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cadet blogs

Back to School and Billet List

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Well, here we are back at school for my very last semester at the CGA! I really can’t believe it, my time here feels like it has gone by so fast and yet I have seen and accomplished so many things! The most exciting part about this semester thus far was putting in my billet list, also called a dream sheet. This is a list of all of the places and platforms (or different types of vessels/boats/jobs) that you are interested in applying for your first tour. The initial step is to look at the shopping list. This is a published list of all the jobs in the Coast Guard that are available for the newly graduating ensigns (like me!!). Once this list is published we get to go through the options and make our own list, in preferential order, based on what we would like to do our first tour.

 

For me personally, my list was a lot of fun to make and a lot of tough decisions. I was born and raised right here in New England, but throughout my time at the Academy, I have had some incredible and unique opportunities to travel and through those experiences I was able to make my list. I have traveled to, and seen more of this world and more of our beautiful country in the last four years than I ever even imagined for my entire life! Anyway, I used those wonderful experiences to craft my list. My first choice is Seattle, Washington on the Coast Guard’s polar icebreakers! Second on my list is the black hull or buoy tending vessels in District’s 17 and 14 (that’s Alaska and Hawaii, pretty far from home for me)! I know that no matter what I end up getting it will be quite the adventure. I am so excited to find out and I can hardly wait. Stay tuned for my March blog because I will know on March 8th, our Billet Night, which will be live-streamed this year!

 

Aside from the excitement of billets, life at the Academy is pretty much back to normal. This semester I have my very own division consisting of cadets from each class. We are in charge of the common rooms in our company and regimental recycling. All of the members of my division are outstanding cadets and I am so beyond excited to be able to work closely with them this semester to improve the recycling program at the Academy. So, that is what is going on now here at school, but be sure to check back in after Billet Night!

 

More about Cece.

 

2018: A Monumental Year

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo 2018. The year is finally upon us. For most, it will be another year full of escapades marked with happiness, sorrow, and more. For a small group of people though, this is a monumental year because it leads to the end of our time as cadets as well as the beginning of a new adventure. Assignment requests, “billet lists,” were due this previous Friday. Submitting my “job application” felt dreamlike. As cadets, you imagine the day that you will get the list of possible locations from Coast Guard detailers and rank your career choices. When I got the list, the options were overflowing. My eyes jumped from job to job, and it took me weeks to finally put them in order of preference because, honestly, every billet seemed intriguing. When the mouse finally clicked submit I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. The choice was out of my hands and the waiting game had begun.

 

While waiting, I’ve started the unstoppable reminiscing regarding my time here. The Academy has taught me immeasurable lessons throughout these past four years. I’ve watched myself and every other classmate grow and change from the struggle of late nights and the overwhelming number of opportunities available to us at this institution. I would not trade it for anything. People always ask me if I stayed at University of Colorado would I have wanted to, especially when it’s a late night or mentally taxing week, but I always have the same response. Never. I think this Academy prepares you as best as it possibly can for challenges that await you upon your first assignment. Whether it is learning how to problem solve, pushing yourself to excel in your weak spots, encouraging and uplifting others, or mentoring those around you, the connections and opportunities I have experienced here are unlike any other place I have ever been in my life, and I am truly grateful for that.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Equestrian Club

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo One of my favorite activities to be involved in here at the Academy is the Equestrian Club. Through the Equestrian Club, cadets here are able to take part in all kinds of equestrian-related activities from trail rides to horse shows.

 

I have been riding horses ever since I was about 6 years old. During my first years here at the Academy, I was always so busy with classes and military obligations but I was able to get out a few times to the barn to see the horses and even go on a trail ride through the woods. However, now that my schedule has lightened up a bit as a first class cadet, I have had much more time and opportunities to go horseback riding. Through the Equestrian Club, I am able to ride at Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Ledyard, Connecticut just ten or so minutes from the Academy. Mystic Valley has a beautiful barn with lots of all different kinds of horses. My instructor at the Hunt Club, Richard, is a fabulous teacher as well. It is so nice to be able to get away from the stress of the Academy for a bit and get to spend time with the horses. Riding is also a great way to get your exercise as well!

