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cadet blogs

Saving the Planet, One Can at a Time

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo As the semester comes to a close, I realized I have not written an entry in a while. I have been so busy with tying up loose ends in classes and getting ready for my summer, I forgot to write about it! One of the more exciting items on my to-do list was going to Washington, D.C. on Earth Day to receive an award on behalf of the Sustainability Club. Pretty cool, huh? It was a blast, and I felt pretty legit traveling to the nation’s capitol on official orders.

 

The award was for winning a recycling competition. Basically, the CGA recycled the most aluminum cans per capita out of all the other service academies and in return won $3,500! Another 3/c and I were lucky enough to be asked to go and accept the award for all of our efforts we put into the competition. There was a special presentation at the Pentagon which was awesome – I’ve never been in the Pentagon and it felt pretty official getting escorted around to receive an award!

 

It was a great experience and I’m glad that all the hard work put into this competition paid off. Environmental awareness is something I am extremely passionate about, and being able to have this outlet at the Academy is just another way for me to have fun and be me! As I’ve said a million times before, finding your niche here and making time for the things you love is imperative to being successful and happy.

 

On a different note, this past weekend I had the pleasure of attending 2015’s Ring Dance with one of my 2/c friends. It was a great night – everyone was so happy! All of the second class’ excitement was tangible as they donned their class rings; just one step closer to graduation! It made me excited for my own Ring Dance and look forward to 2/c year in general. I’m so ready to have that second diagonal stripe on my shoulder boards…!

 

So overall, life is great and I couldn’t be happier. Classes are over and I’m ready to take on the summer as a cadre. There are so many things I am looking forward to; however, I am most excited to get my civilian clothing privilege…it’s the little things in life!

 



More about Allie.

 

Best Night of My Life

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Mason Photo March. What a month! It started out with billet night, which I can safely say was, by far, the BEST NIGHT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I am going to Sunny San Diego, California with my boyfriend! We got co-located, which was our main priority, and I get to go back to my home state. I would have been happy with absolutely anywhere Nicko and I were placed together, but I am extra happy that I get to be near my family again in California. We only put two locations on the West Coast (Oregon and San Diego) and San Diego was last on our list of 42 places. Everything else was on the East Coast to stay closer to Nicko’s family, and because there were better options for co-location. I have been away for five years, and I’m ready to be close to home again for a couple years. My little sister lives six hours away in Arizona, and my parents are a 1.5 hour flight plus 3 hour drive away! I am sad that Nicko has to move so far away from his family, though. I know they are going to miss each other so much. They’ve lived 10 minutes down the road for the past three years, so they’ve definitely gotten used to having the whole family around. Especially since his brother also goes to school here with us. It’s definitely a bittersweet situation. However, I’m glad Nicko is going to get to spend more time with my family. I have gotten to know his family very well over the past couple years, and I would love for him to be able to do the same.

 

Ok, enough about that. Let’s talk Haiti! This trip was so much different than my trip last year. Last time there were mostly girls, and this trip had a pretty even mix of guys and girls. And the age range was more spread out, whereas last year most of us were in our 20s. I got to be with Haitian children that I had grown close to last year, and it was so heartwarming to see that they were doing well. I missed them so much! We camped out on top of a remote mountain and helped start the foundation of a new church. We also held clinics and gave out medication to those who needed it. It was so rewarding. I definitely got my share of sun while I shoveled concrete into buckets in the 100-degree weather in no shade! The way they do things over there is so different, and much more physically taxing, but I loved it. We were carrying rocks up from the bottom of the hill, carrying buckets of water from the creek, and mixing dirt in with the water and cement right on the ground. Then we made a daisy chain of people passing rocks and bucket of concrete to fill in the trench where the walls would be placed. It was awesome. We also held Bible studies in the evening with their future pastors and church leaders that were from the ages of 18 to 24. The pastor there said we revolutionized the way their pastors would be teaching for years to come. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that!

 

I also had my surgery this month. It went well, but I can definitely say it is a challenge to get around the Academy with crutches and one working leg. There are no elevators in my wing of the barracks, so I’ve had to master getting up and down the stairs. Definitely a great workout… The medication they put me on for pain was making me throw up and itch all over, so they gave me meds to combat that. I’ve reached the point where it isn’t working well enough to make it worth it, so I’m just going to grin and bear it and have stopped taking the meds. Plus, it made it very hard to focus in class!

 

Only a couple more months and I’ll have my degree! Let’s just hope that comes with a commission! I guess I’ll know soon enough.

 

 


More about Ally.

 

Class is my Extracurricular Activity

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Beck Photo Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had quite a few opportunities to participate in different activities offered by clubs and sports. Between Sustainability Club, the Spectrum Council, and crew, every week has something (or somethings) to keep me excited.

 

Most recently, representatives from the food co-operative in town, Fiddleheads, came to speak with the Sustainability Club and brought snacks! We were all fascinated by the co-operative business model and the entrepreneurial spirit of those who started Fiddleheads. Without this small grocer, it could be difficult to find unquestionably healthy foods in the area. Fiddleheads also strives to keep local items on the shelves, a much easier task in the summer but still attainable year-round. I’ve volunteered there in the past and really like the connection to the community I gain by interacting with the store’s patrons.

