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cadet blogs

A Semester at Naval Academy

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Greetings and Happy New Year! I apologize for the large time gap between my blogs, but I got tied up with school work, extracurricular activities, and general life at the Naval Academy. As I begin my spring semester again back at my home Academy, I thought that it was only fitting that I reflect on my time in Annapolis, and offer some quick differences and similarities between the two academies that I have had the privilege to attend.

 

As mentioned in my August 2014 blog, I can’t state enough how welcoming the Brigade of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy was, and especially 16th Company. They accepted a new classmate with open arms and were quick to make me part of their daily lives, which I am extremely grateful for. I truly think that the connections that I made at USNA are as deep as the connections that I have made with some of my classmates here at CGA, and I don’t think that it is over-exaggerated to say that I have made several lifelong friends.

 

It’s amazing how similar life at the two academies is – they truly are closer to being the same than they are different. Both schools are obviously military, so they have similar things that come with that – formations, mandatory trainings and classes, inspections, military drill and reviews, etc. They also have similar restrictions on your personal life such as limited times that you can leave the campus. Both schools also put a strong emphasis on sports and physical fitness, and emphasis that is rarely found at any civilian college. They both also both foster strong friendships between classmates and are home to truly outstanding people.

 

However, for all the things that the academies do have in common, they also have several differences. Most of the differences I feel are brought about because of the different sizes and locations of the schools.

 

The Naval Academy is approximately four times larger in size, and with that size comes opportunities in academics and the community that I feel that the Coast Guard Academy cannot replicate. As example, it’s hard for us to go directly to medical school out of CGA, which is possible at Navy, because we are needed immediately in the Coast Guard fleet. The size also helps the Naval Academy have a larger presence in the surrounding community. However, a benefit of the Coast Guard Academy’s smaller size is that it allows you to truly know all your classmates, which is impossible at Navy. I feel that having stronger bonds with your classmates is one of the things I truly like about the Coast Guard Academy as compared to Navy.

 

The Naval Academy’s location in Annapolis, located less than an hour away from our nation’s capital, creates an influx of visitors, both civilian and military, that is unheard of at the Coast Guard Academy. There are multiple tourist groups that tour the Yard in Annapolis daily, while at the CGA there might be an occasional tour group once every couple of weeks. Additionally, it is a lot easier for higher level military officials to make the trip from D.C. to Annapolis than the sojourn up to New London, and for that reason you see more brass at Navy as compared to Coast Guard.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Navy. It was great to get a different perspective on the military and Academy life that would not have been offered to me if I did not take the opportunity. I will not soon forget marching on at the Army-Navy football game, dining out with 16th Company, nor the outstanding professors and friends that I made. That being said, I know in my heart that CGA is the school for me, and the Coast Guard is the military branch for me. Despite the colder weather, I am definitely happy to be among my classmates and friends back in New London this spring. As always, if you have any questions about the Coast Guard Academy, the Coast Guard, the military, or any other subject that you would value my insight, I invite you to email me at James.D.Engelhardt@uscga.edu. Until next time, Semper Paratus and Go Bears!

 

More about James.

 

New Semester, More Responsibility

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Happy New Year, CGA blog readers! I hope you all had a great time celebrating the arrival of 2015, because I certainly did. I hope 2015 will be the best year yet. For me, it means in just a year and a few months, I will be graduating this fine institution. I am incredibly excited to get going this semester. Usually I am apprehensive coming back from leave or summer, but this semester I was excited to come back.

 

The week we come back from winter leave is called the Midyear Administrative Processing week (MAP week for short). We all get new roommates and move everything we own into new rooms. Usually, MAP week is pretty relaxed. We have all sorts of trainings to go to, but without the pressure of academics, MAP week is a breeze. For me, this MAP week has been very busy. In addition to all the trainings and the fitness test, I have a lot of extra responsibility this semester because I will be a guidon.

 

A guidon is the lead second class in each company. We are expected to be the standard for military excellence, and our primary responsibility is to train and supervise the fourth class for the whole semester. As a guidon, I have a lot of responsibility, but I also have a lot of flexibility to do what I want to train the fourth class in the most effective manner. I have wanted to be a guidon since I was a fourth class because I have always endeavored to better myself and to pursue leadership opportunities. As a leader, I take my responsibility very seriously, and I approach every opportunity to lead with an open mind to change. I take great care to ensure that I balance the demands I place on my subordinates. The mission, to effectively train the fourth class, must be balanced with taking care of them as people. Guidons can be known for making the fourth class’ lives much more difficult, but I strive to make their lives more enjoyable. I plan to motive them to do their jobs because they see the value in doing it for themselves. I will use every tool I have to motivate them, but I plan to use rewards and recognition of good performance as the primary tools to encourage them to be the best that they can be.

 

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for me to tell you everything I have to as a guidon. However, if you are the parent of a fourth class, or if you know one, I can assure you that I will take good care of them. I have put in hours of work every night this week to organize and think up ideas to train these cadets. All of the guidons here care about the fourth class, and we are working hard to transform them into better cadets, people, and future officers.

 

If you want to know more about MAP week and the trainings, or about what I am asked to do as guidon, please feel free to email me anytime at Hunter.D.Stowes@uscga.edu. Happy New Year! Go 2015! I hope to hear from you soon.

 

More about Hunter.

