisely and have fun.

 



More about Zachary.

 

Midterms and Spring Break

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo March has been an overall great month besides the midterms I got back. So I’ll start with that. The first half of the semester is got a 2.67 GPA, or something along those lines, with one class dragging me down. If y’all read my post from January I’m sure you could guess the class. Yes, Physics II it is. I got my first D in any class I’ve ever taken, which was a real wake up call because I guess this new “students teach themselves” method just isn’t jiving well for me. As a result I received a grade that is extremely unlike me. Anyway, the midterm average was 55%, which resulted in a large amount of people receiving Ds and Fs. That’s all I can really say about the grades.

 

Spring break was two weeks ago it was among one of the greatest weeks of my life. Six of my best friends and I went to Hawaii for the week. We stayed at Taylor’s house and his parents were so kind to take in seven of us for a whole week. We managed to cram a lot of activities into this one week that we were there. We kayaked, hiked several places, spent several days at different beaches, traveled almost everywhere in Oahu, went to a luau in Waikiki, went body surfing, the list could go on for this whole page but I’m sure you get the idea. The fact is that I had the time of my life and I wouldn’t have traded that time for anything in the world. Once again this is another short post but I don’t really have much to say, it’s the middle of the semester and at this point trying to go through the motions to try and finish out the year strong.

 

Any questions? Spencer.M.Zwenger@uscga.edu 

 



More about Spencer.

 

Spring Break and NCAA Diving

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo March is nearing its end and many events have happened this month. Diving regionals were held on the first weekend in March and my teammate Andy and I were able to go and compete because we made the qualifying cut earlier in the season. Regionals was a success and we both dove extremely well. I qualified for NCAAs in Texas the week after spring break and was really excited. After a quick and easy week of school I was on a flight back to Florida for spring break.

 

Spring break was a well-needed break for the whole corps and we were able to relax and have some fun. Back at home, I went to the beach and lied by the pool most days with friends and family. I went shopping with my mom and went to diving practice. I soaked up all the sun I could because I knew I would be going back to cold weather. After a great week at home, I headed back to the Academy to finish out the semester strong.

 

This past week I have been in Texas attending NCAAs for diving and it was an amazing experience. I got to meet the Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson and a bunch of new friends. It was awesome to be able to dive with such great divers. Watching the other girls and guys gave me so much motivation to learn new dives and keep pushing myself. After an exhausting week I am headed back to the Academy to finish out the month. I have assignments coming up that I am stressed about, but I know I will get through them just fine. Easter is in a week and the corps will be granted a long. It will be another nice break for us, which will raise morale.

 



More about Sara.

 

It’s Almost Easter!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo Spring is finally here! For someone that was born and raised in San Diego, I must admit that the winters on the East Coast are almost unbearable! After Spring Break, I went from a whole week of high 70-degree temperatures and beaches to low 30 degrees and snow. However, the Dark Ages are finally ending and the sun is coming out! Cadets become very excited when spring is here. It means that the semester is almost over, and even though we still have to make it through finals week, our summer assignments are just around the corner. I found out that I am going to be a Swab Summer cadre during the first three weeks of Swab Summer. I am extremely excited to be able to participate in this tradition that has been a part of the Academy. I am even more excited to have the opportunity to help high school, prior enlisted, and prep school men and women go through the development of growing from a swab into a cadet. I know that my cadre had a drastic impact on my view of the Academy and of the Coast Guard, and I can’t wait to, hopefully, be able to impact the lives of some other people as well.

 

It is going to be an amazing summer and I am so ecstatic to end the school year and become a part of cadre already! Not only are our summer assignments coming up, but spring training for baseball is also right around the corner! Even though I get a lot of ridicule for being a Padres and an Arizona Diamondbacks fan, I am still staying loyal to my teams and I can’t wait for baseball season to finally be here!

 



More about Samantha.

 

Four Most Memorable Academy Experiences

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo As a fourth class, I have a relatively short list of experiences that I could consider as my most memorable moments at the Academy. However, I have had been lucky to have had many memorable experiences. If you want to have a good time at the Academy, you have to be willing to get involved in Academy clubs, sports, and service. Getting time away from the day to day grind and finding an outlet is crucial to surviving at the Academy, without a doubt.

 

One of my most memorable experiences here came from my participation on the rugby team. This past fall, we had an unbelievable season. Our first team AND second team went undefeated, and we won two playoff games to become the Northeast Division II rugby champions. Our championship game was a nail biter. There were two minutes left in the game. We were up by two points and Norwich (our opponent) had the ball deep in our territory. After a two minute all-out fight to the finish, the final whistle blew, and we were champions! It was a truly memorable experience for me because my old high school coach had come to see the game, my aunt and immediate family were all there, and most importantly, I was able to celebrate with all my teammates.

 

Another special moment from the fall semester was the Winter Formal. The theme of the night was remembering the POWs and their families. I was moved by the ceremony and felt a very special connection to our service members still missing. The rest of the night was awesome, too. I had tons of fun dancing, talking, and hanging out with my classmates. I felt a stronger connection with my classmates, and it was one of the first times I felt totally relaxed at the Academy.

