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Something Different

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Quintero Photo Last semester I took a class at Connecticut College and I learned a new way of thinking and experienced something different that I had not been exposed to at the Academy. Conn College is a liberal arts college across the street from the Academy and they offer very different courses than the Academy. Cadets in good standing, with the approval from the Dean of Academics, get an opportunity to take a class across the street. When I attended my first class over there, all the students were looking at me when I first came into the classroom, because I stuck out like a sore thumb. That is because we still have to wear our uniforms to class. There are many differences between the Academy and Conn cultures that I noticed on the initial day, first off there is no need to ask permission from the instructor to come into the classroom and if you come in late there are no penalties. Secondly, you are not required to stand at attention when the professor comes into the classroom. Lastly, some professors like to set a comfortable environment by having the students call them by their first name. To any college student the latter are merely everyday things, for me it was unorthodox. However, soon I would find out that my new classmates and I were not very different from each other. We both enjoyed the gifts of life such as sports, music and good food. The class I took required every student to attend five cultural events, and it forced me to experience new things I would have probably never ventured out to!


More about Carlos.


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.


Happy 2015!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo It is a surreal feeling to finally be in the year that my classmates and I are graduating. Since Swab Summer, “2015” has accompanied us through our cadet experience. We were referred to as the “Class of 2015” and that was where our identity lied.


Going into the last semester at the Academy, I am feeling bittersweet about graduating. Just when the routine at the Academy is becoming familiar, it is almost time for us to leave. We are all looking into available billets, which are the job assignments and locations for ensigns. Our jobs and the responsibilities involved in being an officer seem so foreign right now even though it is in our near future. Aside from planning for the future and putting in for assignments, I am excited for all the events coming up for us! I am most excited about spending my last semester with my friends and having a good time before we disperse across the United States.


As a class, we were pretty successful at leading the corps fall semester, I hope we can continue our positive influence spring semester and set the underclass up for success as they finish off their Academy experience and eventually join us in the operational fleet.


I was very fortunate to have a good 2014 and I looking forward to what 2015 will hold for me! First off will be the last first day of classes!


More about Wu.


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.


Throwback Thursday: Winter Wondering What to Do

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo Last February I worked on a collaboration video with my classmate and fellow blogger Luke Carani. In honor of the 2014 winter Olympics we put together a video about the fun activities available to us during the cold winter months. The only thing is that school and other things got in the way, and I wasn’t able to finish editing the video in time to get it out during the winter. So I waited until this winter to put it out as a way to remind myself that just because it’s cold, there is not reason why we still can’t have fun and stay active outside this winter! Check it out!

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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More about Justin.