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My New Major...Management

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo As Winter Storm Juno hits New England, I finally get a chance to catch up on my cadet blogs. School was cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday, which was a nice break in the routine. January flew by, and starting next week it will be February! This semester for me so far hasn’t been as stressful as the last, as I am taking four less credit hours, and I am already adjusted to the duties of a 3/c cadet. I am excited to take classes in my new major, Management, like Financial Accounting and Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Financial Accounting has been a bit of a struggle for us all, but that’s just because it’s something most of us have never learned. I switched my major to Management because I wanted to learn about how the Coast Guard efficiently manages manpower, materials, and money. I am interested in a Human Resources ashore career between afloat assignments, and I think I can make a difference in how Coast Guard command cadre relates to its people through its Human Resources Directorate.


Watching workers complete the Academy-wide slate re-roofing project, I thought about my roots. I was born to a working class family and my community has given me an opportunity to attend college, a federal service academy at that. I am excited to learn the ins and outs of management today so that one day I can make a difference in the lives of Coast Guardsmen around the world. Pretty idealistic, so I better get to studying for my Physics II test tomorrow.


More about William.


Round 2

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo The last time I wrote one of these blogs, I was looking forward to going home for Columbus Day. I was a fourth class cadet, full of hope and motivation. Now, however... nothing’s changed. First semester was definitely something else. One class in particular, Statics and Engineering Design (SED), was especially the bane of my existence. This class had no mercy and proved to be a formidable course that would eventually drive me, as well as many of my shipmates, to the brink of madness. The only reason I got off that class with a C+ is because of the help of instructors and shipmates. Going to tutoring sessions and dragging a buddy to come with you is a great way to study. In fact, the mutual suffering brings you closer. Seriously though, studying with a friend is one of the best ways to learn. You teach each other, correct each other, and may even find new ways to think. This is one of the great things at the Academy; everyone’s a student, but, at the same time, everyone’s a teacher.


Now that first semester is over, we’re in MAP week. This is when everyone returns to the Academy and prepares for the next semester. Despite classes not being in session yet, it’s a pretty busy week because of things such as class scheduling, roommate switches and almost falling asleep during trainings. The busiest day was Wednesday, when the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft came and addressed the Corps of Cadets. He talked about leadership, the Coast Guard’s future plans and even handed out a few sea stories. I think everyone took something from his words, and whatever they take will show in how they do in the semester.


More about Olivia.


Last First Day of School

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo Today marked the “last” first day of school for my undergraduate degree. It is crazy to think about that and to finally write our graduation year at the top of my papers. The corps just returned from winter break, which was full of sand for some and snow for others. I was fortunate enough to go home for a week to spend time with my family and friends before heading over to the west coast of Florida for the swimming and diving training trip. My time spent at home was very relaxing and fun. It was great to spend time with the people I care about and miss so much while I am at school. The training trip was a lot of hard work but also very fun.


It was hard coming back to school mostly because of the significant change of weather, but I am happy to be back with my friends and to complete this final semester together. Our billet lists are due in a couple of days, which is exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. I am ready to submit my list just to stop thinking about it until Billet Night in March.


Not much to report yet for this semester. Since classes just started, the homework, quizzes, papers, and tests have not begun, but they will before I know it.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their loved ones and I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!


More about Sara.


Admiration and Faith in my Shipmates and Service

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Gurtler Photo Aaaaaaaand we’re back! Given my hectic schedule this past semester, I have not had an opportunity to post a blog in quite some time. But fear not! You are just in time for a crash course in everything that I have experienced since getting those blue shields!


In mid May, I became the Hotel Company Commander during the end of the year Change of Watch Ceremony. No more than 24 hours after pinning on my four stripes, I was on a flight to my first assignment of the summer: five weeks aboard the USCGC Sturgeon out of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Championed a “mighty warship” by its crew, Sturgeon is an 87’ patrol boat that has a variety of missions throughout the Gulf of Mexico. While onboard the Sturgeon, I had the opportunity to drive the cutter on my own, earn my qualification to carry OC spray (not a pleasant experience, trust me), train with the Marine Safety Response Team (MSRT- essentially, the Coast Guard equivalent to Navy Seals), board recreation and shrimping boats, and manage various collaterals that a junior officer would be assigned. I also acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge from my Commanding Officer. At 25 years old, LTJG Burke is tasked with being the Captain of a multi-million dollar Coast Guard asset. That’s pretty darn incredible! Mr. Burke taught me a great deal about ship handling and leadership through empowerment. In the time I got away from the ship, I even managed to experience New Orleans. Proud to say I can eat crawfish like a true Southerner – heads and all!


After my time in Grand Isle, I spent a week of leave in Miami. There I met my family to bid adieu to my brother as he boarded the USCGC Eagle for his 3/c summer cruise. While in Florida, my parents and I visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.


But vacation couldn’t last long – there was work that needed to be done back at the Academy. The Swabs arrived in early July and I was whisked into the duties and responsibilities of a company commander. This experience was undeniably the most rewarding leadership role I have ever experienced. I was directly responsible for leading and overseeing the growth and development of 20 2/c cadre as they indoctrinated 32 recent high school graduates into the United States military. How many 21 year olds can say that? While we did not earn Honor Company for the 2014 Swab Summer training period, we were still the best company (at least in my opinion, but I may be a little biased)!


After seven weeks of tremendous responsibility, the rest of the corps promptly arrived in August, eager to meet the Class of 2018 and ready to start a new academic semester. The fall Change of Watch Ceremony was held and I passed on my responsibilities as the company commander pinning on my one strip 1/c shoulder boards. I was ready to fulfill my duty as a division head within my company.


This past semester has deniably been my favorite. I received my highest term GPA, highest physical fitness exam score, single handedly organized the ‘Dress for Success’ event for the junior class, performed at the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum in San Francisco, California, in addition to numerous other performances in New York City and in the greater New England area, and I earned a leading role in the cadet musical. While on leave in December, I was notified that five of my classmates and I have been selected to compete and represent the USCGA in the ‘International Law of Armed Conflict Competition’ in San Remo, Italy this upcoming March from our success in the Coast Guard Academy’s International Law Class.


This semester also reiterated my admiration and faith in my shipmates and service. My friends and classmates are literally some of the greatest people I know and I am beyond excited to start our final semester together. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished as a team thus far and am anxious to see where our future careers lead us – especially as we are in the process of authoring our first station requests form. It’s undeniable, odd class years have it going on.


Go Bears! Go 2015!


More about Victoria.


Finals, Break and Returning to the Academy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo So the first semester has come and gone. It is hard to believe that I am 1/8 of the way through my journey at the USCGA. Although I may have never thought on R-Day that I would make it this far, it has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Finals approached right before winter leave. One difference I noticed between civilian college and the USCGA is that finals week is a lot more enjoyable at the Academy! While civilian college students cram to learn months’ worth of materials in one night, cadets here (including myself) use the free time during the day to study, but not having sports, extra military obligations, clubs, or classes makes finals week a bit more relaxing than the normally hectic work days.


Once finals were finished, I booked a train out of New London and went back home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was great to be home. I saw family from all over the country and spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying the time with old friends. I have heard that coming back to the Academy after winter leave is not enjoyable for fourth class, but honestly coming back was not difficult since I knew all of my friends are like family here and I would get to see them once I walked back in through the doors.


More about Hannah.