 

Also recently, the Spectrum Council hosted a panel of gay and transgender service members, active and retired, enlisted and officers. It is so exciting to be a member of the military during this time of transition following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and being able to openly attend such a panel and see how many proud supporters exist is truly inspiring. A common theme brought up was how the panel felt they were being treated by their peers and subordinates and how they deal with insensitive but culturally popular remarks. The best response came from a Navy lieutenant who gave examples of how humor could be used to keep interactions from getting awkward. I mostly feel pride in the professionalism of my peers that I experience in support of different lifestyles all around us, from sexual preference all the way to religious tolerance.

 

Finally, there’s crew. This season has had its share of windy days that keep us on land, but we make the most of it and work hard to improve fitness and strength. This week we ramp up to championships and I’m really excited to see how we fare. I’ve never rowed before but the intense teamwork and focus are a great change of pace after each academic day.

 

Summer is coming! I’ll be heading to the Fast Response Cutter William Flores in Miami, Florida then switching over to Eagle for the last six weeks of my summer. I’m so excited to be underway and under the sunshine! These last three weeks can’t go by fast enough.

 

 


More about Laura.

 

From Boring to Books

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo As spring slowly creeps into Connecticut, I find it hard to focus on schoolwork with the warm breezes flowing through the now-open windows in our classrooms. Half of my mind is already at my summer assignment, the Sequoia, a 225’ buoy tender from…Guam! Spring semester the third time around has been, in some ways, boring (for lack of a better term). Perhaps routine is a better word: life just seems so rote. Wake up, get breakfast, go to class, eat lunch, class, run, dinner, homework, bed, repeat. It’s that time of year where the first class cadets get senioritis and the rest of us get “summer-itis” (again, for lack of a better word). Not that life hasn’t been busy and that there aren’t things to be focusing on! I’m still working on a video blog from FEBRUARY! Hopefully I can get it out before the end of the semester in just three short weeks!

 

Anyway, I am happy to say that I have found a wonderful way to combat the boredom (severe cabin fever?). Books! I think perhaps part of my boredom is that I actually do have more free time now that I am an upper-class, so instead of frantically running from place to place doing this and that, I actually have time to just sit and read. It’s been fantastic. There are some nights when I just put the homework aside (it’s usually not due until the day following the next given our alternating days class schedule) and lie in bed with a fiction novel. Other nights, my roommate and I both read in bed before falling asleep. It’s hard to explain, but it’s wonderful. The sense of adventure is great as is the emotional excitement, charge, and catharsis one gets from a particularly gripping novel. I carry my book with me everywhere so that, if I get a have free second here or there, I can read it.

 

I didn’t do much “fun reading” in my first two years here, so now I have to make up for it! I discovered that our library even has a fiction section—and here I thought it was just a research library. I’ve found many great books to read, and I’m happy to say that my reading list is, for the time being, at least, getting shorter…slowly but surely. I’ve heard many people say that great leaders read a lot. I hope that’s true, and I hope that as I continue here at the Academy and eventually out in the fleet that I continue to read all types of books—fiction and non-fiction alike. The summers have always been great times to catch up on reading and I’m looking forward to this one for sure! My cutter will be making the journey from Hawaii to Guam, so when I’m not learning how to navigate and steer the cutter or what the signs of a failing engine are, when I’m not staring across the endless Pacific, I’ll be reading…probably inside to save my skin from the harsh tropical sun (along with my many books, I’ll be bringing many bottles of sunscreen). And when we’re in port, I’ll bring a book to the beach and attempt to get some semblance of a tan.

 

Needless to say, reading is great—I’ve always loved it, and I’m glad to be getting back into it and finding a great cure to an otherwise relatively mundane semester.

 

Happy spring! Go Bears and go books!

 

 


More about Justin.

 

A Wild Ride

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Mason Photo One of the coolest things I did this month was going on my Capstone trip to San Juan. It was so much fun! We had a meeting with the engineering officers on base, and the rest of our time was spent soaking in the sun and dancing. Our trip also took place over Super Bowl Sunday, so we got to enjoy that as well. I really missed the island, but every time I go back I find new things that I love about it. It would definitely be a challenge to live there, since the lifestyle is SO different from “the mainland” but I love the food, the beach, the sun, and the colors! The culture always amazes me. I’m pretty sure every woman in Puerto Rico could be a professional dancer. The way they move is mesmerizing.

 

For some bittersweet news, I’ve found out that I have to have surgery on my ankle from when I tore my ATFL last semester. However, I’m financially tied into going to Haiti again for a mission trip over spring break, so I have to wait until the middle of March. This wouldn’t be a problem for any other year, but my commissioning date is hanging in the balance! Basically if I am not healed enough to go onboard a ship and work by graduation (May 21st) I have to stay here at the Academy until I am, which means I can’t take my 30 days of leave until I am ready to commission, and that could potentially affect my billet. But I’m going to stay positive and hope for the best. Everything happens for a reason right? So if I do have to stay here for a while after, I’ll just have to make the best of it.

 

This next month will be the most exciting until graduation. Billets! And Haiti! And Surgery! It’s going to be a wild ride.

 

 


More about Ally.