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cadet blogs

A Busy Second Class Year

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
H. Eshleman Photo Second class year has begun and the whirlwind of activities and events occurring at the USCGA is just getting started. This semester, I have 18 credit hours, but all except for four are finally engineering focused. I am really enjoying getting to concentrate on my major in McAllister Hall (the engineering building) for the majority of the day and learning about thermodynamics, fluid systems, naval architecture, and electrical circuits and machines. The workload is heavy, but I am interested in everything I am learning about, which makes it all worthwhile. My one class not in McAllister Hall is Maritime Watch Officer (a.k.a. Nautical Science III). I’m enjoying this class as well because it is extremely fleet-applicable and soon our labs are going to be moved from the simulators to T-boats down at waterfront.

 

Besides a lot of homework, my schedule has been busy with Glee Club. We have 30 performances this semester alone. Today we got the honor of performing God Bless America and America the Beautiful down at City Pier in New London. This performance was for a 9/11 memorial service held by the Groton Submarine Base. Getting to interact with a lot of Navy active and retired personnel, local police, and civilians on this day helped remind me how great our country is and how we truly come together, especially in times of need.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Looking Forward, Living in the Moment

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo Well, it’s 238 days until graduation! I can’t believe how fast time is flying by this semester—it’s almost October. I am looking forward to the changing seasons, New England cider, sweater weather, and foliage here at the CGA.

 

This semester I am finally taking electives, including Managerial Psychology, Negotiations and Conflict Management, and Information Technology in Organizations. Soon, we will be receiving our capstone projects for the management major, which is another milestone toward graduation. Commissioning physical exams, final papers, capstone, it’s all coming together here, and before we know it, we will be ensigns! Having said that, it is still important to live in the moment and enjoy the rest of the Academy—this is the last time that our class will be together all at once.

 

Lately, I’ve been getting involved in my local church off-base, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I am participating in bible study on Monday nights, and meeting with the Navy Chaplain across the river that is the same denomination as me. I sure do miss Chaplain Dickens, but I’m still learning more about the Christian faith and United Methodist polity through my local church. I can definitely see myself becoming a part of the local United Methodist church regardless of where I go next year.

 

I’m also taking Advanced Golf for my physical education elective, and I golf a couple of times per week. Golf is a game that you can never master, but it is certainly great to be outside with friends enjoying the New England fall weather. If anything, it has taught me patience and persistence. It’s finally becoming real for me, graduating that is, and it is unbelievable that the shopping list, or list of ensign assignments, will be available in November. This is when the Class of 2017 puts down our choice assignments, and right now I’m thinking of a fast response cutter on the East Coast.

 

More about William.

 

Graduation is Fast Approaching

(Academics, Athletics, The Cadet Experience) Permanent link
Daghir Photo I am happy to say that the year has picked up to its usual tempo, complete with more homework, less sleep, and more things on my to-do list than I can actually articulate from memory. If there is one thing I have learned between this school and yoga is that all you need to do is take a deep breath and start at the top of the list. This week is a little hectic because it is not only a four day week, but it is in fact spirit week, completely devoted to the football game we have coming up on Saturday: Bears versus the Mariners. Merchant Marine Academy and Coast Guard Academy rivalry is something that is ingrained in us constantly for about the first month of school and then we take a year off and wait to start alllllll over. It should be a fun time, even with the required morale events like our pep rally and actual attendance of the football game.

 

But enough on required morale, the real excitement stems from the prospect that I will be getting my billet list (the list of all available jobs for me to choose from) sometime very soon, possibly tomorrow! I will then have a little less than a month to put together my top picks, of which I will submit and wait. I will be following the same timeline as OCS for this, so my billet night, the night when I figure out where I am going, will be with the OCS class that will be graduating in November! I will be graduating on December 16th! Something that I also just found out this week…

 

So in addition to preparing for graduation and figuring out all of the real world aspects of my life that I will be in charge of very soon, I have been staying busy with a plethora of activities. Lacrosse just started this week officially for the fall, and although I will not be playing in the spring, I am looking to get one last season of play in, especially while the weather is nice. My teammates are really an amazing group and since my classmates have graduated, I would say that I feel even closer to my lax girls. We have started practicing every day and working with our lifting coach every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In addition to lacrosse, I have been doing community service at the New London Homeless Shelter on Wednesday nights, where a group of cadets brings dinner to the people staying at the shelter.

