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To Sing or Not to Sing

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo I have always loved to sing. Not necessarily in public, but in the shower, in my room, humming to myself in school, etc. All my life I have loved to sing, but I have never pushed myself out of my comfort zone to join a choir or singing group. This year I decided was a year of firsts. I decided to try out for Glee Club. I thought I would not make it since I did not have any professional background in singing, but luckily my style was something the Glee Club was looking for, and I was blessed enough to make the club, as well as the girls’ group, Fairwinds.


Although this is only my second month in the club, the opportunities I have gotten to have through this club are outstanding. Last week I sang in NYC at the Marriot for the Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, and other special guests. Getting to stay at the dinner and listen to their speeches given to a room of professionals was an eye-opening experience. It helped me to see past the Academy and into what the Coast Guard is really like. Many people at that event had saved many lives over the course of their careers, and it was inspiring to get to talk and listen to them speak.


Another opportunity Glee Club has given me is singing at memorial services at the Chapel. Last week we had two memorial services for classmates that had past, seeing that it was Homecoming Weekend and graduates from many different class years had come back to visit. Singing at the services was an extremely humbling experience. When I saw the sadness felt by classmates for the death of their fellow shipmates, I realized how much everyone at the Academy cares about each other. It really is a family here, whether you graduated in 1964 or 2014. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at Have a great day!


More about Hannah.


On Exchange from USAFA

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Leech Photo Not gonna lie. I’m homesick. Dreadfully so. I miss my bold, brilliant mountains and my equally bold, brilliant friends. I miss the Air Force culture and how easy it is to navigate. Granted, I’m completely biased, having spent over two years immersed in it and just about a month immersed in the Coast Guard experience. The services value different ideals, and have significant differences in priorities, for good and for bad. Adjustment has not been easy and I’ve certainly been stumbling over myself and the expectations upon me.


But the one place I haven’t been stumbling is on the dance floor. I was born a dancer, always ready to shake my “thang” out on the floor. And I might not have been the most graceful of people (and I still am not) but I can pop, lock and drop with the best of ‘em. And I truly love it. I’m not stretchy at all though I’m working on my splits (only two hand lengths away from a full!). Every day, I run down to the gym and catch the tail end of wrestling practice in their padded room. I hook up to the massive speakers and just let it go. And all the stress and muddle of the day melts away and I can finally be free.


I do love sports period for this reason, and it’s one of my favorite parts about this place. USCGA integrates time every day to physically get out there, and get away from the stress of Chase Hall (the dormitory) and academia. I don’t even think about homework before 2000 because I’m going to be out there, dancing.


Speaking of dancing, I didn’t even mention ballroom dance. This year, I’ve joined the International Ballroom Dance Club, which teaches cadets dances such as the tango, the waltz, the foxtrot, the salsa and other dance styles. Having been a devoted blues dancer for some time, I’m absolutely enjoying it.


Oh, I didn’t even mention my acting career, which has begun (and will probably end) here at USCGA. I’m playing Martha Gillette in “The Game’s Afoot”. It took me almost three weeks to figure out my voice for the play, and the lines themselves are coming along. Sorta. Kinda. Okay, fine I’m still reading them out of the script but at least I have the right voice in which to read them. If you are going to be in the neighborhood of New London on Friday October 24 or Saturday October 25, swing on by and watch me work the stage with my coasties. We’d love to have a full house.


Regardless, I love what I’m doing for extracurriculars, and though the military and academic change is slow going, with the happiness everything else I’m doing gives me, I’m sure I will catch up, and catch up soon.


Thank you for your time and consideration, Very Respectfully,
2/c Brenna Leech, USAFA Exchange Cadet
USCGA Foxtrot Company


More about Brenna.


Settled In

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Weeks Photo It has been about a month since classes started up, but it still feels like CAP week was yesterday. That’s one thing about this place that never ceases to amaze me—how quickly time passes. Between classes, homework, swimming, water polo, hanging out with friends and sleeping, there isn’t any room for a slow weekday. The weekends, however, are very relaxed. Weekends are perfect for sleeping in, getting ahead in coursework and just relaxing in general.


