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Community Service Opportunities

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo Cadets are required to participate in at least six community service hours each semester. There are many service opportunities, and lots of people choose to go above and beyond the requirement. I enjoy doing CS events because they are a great way to get off campus and interact in a normal way with the community surrounding the Academy.


During one of the first weeks of school, a group of us volunteered to do odd jobs at a food festival in Mystic, which is a small and charming town surrounding a seaport, and is where the Mystic Flag Ceremony is held during Swab Summer. The festival was a lot of fun, and I got to talk to several of the civilian volunteers. A couple months later, I signed up to work at the Mystic Pirate Festival, and some of the same volunteers were there. They recognized that we were from the Coast Guard, and it was nice to catch up with those community members.


I also happen to be in a community-service oriented division this semester. The entire corps of cadets is divided into eight companies, which each contain three departments. Each department is organized into several divisions, each of which has a specific job to do within the corps. A division is made up of one or two cadets of each rank. My division is the community service liaison division, so we act as community service representatives for our company and help Hotel Company, whose company duty it is to run community service.


This semester, we organized two CS events for Foxtrot Company, which turned out really well! One was an opportunity to volunteer as a company at Fields of Fire, an outdoor haunted maze. We dressed up as zombies to scare people, and it was a blast. The second event was a beach clean-up in Rhode Island. Together we collected 170 lbs. of trash!


More about Eva.


From California to New York…

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo I remember when I was applying to the Coast Guard Academy, I had resigned myself to one (false!) idea – it’s the U.S. Coast Guard, so I’m not going to get to travel much farther than the states. Being someone with a huge travel bug (I had been to six other countries by the time I enrolled), you can imagine how discouraging that thought was. Fortunately, I dealt with my misconceptions, reported in, and had my preconceived notions blown completely out of the water. Not only have I had the chance to go international with the Coast Guard, I’ve been to states I had never seen, and taken day trips to cities that used to require weeks of planning!


Back in Nebraska, going to New York City was an exotic vacation spot; somewhere on that strange land they call the “East Coast.” That being said, I’ve now been there seven times, sometimes just for a day! The other popular destination is Boston – while I’ve only been there once, it seems like every other weekend there’s a flock of cadets headed that way! One can also check out Providence and Hartford for a pleasant day trip (not as popular destinations, however, as they’re still within the 75-mile zone in which underclass are prohibited from wearing civilian attire).


That’s all just on weekends during the school year – imagine where we go when we have more time! Over the summer, my classmates and I visited Canada and the Caribbean on the Tall Ship Eagle (including another stop in New York City on my phase – go figure), and some of us went to such places as Guam, Hawaii, Alaska (my first time there!), and Mexico! Over leave periods there are often international trips available. Some cadets save up their monthly paychecks and go on excursions to Cancun, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and other such places during their winter, spring, and summer leave periods. The Command Religious Program offers a trip during spring breaks – last year, they went to Israel, and this year will be going to Ireland. As much as I would love to join them, I haven’t been able to go on those trips because Glee Club does its own events during that time (by the way, if you really want to go places, join Glee – it’s responsible for half of my New York trips, and for taking me to Maine and California also for the first time!). Last year we enjoyed a few days in Florida, but even all that sunshine can’t trump the excitement I feel for this year’s spring voyage – Germany! Even better is the fact that I get to travel with my dad on that trip; turns out everyone can benefit from Coast Guard travel!


So, technically, the Coast Guard is in the Department of Homeland Security… but I’ll tell you what, that homeland is a whole lot more expansive than you might imagine.


More about Abby.


Giving Thanks for Friends

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo As Thanksgiving Leave approaches, it is the perfect time to reflect on what we are thankful for. The other day, I was asked to say the thing I was most thankful for this year. There were many things I could have answered. I could have said that I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had this past year including sailing to the Caribbean and working in the Coast Guard fleet for six weeks, or for having job security and no college debt in the future, or for being able to earn good grades this semester, or for the endless support from my family, or for everything I’ve learned this past year. The list goes on because there is so much to be thankful for each and every day. Right now, though, I am most thankful for the new friends I’ve made at the Academy.


