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cadet blogs

The Academic Year Comes to a Close

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo As 3/c year slowly dwindles away, everyone at the Academy is looking forward to the summer. This summer, I will be cadre to help train the incoming swabs as they begin their transition from civilians to Coast Guardsmen and women. While it was a long journey for me to get through high school to the Academy, just getting to this point in my Academy career has been daunting.

 

All through high school I wanted to come here and it was not until May of my senior year that I was officially accepted. I was left wondering every day if what I was doing was enough, and here that has not changed. The days have gotten longer in both daylight and in workload. I know a lot of my friends take Friday night and Saturday off from doing anything academic-related but I have not found myself able to do that. Every day I have tried to do something academic. I feel that every day, I have to try my best here. I know a lot of people who do just enough work to keep that 2.0 GPA, or make that 200 on the PFE. I think we all need to try harder than that. Occasionally on a Saturday night I will sit in Panera Bread in Waterford and do my homework. I feel like there I can reconnect with civilization, but at the same time, do the work I need to be successful. I do not think there are any days off before that last final is handed back to the instructor. Some days are more relaxed than others, but there is always something academic to be done.

 

With the added freedom that has come with my class being allowed overnight liberty on Saturdays, I took the opportunity to head home for one night a few weeks ago. Right now I have wanted to be home more than ever. I have been talking to my friends at home about all the fun we are going to have this summer and I am looking forward to it. One program I am excited for this summer in the Coastal Sail Training Program when some of the other cadre and I take a two week yacht cruise through southern New England and we pull right into my hometown, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

Now it is all about finishing the last two weeks of the academic year strong, and, soon, summer will bring some new adventures and good times.

 

More about Derek.

 

Getting Accepted Into Prep School

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Hill Photo I attended Cadet for a Day as a junior in high school and loved everything the Coast Guard Academy stood for. The AIM program rejected me in the summer of 2014. Then, I found out on Christmas of that year that I was not accepted during the Early Action process for the USCGA. I reasoned it was because I did not take a math course my senior year (I hadn’t even taken pre-calculus). The Coast Guard Academy was the only service academy I had applied to because it was perfect for me—a Florida girl who loved law enforcement, the United States, and the coast (of course!). I decided then that I would go to the University of South Florida on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, which I was not as thrilled about.

 

I still did not give up on my dream though—I decided to send the softball coach at the USCGA my highlights video and asked people I knew to write recommendation letters for me. So, when I received an email from a LT about an opportunity for the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program—I screamed and jumped up and down with my mom and my next-door neighbor. The fact that I was given a chance, a CHANCE, a clear path to eventually becoming an officer in the United States Coast Guard, had me stoked! I was a bit nervous about the amount of effort and work I would have to put in to be successful, but I rationalized that nothing worth doing is easy. This would set me up for the rest of my life—work hard now, serve my country and have an early retirement; which seemed okay to me :).

 

More about Kelly.

 

Time is Flying

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering) Permanent link
Dow Photo I have blinked and it is already March of my junior year! If there’s one thing that happens at the Academy, it’s that time flies. The days may be slow, but the weeks fly by. So much goes on here that it is hard to keep track of it all… you are so busy working on homework and division work, you don’t even realize it is already spring break!

 

My classes this semester are so different but still provide very useful knowledge that I will have to use next year as my capstone project. This final senior project is a culmination of everything we have learned and more. I am currently taking Ship Structures, Heat Transfer, Advanced Engineering Math, Criminal Justice and Marine Engineering.

 

The Academy also allows for cadets to try new things, and has many chances to do so. One option is the Service Marksmanship Team, which is a club that meets twice a week and does the fundamentals of shooting, without the commitment of a Varsity Division I sport (the other option for cadets for shooting). I have learned so much, and having been surrounded by some of the greatest people at the Academy who want to assist. The experience is so humbling and great.

 

The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department also has many opportunities for us to learn about life in the fleet, and applications to what we have been learning in the classroom. We got the chance to tour the Pratt and Whitney facility where they manufacture turbine engines. This trip demonstrated the connection between the real world with what we have learned in Thermodynamics last semester and also Marine Engineering. They also held a Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers meeting onboard the Academy at the O ’Club. We were able to meet Nav Arch professors at the Maine and Massachusetts Maritime Academies, students at the Webb Institute as well as others who are in the Nav Arch profession. It was wonderful to meet others who are successful in their jobs and have a passion for their work.

