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cadet blogs

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.

 

Winter Recap

(Academics, Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo So, I am currently in Annapolis training with the sailing team on our spring training trip. Seeing the immense size of the Naval Academy certainly makes us comprehend how different the Coast Guard Academy really is. Being in Annapolis for the first time and seeing the large, Greco-Roman buildings of the Naval Academy certainly was a culture shock for me in comparing it to the small New England Coast Guard Academy campus with its federal-style architecture. I still would not want to be anywhere else.

 

At the end of winter break after a trip to the U.K. with my family, I flew to San Antonio to attend a conference among other Catholic college students called SEEK. We were part of a group of over 13,000 students including some from other service academies. It was truly a life changing experience, and with the spring semester ready to meet me with the end of the conference, I wish the conference never ended.

 

With the season pass I had to Killington, I took to the slopes for Martin Luther King weekend with a group of 15 cadets, and it was a blast. After that I only managed to get in another three days on my pass, those times going to Sunapee with my family. It was a great season over all, and with the increased liberty of 2/c year, next year will be even better.

 

The sailing team hit the water for the first time last week and we are now well under way for the spring season. The team is a little smaller now, but hopefully we will all get some good racing in.

 

One of my favorite classes this semester has been Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design. This has introduced me to all the crazy machines of the Academy’s power lab, which has enabled me to begin building a contraption known as a finger engine. I cannot wait to see the finished project.

 

The school year is slowly making its way toward the end. This summer will be a lot different from the last one, but it will be fun in its own ways. I just hope its gets warm a little faster this year.

 

More about Derek.

 

Fall Semester in Review

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo The fall semester was a long one and I’m certainly glad it is now over. So far during 3/c year I felt like I managed myself a lot better, but it certainly brought many new challenges.

 

Spring semester last year, I set the goal of getting a term GPA of 3.15 and making the Dean’s List. I did that last semester, but doing that again was harder than I expected. For most of the first half of the semester, I felt all my grades were where I wanted them, but quickly found out I had a lot of improvements to make if I wanted to stay on the Dean’s List. I really struggled with math this semester and my English grade was also not where I wanted it. Over the next two months I put a lot of time into my schoolwork and was able to raise the grades in most of my classes. I achieved my goal of staying on the Dean’s List, but getting there certainly had its sacrifices.

 

I felt that I did not spend as much time off as I wish I could have. I spent a lot of time on most weekends doing work. But I did march in the Veteran’s Day Parade in New York and that was a lot of fun. Being close to home, I also managed to take an extra weekend visit my family and was able to I bring friends from school.

 

Thanksgiving allowed me to catch up with some friends, but it seemed like a tease because I was home for only the brief period of five days and I had other work to do while I was there. After Thanksgiving I had just under two weeks left before winter break. With a lot of hard work, I was able to get out of the Physics final, leaving me with only two exams to take. After the first two days of final exams, I was home.

 

For Christmas, Golf Company went crazy with Christmas decorations. There were a lot of rooms that you could walk into and they did not feel like Chase Hall. I hung lights around my room, decorated a Christmas tree, and my door. I also put up a little Christmas village on the empty desk in my room.

 

Having two 4/c this semester gave me a lot of perspective and it was weird thinking that was me only a year ago. At the end of my semester, the other 3/c and I evaluated their performance at the end of the semester and they both did well for their first term. I did better than I expected and received the highest military score for an academic term yet.

 

Thus far, I have seen a couple friends from home over break, going skiing, hiking, and now I am off on a family trip to Great Britain. This coming semester I think will be a lot of fun. I have a ski pass to Killington to get away and here at the Academy I will have three different 4/c I am in charge of. My classes are also going to be more career-specific this semester as I am now done with general math and English classes. 125 weeks to go until commissioning, and Cadre Summer is on the horizon. I can’t wait!

 

More about Derek.