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cadet blogs

Swab Summer: One Day at a Time

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo Dear Families of 2021,

 

How’s it going? Are you still adjusting to Swab Summer? It’s an intense seven weeks for sure. I am writing this at the beginning of the second week. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week! Swab Summer flies by faster than you think.

 

Some advice for both the parent and swab is to take it one day at a time. If you look at it as seven weeks, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Break it into manageable chunks, sometimes you just got to make it to the next meal. One thing I told myself is that anyone can do anything for five minutes, and just make there.

 

Another piece of advice to both is that the swabs are in good hands. Today, I was sailing by Jacob’s Rock and saw the waterfront cadre in action. They were very professional and created an engaging learning environment. I know in Chase, the cadre are more focused on the military and teamwork aspects.

 

To the parents, don’t be worried if your swab’s letters are brief. In the beginning, it’s usual for the letters to be short. However, toward the end of the summer, they’ll get longer and a bit more upbeat as they learn time management and get used to Swab Summer.

 

To the swabs, realize that the cadre were once in your position. Only two short years ago, I was marching around and sounding off with the rest of them. I squared my meals, I pushed deck, and I was far from perfect. Cadre are human too, and I can guarantee you that they made the same mistakes you are making.

 

Finally, don’t forget to laugh. I know that sometimes it’s hard but keep a positive attitude. You’re going to fail, but you’re also going to get back up.

 

Last year, I wrote an article on advice for Swab Summer. Here is the link: http://uscga.edu/blog.aspx?id=65657.

 

Very Respectfully,
2/c Deborah King

 

More about Deborah.

 

Marine Safety Training

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo During 2/c summer, cadets participate in a variety of programs to aid in our professional development. As part of this, cadets are scheduled for aviation training but have the option to trade it out for marine safety program at Coast Guard sectors across the country or naval engineering at the Coast Guard Yard. I worked with the command at my station last summer and was able to go to an air station for a day and shadow the pilots there. While I had a great time, I know that I don’t want to be pilot so I opted to do the Marine Safety Training Program this summer in lieu of the aviation training.

 

A classmate and I were sent to Sector Maryland - National Capital Region to work in their prevention office. We were able to observe domestic inspections, which are conducted on all qualifying U.S. flagged vessels. We were also able to participate in a multi-agency strike force operation (MASFO) for the Port of Baltimore. Working with counterparts from other agencies including Customs and Border Protection, the harbor police, Department of Transportation investigators, and multiple others, we searched containers departing and entering the United States on cargo vessels to fight against drug smuggling, human trafficking, and assure the containers were stable for sea to facilitate a safe transit. Later that week, we were able to observe a port state inspection, which is an inspection conducted on foreign vessels entering the U.S. We inspected a coal tanker after it completed its first ever transit.

 

The best part the experience was the crew from the prevention department. Everyone we worked with was welcoming, passionate about prevention, and willing to teach us about their work. We had a great time working with them and learning about possible career tracks in the Coast Guard.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

Dear Class of 2021

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo First off, congratulations on receiving your appointment and on deciding to come to the Academy. As Swearing-In Day gets closer, the excitement of receiving your appointment has probably transformed into nerves for Swab Summer to come; so, here are my tips for your summer ahead.

 

Don’t try to find or get the Running Light ahead of time. Trust me; you will have plenty of time to learn it this summer and during 4/c year. Spend the time between now and Swearing-In Day with your family and friends.

 

Come in mentally and physically ready. I usually recommend that you are able to do 30 minutes of running, upper body, lower body, and abs. If you can hit that mark great, if not, don’t let it ruin the rest of the time you have left at home with stress. The more important thing is that you can push yourself and never quit. A large part of Swab Summer is learning how to deal with failure and high-stress situations. Come in knowing that you’re not perfect, you are going to fail and that is okay. Learn from it and move on.

 

Don’t take things personally; this goes with being mentally prepared. Nothing your cadre do will be personal. There needs to be a drastic transformation in a relatively short amount of time and this requires all discrepancies to be addressed immediately. We are simply trying to get the action up to standard. People who take corrections personally and let them fester usually have a rougher time during the summer than those who learn the lesson and move on.

 

Ask your friends and family to write to you and send care packages. Getting mail during Swab Summer is super motivating. When my parents sent me mail during my Swab Summer, they would write corny jokes on the card. It is something little but it helped me a lot. Also, tell your parents to send you food if they can. You will be given enough time to eat and as much food as you want, but, as a swab you’re constantly moving so you’re constantly hungry.

 

Females, practice putting your hair up in a bun. Don’t cut your hair within two weeks of Swab Summer to give you a chance to get used to dealing with it. Bring extra hair ties and hair gel. If you think hair ties disappear fast at home, you’ll be amazed at the rate they go missing during Swab Summer.