 

I can’t wait to find out our summer assignments and what the future has is in store for me!

 

More about Emily.

 

Eclipse Week 2017 at the Coast Guard Academy

(Just for Fun, Life as a Junior Officer) Permanent link
Andreasen Photo I recently did something that would have surprised my 4/c self, I jumped at the opportunity to spend an entire week back at the Coast Guard Academy. Why, you ask? Eclipse Week. Every year the Academy hosts an entire week of events aimed at inclusion and diversity and every year cadets are exposed to various topics, discussions, people and, in short, a world they may have never previously seen or known. In reality, cadets are not the only members invited to attend the festivities; Eclipse Week is open to faculty, staff, and officers from all over. I spent the week reconnecting with former cadets and friends as well as instructors and staff who have become friends. Of course, I also spent my time participating in events, while they are all special and important in their own right, three in particular stand out: the opening and closing keynote addresses (I’ll count them as one), the Take Back the Night Event, and…the Academy-wide talent show. As a cadet, I attended these events every year for four years, but as a returning officer, I had a unique perspective as essentially an outsider looking in. The key here is that I was once on the inside just a few years ago and I now had the ability to compare the differences a short time has made. The keynote addresses drew our attention to the significance and also the beauty of keeping an open mind in terms of how we treat others and consider their backgrounds. The value a person receives from taking the time to learn about someone, to help someone, to really work with someone is immeasurable. To be honest, the Take Back the Night Event shocked me. I walked in silence and solidarity with 250 cadets, officers, civilians, and friends to learn about and really reflect on sexual assault in the military. Finally, to end the discussion of my events on a lighter note, I will mention the talent show. The amount of talent possessed by the current corps of cadets and their instructors who performed is simply put: OUTSTANDING. The talent show exceeded expectation.

 

Each event of Eclipse Week is memorable, special, and vital in developing a cohesive workforce. Unfortunately, I fear some readers have dozed off and will begin snoring. I was fortunate to have attended 2017’s Eclipse Week and will carry the lessons I learned with me to my unit.

 

More about Brooklyn.

 

Receiving My Appointment: Starting a New Chapter in My Life

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Today I am going to look back to three years ago and the day that I got my appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy. My path to CGA was slightly different than the majority of my classmates. I applied my senior year of high school only to get a small letter in the mail saying that I had not been offered an appointment. Broken hearted and feeling a slightly spited, I temporarily dropped my dreams of attending the CGA. This mentality lasted about a week and then I decided to quit my sulking and keep working to follow my passion to become an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. I went to University of Colorado for one year. I got a high GPA, participated in NROTC, got in better shape, and when it came time to resubmit my application, I put my heart and soul into my essays in an attempt to show Admissions how much I truly desired an appointment.

 

The moment arrived. I was walking across campus when I saw I was getting a phone call from an unknown number. Thousands of students surrounded me as I walked on a bright March day from Calculus to Chemistry class. I stopped on a grassy quad to answer the call. I remember my Admissions Officer telling me that I had been offered an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. My world started spinning. The goal I had been reaching toward for years was within grasp and I knew as soon as I got that phone call that as much as I loved civilian college, the Academy was where I was supposed to be.

 

After that phone call the rest of the semester was a whirlwind of paperwork, planning, and getting ready for a new chapter in my life. I have never seen my parents happier for me than when I got my appointment because they knew it was what I wanted so much. To this day, I know I made the right decision coming to the USCGA and not giving up my dream just because of one little letter.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Diversity Makes a Difference

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo (02APR17) New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so coming to New London, Connecticut was a bit of a culture shock. However, there are ways to discuss the concept of diversity and the Academy dedicates one week, Eclipse Week, to these discussions. Personally, Eclipse Week is one of my favorite events because I see it as a way to share stories and perspectives that people wouldn’t normally share. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in classes, sports, and drill that anyone can get distracted from their roots, no matter where they’re from. I’ll be working on this blog over the course of Eclipse week, and I’ll try to do a mini-entry every other day. I’ll also try not to sugar-coat anything, because diversity isn’t something that can be taken lightly. It’s a real issue that goes beyond the Coast Guard, and something that I think we should all consider. Hope you like it!