 

Over the winter, I was given the opportunity to lease one of the horses at the barn and I fell in love. Her name is Merry Melody and she is one of the sweetest horses I have ever met. Over winter leave and into this semester I have been so fortunate to be able to ride her almost every day and to take lessons once a week as well. I have seen a huge improvement in my riding and the strength of my legs too. We have been doing a lot of great flat work and even some jumping, too! We are so lucky here at the Academy to have so many wonderful opportunities such as going horseback riding! If anyone has any questions about the clubs here at the Academy or the Equestrian Club, please don’t hesitate to email me.

 

More about Cece.

 

The AIM Experience

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Holland Photo I am 1/c Taylor Holland and I served as the Battalion AIM Officer for the summer of 2017. If you are reading this and considering applying for the summer of 2018 AIM program, do it. AIM is the only service academy program that accurately depicts what the summer would be like as a swab if you were to be appointed to the United States Coast Guard Academy. AIM stands for Academy Introductory Mission, and that is our goal; to introduce you to what we are as a Coast Guard. Over the course of a week, you will have one to two days of simulated Swab Summer as well as a full day of Coast Guard unit tours including helicopters, small boats, training vessels, and a patrol boat. You will have the opportunity to learn about all of our academic majors, as well as how to choose a major if you do not come to the Coast Guard Academy. We will not push you to apply to the Academy but will show you the opportunities that exist if you do apply, which include academics, athletics, camaraderie, and an exceptional career after graduation. It truly is a beneficial experience for all who come, regardless of if you apply after the end of your week experience.

 

When I was a senior in high school, I applied for AIM and did not get in; however, when I reported in for my Swab Summer, many of my classmates who had gone through the program already knew each other and had a general idea of what to expect for their Academy experience. As the Battalion AIM Officer, I was tasked with running the complete AIM program from start to finish with 42 trusted 2/c cadre. Over the course of three weeks, I saw 600 AIMsters transform from individuals into teams, and I saw them become inspired to join our Coast Guard family and inspired to better themselves. We are the smallest armed service, but that means that we know each other, and look out for our own. I'm four months away from the end of my Academy career, and while here I have made my best friends and had the best times of my life. If you're considering the service academies and want a real taste of what it would be like to attend one, start your journey a year early and come to AIM.

 

More about Taylor.

 

Back

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo “Well, this is it. This journey has been amazing, I’ve made so many new friends, and I’m sure going to miss it. I’ll be back,” I thought as my plane departed Ireland. That’s right, Ireland. You thought I was talking about the Academy? No, no, no. I booked it out of here right after my last final and went straight to Dublin. After that, it was a week of traveling through Belfast, Cork, and Galway (the Cliffs of Moher was by far one of the highlights of the trip). It was a much needed break after the first semester gauntlet we went through, and it was a great way to decompress. If you’re ever going to travel solo anywhere, go to Ireland.

 

So, school stuff. I’m taking Mandarin Chinese again at Connecticut College across the street, which is a great way to experience “civilian college” in the middle of the military lifestyle. I’m taking a class on Arctic Studies, International Development, and the standard Maritime Law Enforcement class. I’m still boxing, and hopefully I’ll make it through this last season without injury. Senioritis will come soon enough – hopefully I’ll still be able to muster up the energy to write these blogs (sorry, Ms. Leann). Finally, billets. I’ve spent a solid month and a half thinking about the next two years of my life, but my personal crunch time came days before our applications were due (as usual). Nevertheless, I’ve put in exactly what I wanted, so we’ll see what happens on Billet Night (48 more days!).

 

And that’s about all I have for now. While grades, billets, and sports are going to be lingering around in my thoughts, this is the last time all my friends are going to be a two minute walk down the hall, rather than a five day drive across the country. Frankly, I’m just going to have a good time this semester.

 

More about Olivia.