 

School is a lot of fun, my schedule is nice and not too packed although this is a bit deceiving as I am actually signed up for a lot of extra work in the form of independent studies. I am taking scuba, of which we have completed three in-pool dives and, after one more, we will be venturing out to the open water. For my independent studies, I am doing an analysis of a treaty that we are working on as chair of the Arctic Counsel with Canada. Basically the treaty will make it so that countries will be permitted to conduct Arctic research in other countries’ Economic Exclusive Zones, a practice that is currently being exercised by some and not others. The paper will hopefully be used to outline the Coast Guard’s role in the application of the treaty and also look into similar historic events in which countries in the Arctic worked through treaties even in tense political times, giving us an idea of what to expect. The other study I am completing is a continuation of my summer work with GIS in which I will be finishing my Geographic Response Plans for the sectors New York and Long Island Sound. I like to be busy because it makes the time go that much faster, taking me closer to graduation! Sorry about another lengthy post. GO BEARS!

 

More about Lucy.

 

Summer Recap

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dow Photo Hello there! It’s been a while! I have been super busy experiencing many different things this past summer as a second class cadet.

 

After the Cape May Company Commanders (who train the recruits coming into the Coast Guard for a living) were with us for a week showing us the ropes on how to be cadre, we earned our second class shoulder boards! Once my relaxing three weeks of leave were up, it was back to the Academy for a week of Rules of the Road (ROTR) class where we are taught a curriculum that we will be able to use toward our 100 ton license when we graduate (as well as being a knowledgeable mariner). A few weeks later, I departed on Coastal Sail with my classmates in my cadre section on a Leadership 44 sailboat. We sailed around southern New England, to ports like Newport, Woods Hole, and Martha’s Vineyard. It was the best experience to date at the Academy, because we chose the route we were to take and what food we would eat — it was an unforgettable and unique leadership experience. Next, we traded our lifejackets for cadre gear for our turn trying our hand at leading swabs. There were ups and downs during cadre summer, but I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. As a whole, second class summer brought forth challenges to our class, but more importantly helped bring us closer, and I met new people that I would have never thought I would be friends with before. To top off the summer, our platoon placed third in sea trials, showing just how much we have improved, both as a cadre section and as a company.

 

With school and Windjammers in full swing, it’s hard to find time in between my classes, which are now almost all engineering-specific, and daily rehearsals but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My classes this semester are Fluid Mechanics, Electric Circuits and Machines, Principles of Naval Architecture, Maritime Watch Officer, and Thermodynamics (as well as Tennis as my final Lifetime Sports class). Although they are challenging, they are directly relatable to my major, and we have a great support network, between teachers, firsties and some of my best friends in the Nav Arch department! I’m excited for our new Windjammers show this year because our theme is pop music and it sounds super cool.

 

This summer made me realize just how much knowing your classmates helps. Although you might not always see them, you know you can count on each other whenever you need them, whether it’s a laugh, a hug or a pep talk.

 

Go Bears! Beat KP!

 

More about Emily.

 

Thank You CGA!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo Throughout middle school and high school I hated who I was. I tried so hard in academics and athletics to try to compensate for what I saw as both a grave sin and a major character flaw. I excelled in my classes and played three sports every year of high school. Going to Catholic school for most of my life, I developed a limited world view on issues such as gay rights. This view that was formed by my sheltered small town world imposed countless shame for what I was feeling sexually. I hid a big part of my life from my family and friends for years and years while at the same time trying to live as an honorable person. When I came to the Academy, my life started to change little by little. I became more comfortable with who I was as I was accepted into a group that prided themselves on openness and non-judgment. I was able to form a confident self-identity in which I embraced my feelings. I now love who I am. I would like to thank the fine institution in which I have learned to uphold the highest morals and values. Thank you to an institution that has transformed me from a self-loathing individual to a confident leader. I have learned that you cannot be an effective leader until you understand your abilities and limitations. I am a part of the Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard is a part of me, and I am ready for any challenges that may come my way for the rest of my time as a cadet and as a new officer!

 

More about Jackie.

 

“Lead Me to the Rock That is Higher Than I”

 Permanent link
Culp Photo My Christian faith has been an integral element of my experience at the Academy. It’s what gets me through the hard times, when I am frustrated or perhaps questioning why I chose to come here. But, more importantly, in the good times it helps me understand how blessed I am and how loved by Christ, and humbles me when I remember that all my joys come from His might. This summer, I got the chance to learn more about how to use my faith to become a stronger leader and officer by attending the Rocky Mountain High program in Buena Vista, Colorado. This is an adventure camp open to 2/c and 1/c cadets at the Coast Guard Academy, and unites us with cadets from West Point, Navy, Air Force, and ROTC programs as well as with a mentor who has served or is still serving as an active duty officer. For my week, we had a Marine Corps pilot who shared some incredible (and some sad) experiences from his active duty career, and how God was present in all of them.

