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A First Class Fall

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello from the Coast Guard Academy! Sorry that I haven’t written in a while but it has been a crazy semester so far. As a 1/c cadet, I am expected to lead a division and to be a role model to the cadets in my company and in the corps. I love being able to motivate underclassmen, and to be that firstie that we all dreamed to be for the past three years. As a 1/c, we are expected to go to about a million medical examinations (more if you are going to apply to flight school) as well as sign up for our pictures so I can already see that with all of this, the semester will likely fly by. School has been pretty fun thus far; I am taking a lot of classes that really interest me. I enrolled in National Security Policy, which is offered by the Humanities department and I am the only non-Gov major in the class. It is a really cool class; I highly recommend it because it involves relevant discussions of current events and how they pertain to our national interest. I love it. Additionally, I am taking a few oceanography classes that get me very excited about graduate school possibilities and research. Lastly, I am taking Nautical Science and the class was changed for the first time to give the students the opportunity to get their 100 ton masters license. This is great because it can be used outside of the Coast Guard as a civilian.


While classes are good, I should mention that the Academy is not all fun and games. As cadets, we are expected to uphold the core values and to be respectful and responsible at all times. People occasionally get into trouble and, unfortunately, I have attended two masts in the past week. A mast is a way to punish cadets when they have violated the regulations that we are held to at all times. What happens is a cadet will come before the Commandant of Cadets or the Assistant Commandant and will stand at attention to be read their rights. A trial or sorts is held to determine if he or she has committed the offense. At the end, the cadet is either seen to commit the offense or not, and if found guilty, then he or she will be awarded a punishment of restriction, marching tours and demerits. Masts are scary but they are a good reminder that we go to a military academy, and that we must act like officers all the time. It is a lot to digest but I think that as a firstie going into the fleet, I have to say that I can see the importance of us learning what we need to, in the broad spectrum from academics to social skills, to conduct.


My life at school has been hectic but the weather has been beautiful. This time of year is my absolute favorite. I am crazy excited to start our fall lacrosse season. As a captain this year, I am thrilled to have another opportunity to take on some new responsibility and to help make this season great.


More about Lucy.


Transition from 4/c to 3/c

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Condon Photo Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted, but things have been really hectic in my life over the past year. I greatly underestimated how busy I would be 4/c year. I participated in three varsity sports last year, meaning that I never had an off season. In addition to sports, academics were also very difficult for me. First semester went by pretty easily, but second semester came and I was constantly busy. Beginning second semester, studying until 2 a.m. became common. I also began to struggle more than before. Chemistry II and Calculus II pushed me farther than I ever have been academically. I would spend hour upon hour studying for Chemistry only to get a 55 percent on a test. It was extremely frustrating to constantly fail. About halfway through the semester, after spring break, I changed my study habits and began to work more with my classmates. I remember in high school, I would avoid studying with other people over fear of distraction. However, group studying actually saved me toward the end of 4/c year. Anyway, I finished 4/c year and managed to get at least a C- in Chemistry and Calculus, thankfully avoiding academic probation.


Once 4/c year came to an end, my mind left academics and began thinking of qualification boards and boat crew sign-offs. I was first phase Eagle and I actually had a pretty good time. Eagle is a lot of work, but the ship will take you to some really cool places! Half my class and I went to Key West, Nassau, Norfolk, and Staten Island. After Eagle, I reported to Station Emerald Isle in North Carolina for the second half of my summer. At the station, the other cadets and I stood communications watch, which is basically monitoring the radios and answering the phones, I helped around the station, went underway on the small boats, and worked on boat crew sign-offs. After six weeks at the station, it was finally time for summer leave. Summer leave was fun, but after going home I started to notice more of a detachment from my high school friends than before. A lot of cadets talk about this happening, but I never believed it until this summer. Because of this, I mostly just spent time with my girlfriend and family.


I’ve been back as a 3/c now for almost a month, and already it’s very different. I was talking to a second class earlier this year and he told me the biggest difference between a 4/c and 3/c is as a 4/c you never realize just how nice everyone is here. When you’re a 4/c, everyone seems to always watch you, correct you, mentor you, and ensure that you are doing everything right. However, as a 3/c, people treat you differently. There’s still mentorship and people may step in to correct you but you are not as objectified and are treated more like an adult and friend.


If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


More about Ryan.


Fast Times on Regimental Staff

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Hello and greetings! I hope this blog finds you well as the summer months start dwindling to a close and preparations begin for autumn. As I write this, I am back at the Coast Guard Academy preparing for my last fall semester as a member of the Corps of Cadets. Since I drove back up to the Academy a little over a week-and-a-half ago, I have participated in a whirlwind of activity.