 

Enjoy the time you have between now and swearing in. I know anticipating the summer is stressful but try to relax and enjoy this time. The summer will come and go; it is only seven-weeks out of your 200-week experience at the Academy. Your cadre are there to help you become a basically trained military member and an effective 4/c cadet. Believe it or not, we want you to succeed and complete the summer. We were in your shoes not too long ago.

 

If you have any other questions please feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu. I know most bloggers put this at the end of their entries, but we mean it. We volunteer to write these blogs because we remember how much they helped us when we were in your shoes so please do feel free to reach out, whether you’re in 2021 or not, we want to help you.

 

More about Jill.

 

The Academic Year Comes to a Close

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo As 3/c year slowly dwindles away, everyone at the Academy is looking forward to the summer. This summer, I will be cadre to help train the incoming swabs as they begin their transition from civilians to Coast Guardsmen and women. While it was a long journey for me to get through high school to the Academy, just getting to this point in my Academy career has been daunting.

 

All through high school I wanted to come here and it was not until May of my senior year that I was officially accepted. I was left wondering every day if what I was doing was enough, and here that has not changed. The days have gotten longer in both daylight and in workload. I know a lot of my friends take Friday night and Saturday off from doing anything academic-related but I have not found myself able to do that. Every day I have tried to do something academic. I feel that every day, I have to try my best here. I know a lot of people who do just enough work to keep that 2.0 GPA, or make that 200 on the PFE. I think we all need to try harder than that. Occasionally on a Saturday night I will sit in Panera Bread in Waterford and do my homework. I feel like there I can reconnect with civilization, but at the same time, do the work I need to be successful. I do not think there are any days off before that last final is handed back to the instructor. Some days are more relaxed than others, but there is always something academic to be done.

 

With the added freedom that has come with my class being allowed overnight liberty on Saturdays, I took the opportunity to head home for one night a few weeks ago. Right now I have wanted to be home more than ever. I have been talking to my friends at home about all the fun we are going to have this summer and I am looking forward to it. One program I am excited for this summer in the Coastal Sail Training Program when some of the other cadre and I take a two week yacht cruise through southern New England and we pull right into my hometown, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

Now it is all about finishing the last two weeks of the academic year strong, and, soon, summer will bring some new adventures and good times.

 

More about Derek.

 

Something to Consider

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo I’m pretty sure almost every blog starts this way, but time is flying by. As the corps returns from spring break, eyes are pointed toward summer training, and the increase in rank that comes with the Class of 2017 graduation and the Class of 2021 swearing in.

 

The Admissions Office is starting to send out appointments so I’d like to offer some food for thought to those agonizing about what to do as your future seems to hang over you now more than ever.

 

 

  1. If you are wait-listed and want to come here do NOT give up hope. I was wait-listed for the prep school program. After emailing my Admissions Officer at least once every other week, I was able to gain entry into the CGAS program and now I am about to recommit and become a 2/c. The wait list is just that, a wait list, not a denial. If you want to be here, this, more than ever, is your time to show it.
  2. Know why you want to be here. This may seem obvious, but even the most driven of people will be tested during their time at the Academy. If you are going here solely for the “free” college or because your parents want you to, odds are you will not make it to graduation. I put free in quotation marks because you give up a lot of freedom coming here, but if this is your dream and you want to be in the Coast Guard it is a worthwhile sacrifice.
  3. Choose the Academy because of the service, not the service because of the Academy. If you are choosing between academies remember that you will spend four years at the Academy, and at least five years in the service of that Academy. Know about the branch you are joining, not just the Academy. If you just want to go to the Coast Guard Academy but not serve in the Coast Guard you’re going to be in a difficult spot.

 

I know there is a lot to think about, but you’re about to make a big choice, a bigger one than you probably even realize. When I accepted my appointment, I knew I wanted to be in the military and I wanted to serve in the Coast Guard because I believe in the humanitarian aspect of our missions. This is a simple reason, but believing in the mission, and the amazing people at the Academy, is what helped push me through the hard days that are there by design.

 

If you have received an appointment, congratulations, it is not easy and it is something you should be proud of. If you are wait-listed, do not give up. I’m proof you can make it to the Academy and be successful. If you were not admitted, also don’t give up. If you want to be here go to another school, talk to your Admissions Officer at the Academy about what kind of classes to take and make you an even better candidate for the next application cycle. There are A LOT of cadets at the Academy who already have degrees and came to the Academy after the fact.

 

If you have any questions about the Academy or my limited knowledge of the operational Coast Guard, please feel free to email me Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu. I hope I have helped in your decision process. The great Class of 2019 can’t wait to meet you all!

 

More about Jill.