 

Militarily, Academically, Athletically

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo Hi everyone!

I’m so sorry that it has been so long since I have written last; my semester has been one of the busiest I have had so far! I’ll give you a little look at what I’ve been up to last semester militarily, academically and athletically.

 

Militarily – Last semester I was the Support MAA for Foxtrot Company. This position helps the Guidon train the 4/c as well as helps the 1/c Support Department Head with their duties. With this responsibility I worked with the 4/c and I answered questions and supported the Guidon with their roles. This was a great experience for me because I got to learn about my own leadership style and figure out ways to improve it.

 

Academically – This was my best semester yet academically. I took very interesting major-specific classes. I took Fisheries Biology, where I learned everything I could ever want to know about fish and took an awesome field trip to Mystic Aquarium! I took Ocean Dynamics where I learned about how water travels in the ocean and the physics behind it. The last MES class that I took was GIS or Geographic Information Systems. This is a class where you create a map using computer software that you can then use to spatially analyze data. It was one of my favorite classes that I have taken and at the end of the course we got to work in groups and solve a marine problem from beginning to end. I really enjoyed all my classes and can’t wait to take more major-specific courses.

 

Athletically – Once again, I sailed last semester. The team had one of its best seasons in a long time. The women’s team was ranked 1st in the entire nation for a month! So that being said, we really did have a great season. We worked hard on and off the water to do that well and we are going to continue working hard to get ready for the spring season and hopefully qualify for Nationals again this year!

 

Now that I let you know a little of what I have been doing, I’ll give you a heads up on the things I have coming up in the future! I have so much to be excited for – Ring Dance, school, sailing, and 1/c summer! I’ll make sure I write more often this semester! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Kayla.M.Ellis@uscga.edu.

 

More about Kayla.

 

On Exchange from USAFA

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Leech Photo Not gonna lie. I’m homesick. Dreadfully so. I miss my bold, brilliant mountains and my equally bold, brilliant friends. I miss the Air Force culture and how easy it is to navigate. Granted, I’m completely biased, having spent over two years immersed in it and just about a month immersed in the Coast Guard experience. The services value different ideals, and have significant differences in priorities, for good and for bad. Adjustment has not been easy and I’ve certainly been stumbling over myself and the expectations upon me.

 

But the one place I haven’t been stumbling is on the dance floor. I was born a dancer, always ready to shake my “thang” out on the floor. And I might not have been the most graceful of people (and I still am not) but I can pop, lock and drop with the best of ‘em. And I truly love it. I’m not stretchy at all though I’m working on my splits (only two hand lengths away from a full!). Every day, I run down to the gym and catch the tail end of wrestling practice in their padded room. I hook up to the massive speakers and just let it go. And all the stress and muddle of the day melts away and I can finally be free.

 

I do love sports period for this reason, and it’s one of my favorite parts about this place. USCGA integrates time every day to physically get out there, and get away from the stress of Chase Hall (the dormitory) and academia. I don’t even think about homework before 2000 because I’m going to be out there, dancing.

 

Speaking of dancing, I didn’t even mention ballroom dance. This year, I’ve joined the International Ballroom Dance Club, which teaches cadets dances such as the tango, the waltz, the foxtrot, the salsa and other dance styles. Having been a devoted blues dancer for some time, I’m absolutely enjoying it.

 

Oh, I didn’t even mention my acting career, which has begun (and will probably end) here at USCGA. I’m playing Martha Gillette in “The Game’s Afoot”. It took me almost three weeks to figure out my voice for the play, and the lines themselves are coming along. Sorta. Kinda. Okay, fine I’m still reading them out of the script but at least I have the right voice in which to read them. If you are going to be in the neighborhood of New London on Friday October 24 or Saturday October 25, swing on by and watch me work the stage with my coasties. We’d love to have a full house.

 

Regardless, I love what I’m doing for extracurriculars, and though the military and academic change is slow going, with the happiness everything else I’m doing gives me, I’m sure I will catch up, and catch up soon.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration, Very Respectfully,
2/c Brenna Leech, USAFA Exchange Cadet
USCGA Foxtrot Company

 

More about Brenna.

 

Busy and Blustery

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo I can’t say I didn’t see this coming: me drowning in a ridiculous amount of work. Fish Bio lab final, PECS test, lacrosse, community service, Probability and Statistics homework, quizzes, more homework…so much stuff. Regardless, Thanksgiving was great, too short, but relaxing quality time at home. I was able to take my little brother on a run, and to spend a lot of time with my little sister and best friend, who studied in New Zealand all of this past semester. I thankfully didn’t have any work to do apart from study, so I was able to escape from the Academy for almost a week. This is my last full week of class for my second class first semester! I can’t believe how fast the time has passed. Cheer season ended two weeks ago in Boston at a night game. Now I am focusing on lacrosse and I am getting excited for the spring season.

 

Over winter leave, I hope to stay busy. I will divide my time between community service, running for the PFE, spending time on my grandmother’s farm and hanging out with my siblings and friends. I know that even though we have a long break this year, it will go fast, propelling us all into another semester and a very cold few months of January and February.

 

I hope everyone has a nice break, let me know if you have any questions, or if you want to hear about something in particular!

 

Email me at Lucy.M.Daghir@uscga.edu. :)

 

More about Lucy.