I was selected in the spring to be a member of the fall Regimental Staff, the group of cadets that lead the corps in military activities during a given academic semester. As required by my position, I reported back to the Academy early to begin preparations for my term as Regimental Communications Officer. I am chiefly responsible for conveying any information that needs to be passed on to the corps as an entire body in a professional and timely manner. Along with the other members of the Regimental Staff, I helped establish a list of goals that we hope to achieve during the semester, and laid down the framework of how we will achieve them. Additionally, we took part in DISC training to understand more about our own personality and that of other members of the Regimental Staff.


When the corps reported back, the real work began. Beside the normal duties of attending meetings and taking the physical fitness exam, I was also responsible for formatting a Regimental Communications Plan and tasked with approving the evening announcements that were sent out to the corps. Couple that with the hot weather and the lack of air-conditioning in Chase Hall, and it’s not hard to see how the last week felt never-ending.


Despite the extra work and leadership challenges my position on the Regimental Staff will give me, I look forward to being a member of this excellent team. I relish the chance to develop further as a leader in preparation of being a Coast Guard ensign, and cannot wait to see what my future holds, both at the CGA and in the fleet.


If you have any questions about the Coast Guard Academy, or my experiences, I invite you to email me at I plan on blogging again very soon! Until next time, Semper Paratus and Go Bears!


More about James.


July: The Eagle Experience

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo As I am writing this, I am one week into my summer leave and two weeks away from my 3/c year at the Academy. To say that the past 11 weeks out in the fleet were exciting would be an understatement. Leaving South Padre, I was excited to see my friends from school, but also sad to be leaving all the awesome people that I met while at my station. The Coast Guard is truly an amazing community and I learned that firsthand while in Texas. After a day of travelling to the Academy, a night of no sleep and then a bus ride leaving the Academy at 4 a.m., we arrived in Staten Island, New York. There we were able to catch glimpses of the other half of our class leaving as we shuffled onto Eagle in our trops with sea bags over our shoulders. We were given the lowdown and attended safety briefs before they granted us liberty, which meant we were allowed to go out and explore New York City. After leaving New York, we sailed for a little over a week down to Philadelphia for a tall ships festival. During that week, we encountered a storm that tore our main course sail. It was around 6 a.m. and the emergency sail stations alarm went off. This created a whole lot of chaos in a room of 15 sleeping girls. We all got dressed as fast as we could and reported up to our masts. It was pouring rain and thundering and lightning. Luckily, we were able to take down the sail and the situation didn’t end too badly. At the time it was not a very fun experience, but it gave us some good sea stories to tell while giving tours in port.


It was really cool coming into Philadelphia because we got to see the other tall ships and there were a lot of people watching us pull in. While on liberty we were able to tour our sister ship the Sagres and many others in the area. After Philly, we had four days underway before we reached Bermuda. On the 4th of July we arrived at the beautiful island of Bermuda. The water was a gorgeous clear blue and the weather was perfect. We had three days on the island and they were filled with (many) trips to the beach, shopping in the small towns, and tasting the different cuisines. I had one day of duty when I gave tours and it was really interesting because the question that I was asked a lot was what it was like to be a woman in the military. Many of the people that came on board were from different countries and the idea of women in the military was very unusual to them. After Bermuda, we sailed 11 days to Maine and finished up getting our qualifications as well as passing the Damage Control Test. We completed our journey in Boston and while I was going to miss seeing my friends every day, I was very excited to be heading home. Eagle was a lot of hard work and the sleeping situations weren’t ideal but it was a great bonding and learning experience for the Class of 2018.


More about Mimi.


How We Wound Up Back Here

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo We ended up pulling into port two days early, which meant two extra days of exploring Seattle… not a bad deal. In a city full of coffee shops and galleries, I spent those days drinking espresso and observing art, seemingly being cultured while in reality I was buzzed from the caffeine and Washington atmosphere. Then, I extended my stay in Seattle to hang out with two of my best friends, where we climbed Washington’s Mount Rainier, went to Portland and splurged on movies. I didn’t want to leave the West Coast but my home is New York. I spent two weeks with my family, exploring museums and parks and getting my Chinese food fix. My cousins drove me to the Academy on the 15th and that’s how we wound up back here.


The main difference this year is that I’m in a new company. Personally, it’s a little unnerving because I’m pretty awkward but everyone’s really friendly and I have a good division. In a way, I can relate to the new fourth class more because we’re both in the situation where we’re surrounded by new people and a bigger role than what we had before. It’s not unlike the first few days I was on USCGC Mellon; it just takes time to get used to your surroundings. Other than that, things are going great and we have the physical fitness exam (PFE) this afternoon. Can’t wait!


More about Olivia.