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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Keeping the 4/c Busy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Smith Photo Well, today is Friday. That puts an end to a long January week. The sun is setting sooner, colors is going off earlier, and the trees have lost their leaves. Winter is here, and months dotingly called “the dark ages” have begun at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. People from sunnier states such as California or Hawaii, or in some cases Haiti and Mexico, may be shocked at the weather and have difficulty adjusting through these upcoming months. However, being from Maryland, I’m all but too familiar with the dark days of January and February.

 

However, the Academy manages to keep the 4/c very busy. In just two weeks in being back from winter break we have already gotten deep into our new classes, attended entertaining presentations on the various majors at the Academy (as we are going to be officially declaring it in the next few weeks), and have received our official Class of 2020 boards packet. In just a mere 4½ months, the 4/c will turn into 3/c, which means carry-on! You can already feel the anticipation in Chase Hall, all of us knowing that we made it through the first semester here, and we just have a few more obstacles to overcome before we get there.

 

What is Boards? Well, if you peer through the archives of cadet blogs, you can find many more cadets before me talk about it when they were blogging as 4/c. In the Coast Guard fleet, for enlisted personnel to advance ranks, they must usually take and pass a written test followed by an oral test to move on. At the Coast Guard Academy, we replicate the process for 4/c to understand and better appreciate what the enlisted do to get where they are. This year is the first year they’ve done a written Boards test and an oral Boards test – usually, it has only been an oral test. As the 4/c go through the Boards process, we will begin to earn back privileges. When my shipmates and I pass Boards, we will earn the privilege to write on our whiteboards posted outside our rooms, to play music aloud, to use social media, and eventually experience carry-on.

 

Considering the past – and realizing I’ve been at the Coast Guard Academy for just eight months so far – I can say I’ve learned so much. I’m certainly not the same girl I was on June 26, 2016 (the day before R-Day.) As scary as Boards seems to some, I’m excited to do it. I’m preparing in every way I can, with all my shipmates in the great Class of 2020. We’re all going to lean on each other to make it through, and eventually, we’ll all be trading in our green shields for red shields, as one awesome class.

 

More about Sarah.

 

New Year, New Semester: Back to School at the CGA

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Well, we are back to school after some well-deserved vacation time. I spent my winter leave with my family on a trip to Miami and the Florida Keys which was absolutely incredible. After all that sun, sand, and salt water it was veryyyyy difficult to come back to Connecticut, but here we are back at school. A new semester is always exciting and I can’t wait to see what this one has in store for me. The big buzz around base this time of year is where people want to go for their summer assignments. It may seem a bit early to be thinking about summer, but Cadet Training has released the eResumes and everyone is talking about what Coast Guard units they want to experience, where they want to go, and what they want to accomplish in the fleet this summer as third class and first class. As a soon-to-be first class, this summer is extremely exciting. I have heard back from the Marine and Environmental Sciences department that I was chosen for the internship I applied to in Sitka, Alaska!!! I am crazy excited to be going to Alaska this summer to work on scientific research while experiencing life in the Coast Guard. It is an amazing opportunity to take part in this internship while living at the Coast Guard Air Station in Sitka. I hope to take full advantage of this experience by seeing what life is like at the air station and by getting on as many flights as possible!

 

In addition, the spring 2017 lacrosse season officially starts tomorrow and I could not be more excited for that as well. We have been practicing like crazy in our off season and can’t wait to show our coach what we’ve been working on. As a captain this season, I look forward to bringing my team together and setting a precedent for the future of Coast Guard lacrosse while leaving behind a legacy of hard work, family, and unity within our team. Stay tuned for updates on CGA Women’s Lax as the season goes on and happy New Year everyone!

 

More about Cece.

 

Staying Civil

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo Once when I was in middle school, I told my father I couldn't do math because I was a girl. Girls weren’t made to be as smart as boys, and we sure couldn’t do math. My Dad was livid! He refused to allow me to believe that, and spent the following hour informing me that a woman could do anything, especially math and assisted me in finishing my homework. I spent the next six years sprinting through science and math classes eager to learn and prove my value, I was good, I could do it, and I knew it.