My swim meets and water polo tournaments all fall on the weekends, and I get to travel for most of my competitions. I just returned from the first water polo tournament of the season in Amherst, Massachusetts, and it was a blast! Our team rode up in a bus, spent the night at a hotel and competed in four games. We went two and two and ended up with 3rd place in the tournament (pretty good for the season opener). The swim season officially started up this week, so I will be balancing swimming and water polo practices for the next month or so.


The school year is off to a pretty solid start as well, the majority of my classes are in the mornings, which gives me two or three hours of free time in the afternoons. I use that time to get homework done, and then I take three hours off for practice and dinner. By then, most of my homework is done and I can spend the rest of the evening relaxing and getting ahead in my studies.


More about Zachary.


St. Francis De Sales Club and Friday Catholic Scripture Study

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo Fourth class year is challenging because you are taking college courses, have sports, and military obligations you must fulfill. Everything can build up, and this can cause a significant amount of stress. My faith got me through my fourth class year. I was nervous coming out of Swab Summer that I would not find a group of people that I could relate with. I decided to sign up for St. Francis De Sales Club and Friday Catholic Scripture Study.


Joining these religious clubs has been one of the best choices I have made at the Academy. The missionaries encourage us to make time for God and give our stresses to Him. They have helped me realize that the little things I stress about from a day to day basis are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Last week, the missionaries pointed out that I can go about my day in two ways. I can either choose to look at my homework and obligations as a burden and just something I have to complete or I can enjoy learning and make the most of each thing I have to do. For example, we are required to go to a few football games during the school year. I can either choose to have fun at the football game and cheer the Bears on or I can complain the whole time about having to be there.


The Catholic missionaries provide a support group that one can lean on when classwork gets difficult and life’s stresses pile up. They encourage others to take up our crosses and walk the path of Christ. The faith groups I belong to at the Academy have helped me to realize that there is no point to having negativity. I am going to have obligations no matter what; it is whether I have a positive or negative attitude about them that makes difference.


More about Jackie.


Great Opportunities

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Morris Photo I can’t believe it’s almost October! In less than two months I’ll be sitting at my uncle’s house back in Tennessee eating Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t get to go home last year for Thanksgiving so this year is going to be better than ever. It may be tough being away from home for so long but you get used to it after a while. Thinking about the great opportunities I have going for me here at the Academy always makes me feel better when I get a little homesick. Also, with such a stringent workload, there isn’t much time to think about what everybody is doing back home. If you are a little apprehensive about going to school far away, just know that wherever you go, you can always find a good group of friends who are always there. At least that’s what I’ve noticed here at the Academy. After going through Swab Summer and an entire school year with my classmates, I have made some really great friends that I would have missed out on if I was to go somewhere close to home. Being away has also taught me to step outside of my comfort zone and become an outgoing individual. This is something I had trouble with in the past. However, now that I have met so many new and intriguing people, it often seems like a walk in the park to go somewhere different and meet somebody new.


Anyway, the school year as a third class is much better than fourth class year. Yes, the academics are still pretty tough, but I no longer have to continue fourth class roles such as squaring meals and doing clocks. If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry. I was clueless about the inner workings of the Academy before I came here. If you are really interested in coming here, you will find out what those things are soon enough. Since I am no longer a fourth class, I am able to go out on Friday nights and I am also able to do much more on the weekends since I know more people around here now. I also get to go off-base every day for Crossfit. There’s a Crossfit box about a mile away from the Academy and it is awesome. The atmosphere there is great and it’s also a good way for me to get my mind off of schoolwork.


With midterms just around the corner, there is no time to slack off. One good skill to have here at the Academy is time management. If you don’t have it now, that’s ok. Swab Summer will teach you some good skills to manage your time efficiently and there is also a good support system here to keep us cadets on track. I am excited to see where this school year leads me and I can’t wait to see who I will become in my next three years at the Coast Guard Academy.


More about Hunter.