 

(03APR17) This year’s theme is about “character” and who you are when no one’s watching. Conveniently, we had John Quiñones, an ABC News reporter and host of “What Would You Do?” come and speak to us today. He shared his story, his dreams, and the challenges he faced as a Latino-American. What I got from Mr. Quiñones is to never underestimate the value of empathy. Oftentimes when someone is being mistreated, the people who step in to help have had a similar experience and don’t want to see others suffer, even if they’re a complete stranger. Even more interesting was that, most of the time, the people had almost nothing in common, whether it is ethnicity, occupation, or even wealth. However, all it takes for people to take initiative is a single shared idea that they can all relate to.

 

(06APR17) This morning was my first Eclipse Event, organized by the Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). We had breakfast with Asian Coast Guard officers, ranging from Lieutenants from the class of 2015 to Admirals who have been in for a years, and had mentoring sessions over spam and rice. In the short time we had with them, I learned about life in the fleet, life outside the fleet, and I even got some financial advice. However, the most important thing I learned is that diversity makes a difference. I believe that people are visual beings, meaning that a lot of our actions and emotions are affected by what we see around us. Frankly, talking to Asian American officers was really just refreshing because I saw higher shoulder-boards on someone who looked like me. I found myself relating more and being more comfortable asking questions because we were raised under the same culture, and I think non-Asian cadets benefited just as much from seeing a new perspective.

 

(07APR17) Spectrum Council is the Coast Guard’s first official LGBTQ support group and they hosted a lunch panel about transgender people serving in the military. Along with the amazing number of people who attended, we had the opportunity to meet the Coast Guard’s first transgender officer. However, while we can celebrate the progress we’ve made after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), today’s panel highlighted the changes that will be necessary now that transgender people can openly serve as well. Of course, bathrooms are a prominent issue, but there also needs to be focus on teaching people what exactly “transgender” is and what we can do to help people during their transition, rather than pushing them away. It may be an awkward conversation at first, and some people may be uncomfortable just by reading this entry, but now is the time to adapt and improve our understanding of the changing world around us.

 

(08APR17) So what did I learn this week? I don’t even know where to start. It’s hard to present the concept of “diversity” without making it seem like another mandatory training we have to finish. It’s even harder to show why people should care about diversity issues because they may not see it as a priority, and the worst is when they say, “It’s not that bad.” However, the Coast Guard is a humanitarian service, and taking the perspective of others is one of the basics of our mission. As a Chinese American and member of the LGBTQ community, I truly appreciate how we’re at least making an effort to dispel obstacles and assumptions. Diversity will always be a hard topic and we all have different values, but we should value each other above all else.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Recognizing the Importance of Eclipse Week

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond what is right in front of me in a single moment; tunnel vision causing me to walk, nearly blind, through days and weeks at the Academy, barely aware of anything beyond my classes and my shipmates in the engineering buildings and on the pool deck.

 

While not a lot can pry me away from my busy life, it is essential to recognize Eclipse Week and what it stands for, not only around the Academy, but throughout the growing Coast Guard and throughout the country. Eclipse week always brings me to a standstill. It is absolutely amazing when so many people can join together in the common goal of not only recognizing the diversity problems that our world faces today, but talking about them in earnest. This communication and sharing allows people to come together, to understand one another, and to recognize how each different person brings something new and essential to the table.

 

I sat at dinner one night and listened to a speaker who told of her story, serving as a Coast Guard wife in Panama during the invasion by United States armed forces. She not only saw and heard of the fighting, but she was actually caught in the crossfire. This was eye-opening to me and to everyone sitting in the crowd. This speaker was able to offer her worldly experiences to us, teaching us of struggles that most of us will never face but still must strive to understand. Through her speech she brought diversity of thought to the table. She experienced combat before women were allowed to do such a thing; she broke down boarders and as a result has lived to tell her story in the hopes that it lives on and inspires others to think beyond what is known to be possible.

