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cadet blogs

Peer Tutoring

(Academics, The Cadet Experience) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Being a 3/c means more involvement and responsibility within the corps. It also means a greater number of opportunities. Through the past five weeks of being back at the Academy, I’ve been offered many chances to become more involved in all three fields of cadet life: academics, athletics, and military. The clubs and activities fair wasn’t rained out this year, so I signed up for several clubs there. After 4/c year and having become accustomed to Academy life, I want to take advantage of more of the opportunities offered here.

 

During CAP week, I found out that I had been recommended by an English teacher to become a peer tutor. Peer tutoring at the Academy is a program where cadets are trained and qualified to help other cadets with academic assignments. A peer tutor must attend eight hours of training and can earn an academic grade and credit hour by logging 24 hours of tutoring over a semester.

 

Being an English peer tutor comes naturally to me. I’ve always valued creativity, but at a military academy, it can be a hard skill to maintain. Expressing thoughts through writing and encouraging others to do so is one way I keep in touch with my creative side.

 

It is also a great opportunity to help other cadets succeed. Certain collaboration policies allow for only help from peer tutors or instructors, and some people are more comfortable asking other cadets for help than approaching teachers. Additionally, meeting with someone in Chase Hall is a lot more convenient than having to hike to an academic building at night. This is one of the great things about the Academy; there are so many ways to get help. Unlike an ROTC program where not everyone understands the challenges you face, everyone here is going through or has been through relatively the same thing. People are more than willing to help each other. There are countless support systems to help a person succeed if utilized.

 

If you have any questions, please contact me at Sarah.R.Ritchie@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Fifteen Things I Didn't Expect to Learn at West Point

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Going on exchange to another service academy is a unique opportunity that I'm lucky to get to experience. After six weeks of being at West Point, I've finally settled into a schedule with classes and grown closer with the triathlon team. Here are some things that I've learned and experienced over the past several weeks:

 

  1. At less than 5,000 cadets, West Point would be considered a small college to anyone, but it still seems ginormous to a Coastie. And, when everyone asks what the biggest difference between West Point and Coast Guard, the answer is the size every time.
  2. Thinking that because you are just one in a sea of 4.5 thousand, no one will notice you is the biggest lie you could tell yourself because navy blue ODUs do not blend in at all with Army green ACUs. You can be pinpointed from a mile away.
  3. Submersing yourself in a new environment is more challenging than expected, and it gives you a renewed understanding for what the 4/c are going through.
  4. No one understands how you talk; they don't understand your saltiness. The "deck" becomes merely the floor, "p-ways" are hallways, "bulkheads" are hallways, and "shipmates" are battle buddies.
  5. Everything has an acronym, and it's impossible to keep track of them.
  6. People will and do look at you like you have two heads for saying "Bears!" And "Go Bears!" to everything, and it's impossible to explain what needs no explanation to any CGA cadet.
  7. All 2/c cadets a called "cows." It's weird.
  8. You salute without a cover on in the Army and in both gym gear and cadet casual (a.k.a. rec gear).
  9. People will ask you what branch you are going into, and they are blown away when you say your options are flight school, deck watch officer, engineering officer in training, or sector. You quickly learn it's not worth trying to explain that it's not really "branching" like it is in the Army.
  10. Everyone thinks that "The Guardian" is representative of the entire Coast Guard, and they ask you every time if you're going to be Ashton Kutcher.
  11. You will spend all your money at Starbucks and the cadet restaurant, especially if you live closer to it than the mess hall, like me.
  12. Optional breakfast is the greatest thing a cadet could ask for, and West Point does it right. We're talking Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, Nutella, Starbucks iced and hot coffee... It's good. However, you will quickly miss the wardroom dinner selection.
  13. A lot of really awesome speakers come to talk to cadets almost every week, and they are opportunities that you want to take advantage of.
  14. There are so many club sports teams and clubs to join. Joining the triathlon team here has been my best decision yet. You meet amazing people that are completely welcoming to exchangers, and it gives you a close-knit group to experience the semester with.
  15. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn how you handle change when you feel like you're the only one going through it, you learn what a different service values compares to the Coast Guard, and compared to your own, you learn how to lead others when you still need guidance yourself, and you learn how to learn from those whom you lead.

 

More about Christi.

