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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

The Importance of Shipmates

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Fruhwirth Photo Winter leave. Possibly the greatest two words I have ever heard. First semester finished, finals completed, and halfway through one of the most challenging years of my life. Two weeks to finally go home, reconnect with my family and high school friends, and momentarily forget about all the stressors the Academy brings. Coming back was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I wanted more than anything to sign those drop papers and join my friends at a civilian school, having fun for the next four years and living a somewhat carefree life. This past week has been difficult, no longer home with my friends and back to waking up every morning before the sun. I wouldn’t be able to be doing this if it weren’t for my shipmates. The greatest part of this school is the bond you make with everyone here. We pick each other up, we have each other’s back, we look out for everyone—we’re a team. My shipmates have made me laugh and reminded me to keep a positive attitude and focus on all of the great things coming to us at the end of this semester—such as boards (carry-on!!!) and our summer trainings. Though it is difficult right now and might get worse before it gets better, the important part is that it will get better and I know I will always have people in my corner cheering me on regardless of the circumstances.

 

More about Ainsley.

 

Parents' Weekend: A Deeper Meaning

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo The atmosphere of the Academy changes immensely when everyone’s families are here. Cadets and their family members all wear ear-to-ear grins; they’re overjoyed to see each other. We often talk about the strong support network that cadets have, but it’s really something to see it. Families come from all over the country, and some from other countries, for Parents’ Weekend. Cadets whose parents can’t come are taken in by other families so they’re not alone. We become one big Coast Guard family instead of 1,000 individual ones.

 

This year, I noticed a huge difference in myself from last Parent’s Weekend. As a 3/c, I’m more confident and comfortable here and less reliant on my parents’ support. Every time my parents left after visiting last year, I cried. This year, it’s was a “see you next time!” and no tears. (Don’t get me wrong, I still need and appreciate all the support my parents give me, but I’m also a lot more independent.) Also, this year, I spent as much time as I could enjoying my mom’s company instead of worrying about homework and indoc all weekend. I didn’t even bring any homework with me to the hotel. I had a lot to do Sunday night, but I don’t regret it.

 

I could see how nervous some 4/c parents were because they didn’t know what to expect or were almost discomforted by the amount their sons and daughters had changed and grown up. For some, it was the first time they’d seen each other since R-Day. With those nerves comes pride. It is wonderful to see how proud each and every parent is of his or her cadet. My mom has a shirt that says, “Some people never meet their heroes… I raised mine.” I know that a lot of other parents feel the same way. You can see it in their smiles and feel it in their hugs. I found it heartwarming when I saw a cadet holding their parents’ hands like she was still their little girl. It’s those signs of love and support that give Parents’ Weekend a much deeper meaning.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Always on Your Toes

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo I have caught myself calling Chase Hall “home” more and more often now. It worried me at first, until I realized that it just means that I’m actually getting into the hang of things here, and this doesn’t just feel like some extended AIM week anymore! It’s been hard for me to realize that this is my life for the next four years. Monday and Friday morning drill practice, early morning military trainings before class, the long school days, and busy nights of homework just seem like a test that I have to pass to get back home. (In this case, home being my high school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts). But that is not the case! This is home now, and it’s becoming more evident every week. I find myself stressing with my roommate about things that I know my friends at UMASS will never encounter, like if we buffed our floor enough, if our beds are wrinkled when we wake up in the morning, or if our blinds are secured before we leave the room. Then we laugh hysterically when we’re walking down the ladder wells in Chase and we see another 4/c do a spin move in the corner instead of squaring, risking demerits just for the fun of it, or when we see someone wait an extra 30 seconds in their doorway before exiting for an upper class to walk by, just to avoid having to greet them in the hallway. Now if I came back from a soccer game at a civilian college, I wouldn’t have to think twice about the transition from laughing and joking with the team outside the dorm, to opening the door, squaring the corner, and locking my eyes in the boat. The little things that make the Academy unique and fun are starting to become more evident and unite us even more.