 

Diversity of race, religion, and gender are so vital in today’s world. They allow us to develop a diversity of thought, which is paramount. Someone who is able to draw experience from every walk of life is someone who can subsequently break down barriers and change the world as we know it and how we all see it.

 

More about Jacklyn.

 

Going Home

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Swift Photo When going home, I always rediscover my sense of heart and adventure. It’s only on the plane, taking off from wherever I ended up, that I really feel like I can blend my roots and my current positions. It’s always so funny to me because I am alone on these flights, but I feel closer to my friends and family in these moments, two worlds that have rarely collided. Trying to explain the place that shaped me, the people that comprise my soul, is always impossible, but really deeply satisfying to try to do. There are so many different parts of telling people who you are, or where you’re from, which is for me one and the same. How can I explain, while on the ground in New London, what the wind sounds like as it echoes through 1,000 miles unimpeded, 6 miles of it straight skyward. You can get scientific, and say that it creates resonant frequencies that surround everything you are when you drive out into the middle of nowhere to listen, or you can get historic, and tell people that the people, ancestral or just stubborn, that eked and etched out their existence in the hard caliche, called it la llorona, Spanish for “the weeping woman”, or just sang with it and prayed for their crops, but it doesn’t surmise all the things that it means. How do I tell octogenarians, who spent their entire lives within 20 miles of the small-town hospital we were both born in, what sitting on the masts of Eagle watching whales as the sun rises feels like? I can’t describe the space of New Mexico, and I can’t put the blending of all the experiences and cultures and people into a definition, unless I’m a mile high, staring down on all that our country is. Can anyone?

 

The people who will become closest to you in the Academy, and in all of life, are the people who don’t necessarily understand but don’t need to. My mom told me once that the reason she loves my dad so much is because he doesn’t understand why she thinks the way she does, but he loves all of her thoughts anyway. I may never understand how exhilarating it is to play pranks with my friends at a civilian engineering school, how cool it is run my own DJ business, what it’s like to compete in Northern Virginia school systems, how it feels to be part of a swimming family on the shores of Lake Michigan, or what Chicago feels like at Christmas, but I can’t help but to picture the lifetimes that crafted the people I love the most. The people who are worth going back home for, and the people who give you courage to leave it again, are the people who love all the places and faces that you describe imperfectly to them because you are the product of those things, and they love you. I’m so glad that, for all the hardship the Academy has given me, it’s added to who I am. It’s given me experiences that one day I will describe to someone else who can’t understand, and it’s given me people to share everything we are (and everything we will be) with. It’s given me the metaphorical chance to look down from a mile high on home, on who I am, and to get to be there as others do the same.

 

More about Delaney.

 

Travels

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Well, we’re all back from spring break, the dark ages are fading away, and we’re only seven weeks away from the sweet taste of summer freedom. It’s always a bit saddening to come back to New London, especially since I was coming back from a week in the original London. Of course, I saw Big Ben, London Bridge, Camden Town, but my favorite spot was Leigh-On-Sea, a cozy town about an hour east of London. I met a friend there and had an amazing time, chilling in an old English pub and watching the tide come in. By the way, their low tide is so low that their boats rest on the bottom! Google it!

 

As for the summer, I was fortunate enough to be given an assignment onboard the Japanese Coast Guard Cutter, Kojima. It’s a great opportunity to experience the Japanese culture and get some unique underway experience. Not only that, but I’ll see my friends again! A few of their cadets came onboard the Eagle last summer, so now it’ll be their turn to teach me about their coast guard. A single cadet blog isn’t enough to express how excited I am for this summer, and I will definitely update you on what adventures come out of this opportunity.

 

More about Olivia.

 

A Lot to be Excited About

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Hill Photo Indoctrination boards was not as bad as I had thought it would be—I passed the written test and oral test the first time around! I am making so many close friends and I just received my summer assignment. This summer I am going to Bermuda on Eagle! And a station for six weeks where I can get qualified in boarding team member operations and firearms training! Yes, I am excited (hence the exclamation points). We, the 4/c, still do not have full carry-on yet so I was a little disappointed about that, but it’s okay because 3/c year is approaching fast!

 

That’s all for now folks…

 

Never give up faith and love life,
Kelly Hill

 

Please email me with your questions!

 

More about Kelly.