 

A Month In

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Here we are, already over a month into the school year, looking at being halfway done with many of our books. Looking at the semester so far, there’s one leadership trait I know I’m lacking, especially in those early mornings. Being an approachable 3rd class cadet is one of the most important things you can be. The new 4th class need people to look to for answers, and if you aren’t able to be there, then they lack that figure. I’m trying to make myself more approachable so that I can be of the most use, starting with my outlook on the day.

 

Something that carried over from last year for me was the stigma that each day would drag on and on, and there was not much to look forward to except sleeping the next night. I’ve changed that, and realized that within every day there are opportunities to make it better, enjoying the little things in each day, and being cheerful when responding to the monotonous greetings, inquiring about anyone’s day in a sincere fashion goes a long way here.

 

As winter approaches, it seems that the corps knows what’s coming, the feet of snow, bridgecoats and parkas, and sliding on the ice all the way down the hill. While we may not be able to run around and have all-out snowball wars, the crisp air brings on a feeling of anticipation, not just for the end of drill season, but also for the new year. Even though it’s a few moths still to come, the anticipation is growing. Graduation for some, boards and carry-on for others, new rooms, new roommates, and new classes. Until next time!

 

More about Drew.

 

As Close to a Normal College Experience

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Finally, as a first-class cadet, I am having the closest experience to a normal college possible at CGA. Having a car makes the world of a difference! It was so nice having all of my stuff in my car and being able to drive back to the Academy in August.

 

As a firstie, we now have the privilege of going out on Thursday nights in addition to Friday nights, and unlimited Saturday to Sunday overnights. Also, as a Department Head, which is a minor leadership role, I have the privilege of liberty on Wednesday nights as well. As a second-class cadet, I never used Friday night liberty because I was limited to where I could go. However, now with a car, I am able to drive to parks with running trails and go to yoga classes in Mystic. There is a lot more freedom to go out and do my favorite activities and hobbies. It is even easier to go home now that I have a car with me. This past weekend, I was able to drive home after the CGA vs. MMA football game and surprise my mom for her birthday. She was not even expecting it because normally a trip home takes three hours on a train and then another hour or so of mass transportation from Grand Central Terminal back to my house. It is a tiring process compared to a two hours car drive home.

 

Whether going home for the weekend or just being out in the Connecticut area, it is nice to take a break from the Academy since it often encloses the feeling of stress within the barracks. Even when I do not go out on a day that I have liberty, I like knowing that I have that outlet. This lifestyle is completely different from fourth-class year and it is so weird seeing how far the class of 2015 has come!

 

More about Ellie.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Greetings! Hopefully as your summer draws to an end and you begin to return to school you can look back on the amazing things that you did this summer – I know I certainly can.

 

After my first seven weeks of summer training at the Academy I came home for a deserved three weeks of leave. It was great being home, catching up with friends and family, and relaxing before beginning the 2nd half of my summer training.

 

When I returned to the Academy in mid-July, Swab Summer was already in full effect. It was definitely a new experience returning to Chase Hall and hearing swabs sounding off and running down the passage-ways. It was also quite the experience adapting to the challenge of having to avoid swabs during my prep week of cadre training, as the swabs were not supposed to know who the Eagle cadre were. As mentioned earlier, I had opted to be an Eagle cadre for Swab Summer, which meant that I would have the privilege to train the swabs on America’s Tall Ship, the USCGC Eagle, introducing many of them to their first taste of underway life and to the operational Coast Guard fleet.

 

As an Eagle cadre, my “prep” week was a little different than the majority of my classmates. Instead of learning how to properly encourage the swabs/AIMsters/cadet candidates through physical IT (like push-ups) or sounding off (yelling), my fellow Eagle cadre and I practiced the navigational skills that we had learned in our first two years of the Academy – including giving navigation briefs, using mobility boards, and practicing the role of a Conning Officer in the Academy’s simulators. We also got the opportunity to go to Mystic Seaport for a day. The Seaport is a local historical site that mimics a 19th century New England waterfront community. While there we learned more about sailing as well as celestial navigation and the various celestial phenomena. Lastly, during my “prep” week I took my physical fitness exam and my Standard Operating Procedure board to ensure that when I returned to the Academy after my two weeks aboard Eagle I could serve as an active cadre within Chase Hall.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning (Continued)  PDF 

 

More about James.