It amazes me how close I have become with people I’ve known for just over a year. I feel like I’ve known my three best Academy friends for my entire life. I could trust them with anything. Maybe it comes with living in the same building and happens at every college, but I think it’s a little different here. At the Academy, cadets all face the same challenges that people our age normally don’t have to face. It’s the things like not having cars and having specific liberty hours that give us a different kind of bond. Instead of being designated drivers for each other, we walk around aimlessly together, visit each other’s rooms, and ride the liberty bus together. Like other college students, we’ve helped each other through our worst times, but unlike normal college students, by worst, I don’t mean drunk and out of control. I mean stressed out, struggling to stay awake at a 7 a.m. training after a long night of homework and only 30 minutes of sleep.


The challenges the Academy provides us strengthen our friendships the way no other school can. My friends here are the only ones who completely understand what I’m going through, and sometimes, they are the only ones I can go to because of that. No matter how many stories I tell my family and friends from home, I know they will never comprehend my new lifestyle the way my friends here can. This new network of support not only gets me through every challenge here, but it makes it so much more fun. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the laughs, memories, and support that my friends have given me this past year and for being able to grow and learn through this Academy life together.


More about Sarah.


San Diego: Boats and Surfing

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Dahill-Baue Photo As the days grow shorter and darker, I have been reflecting a lot on the summer….


This past summer was one of the best summers of my life. I started my summer by reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle here in New London, Connecticut. Eagle was fun, but hard work. I loved climbing in the rigging, and had a lot of fun at our port calls in Puerto Rico, Aruba, and Cozumel.


However, the highlight of my summer was working at the Coast Guard Station in San Diego, California for the second half of my summer. I was stationed there with my friend, 3/c Carlie Gilligan, and we worked toward getting qualified as a member of the boat crew and our pepper spray qualification (yes, you get sprayed point-blank with military-grade pepper spray and then you have to fight someone off and gain control of the situation while your eyes are on fire). The boat crew qualification was a lot of hard work, encompassing everything from learning how to drive the boats to first aid.


However, it wasn’t all work all the time. We worked two days on, and then would have two days completely off, so Carlie and I got in a lot of surfing, beach time, Padres games, and adventuring.


On days we could leave early from the station, the typical day looked like this:


0645: Rise and shine!


0700: Breakfast in the galley


0800: Workday begins


0800-1045: Cleaning boats, working toward qualifications


1045-1230: Lunch, working out, relaxing


1230-1400: More cleaning boats, working toward qualifications, going out in the boats, having fun


1500: Leave base, drive to pick up fellow 3/c stationed on USCGC Boutwell, also in San Diego


1600-1900: Surfing in Coronado


2000: Mexican food dinner in Downtown San Diego


2200: Back on Base, hanging out, ready to repeat!


Overall, it was an AWESOME summer!


More about Clara.


Two Weekends

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo Today I am sitting in my room looking at my plane tickets for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time I’ll be home since the summer, so that is exciting. As mentioned in a previous post, this semester has flown by! I looked at my schedule and found that I only had two open weekends this semester. Granted I ended up planning something on both of those weekends, but it goes to show what being involved gives you.


There are some negative auras that fill the p-ways here at the Academy. It is easy to find the negatives in life, but I don’t like the easy road. I look at the positive. Once you start, it becomes easy to see past the negative attitudes people carry with them. So with that, here are my tips to be more positive. (They may be needed as we head into another New England winter.)


First off, just smile! It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how often you truly don’t smile. If you simply smile more, your brain and body will follow and you will feel happier.


Work out. It may be cold out, but going to the gym and getting your blood flowing will make your aura feel more positive right away. Plus I feel way better about myself after a workout.


Sleep. Do not neglect your beauty sleep! Yes work is important along with school, but at the end of the day you won’t function, let alone be happy, if you are sleep deprived.


The biggest thing for me to stay positive is to be involved. I am involved in numerous activities, hence the ‘only two free weekends’ thing. Being involved gives me the friendships from a variety of groups that all helps me stay positive. I am an extrovert, so by nature being surrounded by people does make me happy, so this may be a little biased.


These are just a few things I do to stay positive as much of the time as I can. The point is, it is easy to fall into a slump of negativity with those around you. I see this all the time. Take the challenge and smile a little more. That smile and simple “how are you?” could make someone’s day. Then like a domino effect that person might smile at someone and so forth. Happiness is contagious so spread it, don’t dampen it.


As always I am open to any questions or comments! Reach me at


More about Shane.