Skip Navigation Links
APPLY | BEARS DEN LOGIN | REQUEST INFORMATION | ESPAÑOL | VIRTUAL TOUR | SEARCH
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
CADET BLOGS
<< March 2017 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

cadet blogs

Liberty, Liberty, Liberty

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo A question I get very often from my friends outside the Academy as well as prospective cadets and parents is “when do they let you out?” Well, I decided to discuss this topic to break it down for prospective cadets. For starters, cadets have a summer break, Thanksgiving break, winter break, and spring break. Cadets (everyone except for the freshmen who are in Swab Summer) receive three weeks of leave during the summer following or sometime between training.

 

All cadets go home for almost a week for thanksgiving, and each cadet receives two weeks of leave for winter break. Cadets also receive one week or more for spring break in early March. Otherwise, if you ever need to go home for a family emergency, the Academy does an awesome job getting cadets this special leave when they need it.

 

For normal weekends, there is a graduated liberty system, and more privileges come with each successive year at the Academy. Freshmen, or 4/c cadets, can take off from Saturday at 12 p.m., or 1200, and need to return Sunday morning before midnight. Their liberty resumes on Sunday at 8a.m., or 0800 and they need to be back by 1800, or 6 p.m.

 

3/c cadets, or sophomores, have the same liberty as 4/c cadets, but they are granted liberty on Friday nights as well. They need to return by Friday night at midnight.

 

2/c cadets have Friday liberty as well, but are also allowed to take “short weekends.” This means they have an overnight pass from Saturday until Sunday night at 1900, or 7 p.m.

 

1/c cadets have the same privileges as 2/c cadets, but are also granted Thursday night liberty from 1600, or 4 p.m., until 2200, or 10 p.m. Cadets who have a command position, that is a significant military leadership position, are also allotted the same Thursday night liberty times but on Wednesday nights as well. When it has been determined that 1/c have met and exceeded the standard during the spring semester, 1/c cadets are granted gangway, when we can take off so long as we do not have a formation, class, or military obligation. 1/c cadets are also allowed to maintain and own cars on base.

 

So, I hope I was able shed some light on the leave and liberty process here at the Academy—don’t worry, they do let us out and there is a lot to do here in the area!

 

More about William.

 

Mentors at the Academy

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo The purpose of today’s blog post is going to be about the mentors I have met here at the Coast Guard Academy. I didn’t fully realize until this year how crucial it is to have great role models to look up to, but I believe the mentors you meet along the way at the CGA are some of the most critical influences in our journey as cadets.

 

In regard to my own personal mentors, I have some mentors that I have met through created programs here and some I have met on my own. Earlier this year, I signed up to be part of the cadet mentoring program where you are paired with a civilian or military mentor from the Academy community. I got lucky enough to be partnered with a woman from the Institute for Leadership that had gone through the Academy and was part of the same singing group that I am part of today. Our biweekly meetings have enabled us both to foster a strong mentor-mentee relationship, and the advice I receive from her about leadership, school, personal life, and more are incredibly helpful. After every discussion I have with her, I leave feeling less stressed and more ready for what is to come in my future in the Coast Guard. The mentors I have met through the Link in the Chain Program as well always offer words of wisdom and a huge amount of knowledge about the Coast Guard and leadership as an officer.

 

I have other mentors that have not been assigned through a program but that have developed over my time here. Various singing directors, teachers, and academy faculty and staff are always there to offer a helping hand, a listening ear, or advice for when I’m struggling with a decision. All of these people have helped me to grow into, I believe, a better leader. Their positive example encourages me to be that listener for someone else, such as an underclass within my department or a peer. Overall, I don’t know how I would make it through the challenges of this school without the amazing people I have witnessed setting the example for me every day.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Flight 101

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo One month until Billet Night! I am so excited to find out where I’ll be for my next two years serving the Coast Guard as an ensign. I put in for flight training as my first choice, so I am finishing up the tail end of a long application process. I’ve been very fortunate to learn a lot about Coast Guard aviation throughout the experience, so even if I don’t get it straight out of the Academy, I’m looking forward to taking another shot at it later down the road!