 

However, life can’t get too comfortable here at the Academy! Teachers start planning for midterms which are quickly approaching, Cadet Evaluation Reports (CERs) are due, the first military testing period opens up, and to add onto it all, I tore my ACL and meniscus during a soccer game. Now there is another stressor to deal with that seems like it will be much harder to get used to. Luckily, the support here is better than anywhere else I can imagine. My roommate has been more than helpful, my shipmates are even more supportive than they already were, and my teachers are very understanding about arriving a few minutes late to class due to the painstakingly slow speed of crutching, or with making up missed work because of doctor’s appointments, surgery and PT visits. (But sadly it doesn’t make it easier to get from Satterlee to Smith in a reasonable time!) So, now this month and a few weeks beyond will be spent trying to adjust to another challenge that I will hopefully adapt to just as quickly as the others – the Academy on crutches.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

A Shift of Focus

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dalton Photo Fourth class year is in full swing now and I’m starting to get into the rhythm of everyday life here at the Academy. The change from high school senior to Coast Guard Academy cadet is a big one. You go from a big headed high school senior to not really even a person; you are a thing known as a “Swab.” During Swab Summer, you lose your ability to use first person pronouns (I, me, my, etc.) instead you must refer to yourself as Swab “Last Name” when speaking about yourself. The worst part of the summer in my opinion was how regimented the day was. As swabs we didn’t own any of our time. We were timed when we went to the head (restroom), when we went to the scuttlebutt (water fountain), and every shower was timed. Failure to meet standardized times lead to some incentive training. There was no free time to think about anything but the task that needed to be accomplished. Over the summer I learned a lot about myself and my shipmates. The lessons learned during Swab Summer are helping me to succeed during the academic year.

 

When Swab Summer ended back in August, everyday life did not get any easier. The focus shifted from a rigorous physical indoctrination program designed to bring high school seniors into the Coast Guard, to a military college focused on academics and leadership development. This new school year has presented lots of challenging situations, along with a many late nights. I’m looking forward to this year’s wrestling season, and forming memorable bonds with the amazing people in Foxtrot Company.

 

More about Tom.

 

Two Weekends

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo Today I am sitting in my room looking at my plane tickets for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time I’ll be home since the summer, so that is exciting. As mentioned in a previous post, this semester has flown by! I looked at my schedule and found that I only had two open weekends this semester. Granted I ended up planning something on both of those weekends, but it goes to show what being involved gives you.

 

There are some negative auras that fill the p-ways here at the Academy. It is easy to find the negatives in life, but I don’t like the easy road. I look at the positive. Once you start, it becomes easy to see past the negative attitudes people carry with them. So with that, here are my tips to be more positive. (They may be needed as we head into another New England winter.)

 

First off, just smile! It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how often you truly don’t smile. If you simply smile more, your brain and body will follow and you will feel happier.

 

Work out. It may be cold out, but going to the gym and getting your blood flowing will make your aura feel more positive right away. Plus I feel way better about myself after a workout.

 

Sleep. Do not neglect your beauty sleep! Yes work is important along with school, but at the end of the day you won’t function, let alone be happy, if you are sleep deprived.

 

The biggest thing for me to stay positive is to be involved. I am involved in numerous activities, hence the ‘only two free weekends’ thing. Being involved gives me the friendships from a variety of groups that all helps me stay positive. I am an extrovert, so by nature being surrounded by people does make me happy, so this may be a little biased.

 

These are just a few things I do to stay positive as much of the time as I can. The point is, it is easy to fall into a slump of negativity with those around you. I see this all the time. Take the challenge and smile a little more. That smile and simple “how are you?” could make someone’s day. Then like a domino effect that person might smile at someone and so forth. Happiness is contagious so spread it, don’t dampen it.

 

As always I am open to any questions or comments! Reach me at Shane.P.Corbett@uscga.edu.

 

More about Shane.