 

Flash forward to finals at the end of 4/c year, I walk out of my Calculus II final in tears, praying for a high enough grade to squeak by so I would not have to come back for summer school. I sit down at my computer with relief, only to log on and open up an email from my Calculus II teacher addressed to myself and my company officer. I had passed my final, but I had only passed the class by the skin of my teeth. The email on my grade could be boiled down to one heart wrenching statement.

 

"Suggest you consider a major other that engineering with the effort you’re putting in now."

 

I was destroyed, I had only just switched my major to civil engineering and it was all I wanted to do, it spoke to me. This email haunted me through my third class summer, followed me through every watch on Eagle and Dauntless, and on the train ride back home. The second my Mother picked me up from the train station I begged her to bring me to the bookstore. I bought a Calculus for Dummies book and got down to work. Every day I watched how-to calculus video and pushed my way through every problem in that book. There were four weeks until I started Multivariable Calculus and I was going to go into that class guns blazing.

 

It took almost losing what I wanted to realize how hard you have to work to have it and stay at the Academy. I took that email statement with me to class every day, it no longer haunted me; it was my motivation, my driving force. I worked hard on homework, went for extra help if I needed it, and crushed every test that came across my desk. Like Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing that is worth doing is ever easy.”

 

I can only now reflect on how important these events were, to have led me to my current station, a female Civil Engineering student, having passed the FE standing on the edge of graduation knowing that only 100% effort will get you what you want, no matter who or what you are.

 

More about Emily.

 

Faculty that Cares

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Wheeler Photo Never before have I had the privilege of interacting with and being taught by such an incredible group of officers and professors. The instructors and staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy truly go above and beyond their job description to make sure that cadets here succeed. It is not at all uncommon for Calculus or Navigation teachers to stay after-hours until 10:00 p.m. tutoring students, ensuring that they fully comprehend certain material and are prepared for upcoming projects and exams.

 

BIt is these instructors that sacrifice their time that could be spent at home with family and loved ones, all for the sake of our education that make the Academy the best school in the nation. Not only do they commit time and effort, but the professors explain the material in ways that adapt to the learning styles of each cadet. For me, I know that math and STEM courses aren’t my strongest subjects, so when my teachers talk with me after class and explain various concepts in ways I can grasp and actually perform myself, I’m blown away! Never before have I been more confident in my abilities to do my Calculus and Physics homework, but also be able to fully understand it and explain it to others as a result of my instructor’s passion for teaching.

 

More about Pat.

 

Change is Possible

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo At the beginning of every new semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I always seem to expect that the previous semester and the new are going to be relatively similar. But no matter what year or season it is, I get a week into the new school semester and realize how quickly things change at the CGA. Last semester I had all engineering classes besides my Nautical Science III course. This semester I only have three engineering classes, and then I am also taking Atmospheres (a marine environmental science course), Personal Finance, Criminal Justice, and Personal Defense II. Overall, my workload, at least for now, seems to have slightly lightened. This gives me the opportunity to fill some of my time with what I choose.

 

So far, my days seem to go with school until 1500, workout until 1700, then dinner, Glee Club, meetings with the Guidon (the 2/c in charge of the 4/c cadets within Golf Company), and then more homework and bed. I applied for the privilege of being an MAA, or Master at Arms, for Golf and got it. This means that I work with the Guidon, one of my good friends, and the 4/c (freshman) to help develop them, while also working with the rest of the company staff to keep the company running smoothly and initiate new training ideas. What I am enjoying most about this semester is getting to understand how the Academy truly runs, and that the reason things get done around here a lot of the time is because cadets initiate and are it behind the scenes. It makes me realize that if you put the time and effort in, change is possible, and I can carry this lesson with me into my first unit after graduation.

 

More about Hannah.