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cadet blogs

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.

 

Chasing Dreams

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo This past semester I sat in my room, lights off with only a yellowed bulb desk lamp, while I stared at math problems, listening to music with a pencil in hand. Time would pass with problems unsolved and my eyes would wander toward the guitar sitting in the corner, or the pack of crayons I bought on the way to a cross country meet, or the pumpkin sitting in the window sill I had so doodled on with sharpie images such as Winnie-the-Pooh or the flag raising on Iwo Jima. I’d proceed to take my headphones off and glance at my roommate behind me watching Netflix. It was quiet. A large contrast to the adventure I had during the past summer. I’ll be honest; I had forgotten why I had come to the Academy. I knew it was the right choice, but I couldn’t remember why it was right. The loudness of my thought was lost in struggling to understand linear algebra (no, this is not the same as regular high school algebra it’s a lot harder as I found out) and multivariable calculus (yes, this is also a lot harder than regular calculus).

 

I have decided to be an Operations Research and Computer Analysis major for reasons I believe are equivalent to my reasons for coming to the CGA. In high school, my cross country team would talk of chasing dreams and changing the world. We’d talk of courage and taking risks with passion. I want to solve problems, and I couldn’t think of a better major than ORCA to learn how to better optimize systems using very real and applicable methods. From pre-school until now, I have been in a formal education system for basically all my life, and in 2.5 short years, all of that learning will come to the test as my class graduates and become officers in the real world. It sounds classic, but we only have so much time in our life to accomplish the goals and desires we dreamt of as children. I came here to make a difference. I came here to take risks. I came here to chase my dreams. I came here to change the world.

 

More about Alex.

 

Lighting the World

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Kearney Photo The stars have never burned brighter nor has the water glowed bluer than that which I saw this past summer. You see, I’m fascinated by lights. I saw the green glow of the Space Needle on the Seattle skyline. I saw the orange lanterns of a Hawaiian Memorial Day celebration float across Honolulu’s waters with the shadow of a mountain behind us rising out of the Pacific. I saw the reflections of old London structures off the puddles of rain in the streets. I saw green, purple and gold firecrackers bloom above the Madeiran city of Funchal blanketed in terracotta as people watched with awe. I saw the moon’s glow dance lightly off the cool Bermuda water to the soft beach at my feet. I saw the green sparkle of tiny ocean life riding the waves past the ship’s hull in the pitch black of night. I saw the dazzling lightning bugs glitter the fresh air of the Shenandoah Valley, my home. I have no tales of saving lives or hunting drugs like some of my fellow classmates, but I still got to see the lights of the world. You might be wondering what has this got to do with the Coast Guard? Everything. It’s the little things that matter the most in life. Never forget that.

 

But if you want to know actual Coast Guard work, I did get to do some cool things like needle-gunning, sanding, and painting on the USCGC Polar Star, USCGC Sherman, and of course USCGC Barque Eagle. I drove a small boat en route to drill with an HC-130H (an airplane) and drilled with helicopter basket lowering. I became qualified in standard Coast Guard duties on board a vessel and learned so much from the various crews. I would like thank all of the crews of the units I visited for their immense knowledge, skill, and willingness to help train me and my fellow cadets throughout the summer. In addition to work duties, I got to have the most secluded “pool party” in the world as I literally jumped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 150 of my closest friends. I got to see whales, dolphins, jellyfish, the Seattle Mariners, Big Ben, men dressed in all white pushing people down a hill in baskets, so so many beaches in Hawaii and Bermuda, and turtles – lots of turtles.

 

More about Alex.