 

From a community service perspective, one of my most memorable service projects was an all-day youth leadership event held here at the Academy. The event was for students from eighth to tenth grade, and they participated in a variety of leadership events throughout the day. For the first half of the day, the kids built bridges, catapults, and egg drop baskets out of arts and crafts materials. It was a good exercise in teamwork and cooperating on a design. I had a good time watching and guiding them along the way, and I was proud how well some of their projects turned out. After the builds, we took the kids over to lunch in the wardroom, and on a tour of the Academy. For the second half of the day, the kids discussed various leadership scenarios and participated in a team building objective. It was fun and interesting to watch young kids get their first taste of leadership. Overall, it was an awesome day and I loved working with the kids.

 

Finally, my most memorable experience at the Academy was my one week on Eagle at the end of Swab Summer. I was the last phase of the summer, so Swab Summer was over for me and I was able to relax and enjoy my time on board. The first day, I had duty. We were tied up in Newport, Rhode Island, and I stood on the deck for a few hours talking to people who were touring for the day. I had a good time interacting with all different types of people and it was a great experience. Our second day on board, I was free to go out on liberty in Newport. That was the first time I had liberty and it was awesome. I walked all over town, buying food and supplies, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and even going to the beach. While underway, I continued to have a good time. Even though it can be miserable standing watch from 1200 to 0400, or 0400 to 0800, it’s all what you make of it. Luckily, I had an great division, so when we ended up with rough watch times, we told stories, played card games, and listened to music. Another part of Eagle that I loved was climbing the rigging to work on sails. Every opportunity I had, I climbed. My most memorable climb was when I climbed all the way up the top of the highest sails (about two hundred feet high) to watch a beautiful sunset in New York harbor. Eagle was an awesome experience, and I can’t put everything I experienced into words.

 

As you can see, your Academy experience is what YOU make it. No one is going to tell you to get involved, to branch out, and to try new things. However, I strongly recommend doing this. In my experience, I have taken on more clubs and activities at one time this semester than I have ever before, and I’m as happy as I have ever been. The Academy offers all the opportunity to have awesome experiences, but it is up to you to go pursue those activities.

 



More about Hunter.

 

Winter to Spring Break

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Keeley Photo Finally out of the Dark Ages. For those who don’t know, the Dark Ages are considered the time from after finals and winter break to the beginning of spring break. During this time, the days are short, the mornings are cold and cadets have to force themselves back into gear after the holidays are over and classes begin again. However, do not let this shine a negative light on Academy life. Many people say that they don’t agree with or even think the Dark Ages exist.

 

Coming back from winter break means seeing all of your close friends at the Academy again and when you form such close bonds with everyone, especially during Swab Summer, your classmates become those fun cousins you can’t wait to see again. Also, classes do not start right away after coming back. I really like this about the Academy (although I’m not sure if other colleges do it, too). The week after coming back from winter break is called MAP week and is an orientation week where cadets get their books, take the PFE, talk with their advisors, among other things. This is not a very stressful week and allows you to prepare everything and catch up with your classmates. Finally, the beginning of second semester may be a pain but it is nice to know that it is the last kick before summer assignments!

 

I cannot decide whether or not I believe in the Dark Ages but they certainly were not as hard to get through as some people led me to believe. This was also partly because as a 4/c, Boards were coming up and when the entire class passes, it receives carry-on and some 3/c privileges. Knowing that this reward was just around the corner pushed me to study hard and suck up whatever negativity I had. We still have yet to all pass Boards but there is only a small percentage of our class that is still trying and most of them just got unlucky on the set of questions they were given the first time. The Dark Ages were also easily ignored because spring break planning was atop everyone’s mind since January. I went with three other 4/c cadets to one of their houses around Tampa, Florida. This was very exciting especially because I had never bought my own plane ticket or planned a vacation without my parents help. I must say, having your own constant income is extremely liberating. The vacation was a blast and I will try to upload a picture or two from it. The four of us went to the beach, Busch Gardens for free, out on one of the 4/c’s boats, and just had a relaxing time. In my opinion, the breaks are all the more worthwhile because of how much work and effort you put into school leading up to it. This effort makes the breaks feel deserved.

 

Well, that’s all I have for now. I also just wanted to thank those out there who emailed me with questions about the Academy among other things. Again, if anyone has anything they would like to know about this place or any questions, even silly ones, please feel free to shoot me an email. Also, I encourage anyone out there looking into attending the Academy to participate in our Cadet for a Day program. I just had a prospective cadet this weekend and it was a blast. All of us love having them here, not just because they give the 4/c carry-on, but also because we love talking to them and answering the same multitude of funny and serious questions we once had.

 

Thanks for reading!
4/c Melissa Keeley
Echo Company
Melissa.M.Keeley@uscga.edu 

 



More about Melissa.

 

Short February Post

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Zwenger Photo Nothing really happened school wise in February, but we did figure out what we will be doing this summer. I happened to get my first choice being an AIM cadre. I chose this position because I did go to AIM and it was basically the deciding factor of whether or not I wanted to come to the Academy. I hope that I can bring that same enthusiasm to some prospective cadets, that my AIM cadre (now ensign in Coast Guard) brought to me. I don’t have much to say about this now other than I am extremely excited to start my second-class summer but I will be sure to keep y’all updated throughout the summer. Although three weeks out of the summer are dedicated to being a cadre, the rest of the summer has a lot of thing in store, which I will talk about later once I know more.

 

A short post but our class has finally figured out some of the plans for our so-called “best summer” while we’re here at the Academy. I’ll let y’all know if it holds up to what people speak about it.

 



More about Spencer.