 

While I was there, we did some pretty cool things, namely whitewater rafting, rappelling down a cliff face first, and scaling a 14,420 foot mountain…but I am fully convinced that doing fun activities is not why God placed me at that camp. Being there gave me a sense of reassurance about my career and my future. Heading into firstie year has been a bit nerve-racking. I’m already actively engaged in applying for flight school, busy with division work, and trying to motivate myself to remain a diligent student with graduation so close. I’m anxious about Billet Night, anxious about my performance here in my last year, anxious about preparing to commission… but, I realized from Rocky Mountain High that I am not alone in those concerns. The neatest thing I got from RMH was hearing about the struggles and excitement that all the other cadets from across the country were facing and, to my surprise, those were awfully similar to what I felt in my heart. Not only that, it’s always good to get a reminder of God’s presence in my life and in the events awaiting me this coming year. From what else can I draw my strength and courage, other than the feeling of God’s love?

 

The motto of Rocky Mountain High comes from Psalm 61:2 – “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Literally, we’re talking Mount Harvard…but even that mountain is smaller than the rock on which my faith stands, that is the rock of God’s love. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with this week in Colorado, getting to know my classmates better, meeting new friends, and coming closer to my Savior. And to think I grew so much in one week! I wonder what God has in store for me over the next 41?

 

More about Abby.

 

Halfway There...

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo The summer went by really fast, but it was filled with many great experiences. I learned a lot and I also learned there is so much that I do not know. Second class summer is centered around the idea of practicing leadership in many forms, from being cadre to being watch captain on coastal sail. You need to be well informed on different topics, as well as have good people skills, which is a lot easier said than done. As I move from an underclassman to an upperclassman, I will have to constantly deal with these issues. I am excited for the challenge!

 

Also worth noting this summer, I participated in an internship at the Army Research Labs in Aberdeen, Maryland. I was there continuing my corrosion research through the Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office in the Department of Defense. While I was there I got to meet a lot of very smart and very kind people there who shared an incredible amount of knowledge in a short duration of time. I learned all about electroplating and new electrochemical methods to evaluate metals. For a nerd like me, that was awesome! Through our collaboration, future officers at the Academy will be better informed about corrosion and the effect it has on our service. If anyone has questions about research here, please email me.

 

But enough of that, let’s talk about second class year so far! I am having a great time. I already love my classes (almost all science-based), my rugby team is really fun, and I have a great group of friends. My first two years were filled with hard work and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but I am glad to move on. I am looking forward to the back half of my cadet career! As a 2/c cadet, I can now wear civilian clothing on liberty and have “shorts” (which means I get Saturday night to Sunday off). Also, at this point, I have paid off my initial clothing allowance, so I am seeing a lot more in my paychecks. Needless to say, when you mix civilian clothes, shorts, and more money together, you have a lot of fun. It’s going to be a great year!

 

More about Cody.

 

The Boat

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo “C’mon, guys. Let’s get back to the boat.”

 

A chorus of groans and grumbles erupts from our group as we reluctantly make our way back to the USCGC Barque Eagle. Her masthead lights subtlety overlap the New York City streetlights, yardarms extended in an evening greeting. New York City was a heck of an awesome time. Loaded down with souvenirs, full stomachs, and fond memories, we crawl into our racks to get a few hours of sleep before our transit out from the Hudson River to New London, Connecticut.

 

Eagle usually gets a bad reputation because the work is hard and living conditions aren’t luxurious. However, being Eagle cadre turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I definitely learned more in those three weeks as cadre than in my ten weeks underway as a 3/c. While it may have been fun to yell at the swabs while they did push-ups, it was a much more applicable form of leadership to talk them through climbing the masts. Stress is put upon you in a different way, because your assignments, besides guiding the swabs, include collateral duties such as navigation briefs and log-keeping. Plus, the port calls weren’t a bad deal at all. I saw two free Broadway shows in New York City. And I saw my mom. That was pretty awesome.

 

I’m definitely going to try to get back onto Eagle next summer. But, before that, I need to get through this semester. I will let you know how that goes. Expect another entry soon if I’m not consumed by papers and reading assignments!

 

More about Olivia.