 

The flight school billets are highly selective. The congressionally permitted maximum number of cadets the flight training program can accept is 10% of the total class membership; the actual percentage is lower than that, and will change from year to year based on the Coast Guard’s needs for afloat and sector ensigns. The process for applying to flight school has morphed a few times since I’ve been a cadet, but for my class (and likely for the next few classes after us), it started in earnest at the beginning of first class year. Basically, there are four steps to getting to flight school as an Academy graduate:

 

  1. Pass the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB). The ASTB is a pilot aptitude test that evaluates your basic physics, mathematics, mechanical, reading comprehension, hand-eye coordination, task management, and spatial skills. You are allowed to take the exam up to three times in your lifetime. It takes kind of a long time to describe in a blog… I would suggest researching this exam online a bit and getting some study materials to help you prepare. Look for “Military Flight Aptitude Tests” and “ASTB-E” on Google and Amazon!
  2. Write a memo, which is similar to a short essay, about why you want to attend flight school and how you have prepared yourself to do so. This is where you’ll get the chance to talk about any special skills or qualifications you have, like a private pilot’s license, and any unique experiences and activities that have helped you determine that aviation is what you want to do (summer assignments at CATP and air stations, flight team competitions, career aspirations, etc.) Get lots of feedback from aviator officers on your memo; the editing I received from pilots helped me improve my memo so much from my original draft to my final one!
  3. Prepare for your flight board. You’ll sit in an interview with a few active duty aviators from the local area, and they’ll ask you for some more details regarding your memo. It’s good to have a few stories to explain how you got interested in aviation, people who inspired you, and to have an idea of your personal strengths and weaknesses. And ultimately, they are just looking to see if you have a pleasant personality. Be polite, be positive, and be yourself!
  4. Finally, if you are selected to the final pool of candidates, pass your flight physical. A lot goes into this with eye exams, anthropometrics, EKGs, fasting labs, etc., so get it done as quickly as possible!

If you are interested in flight, start learning about it now! Take civilian flight lessons, talk to aviators, read books and study for your ASTB and, most of all, just get excited for a cool career path!

 

More about Abby.

 

Being a Mentor

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo I have two official mentors here; two people who experienced the Academy years before I did but still went through the same obstacles. They’re a couple years apart, one works here and the other travels the world. However, although they pursued different post-Academy endeavors, I’ve learned so much from their personal stories and their actions of taking the time to mentor me. Having a mentor here is extremely important because mentors make you think about your actions and motives. Frankly, it’s less about oversight and more about guidance. And while it takes time to build trust and be comfortable with talking to someone more experienced; sometimes self-reflection is easier when someone else is holding the mirror.

 

Through the year I’ve seen myself develop into more of a mentor figure. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that, at least in Chase Hall, strong mentorship takes time. At least one party has to take the first step in reaching out, and interactions should be consistent and positive. Ideally, I hope that most underclass feel like they’ve walked away with something worthwhile after talking to me, be it a lingering thought, more motivation, or even a better mood. I’m still learning what questions to ask as a mentee, and how to answer questions as a mentor, and hopefully I’ll never stop.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Keeping the 4/c Busy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Smith Photo Well, today is Friday. That puts an end to a long January week. The sun is setting sooner, colors is going off earlier, and the trees have lost their leaves. Winter is here, and months dotingly called “the dark ages” have begun at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. People from sunnier states such as California or Hawaii, or in some cases Haiti and Mexico, may be shocked at the weather and have difficulty adjusting through these upcoming months. However, being from Maryland, I’m all but too familiar with the dark days of January and February.

 

However, the Academy manages to keep the 4/c very busy. In just two weeks in being back from winter break we have already gotten deep into our new classes, attended entertaining presentations on the various majors at the Academy (as we are going to be officially declaring it in the next few weeks), and have received our official Class of 2020 boards packet. In just a mere 4½ months, the 4/c will turn into 3/c, which means carry-on! You can already feel the anticipation in Chase Hall, all of us knowing that we made it through the first semester here, and we just have a few more obstacles to overcome before we get there.

 

What is Boards? Well, if you peer through the archives of cadet blogs, you can find many more cadets before me talk about it when they were blogging as 4/c. In the Coast Guard fleet, for enlisted personnel to advance ranks, they must usually take and pass a written test followed by an oral test to move on. At the Coast Guard Academy, we replicate the process for 4/c to understand and better appreciate what the enlisted do to get where they are. This year is the first year they’ve done a written Boards test and an oral Boards test – usually, it has only been an oral test. As the 4/c go through the Boards process, we will begin to earn back privileges. When my shipmates and I pass Boards, we will earn the privilege to write on our whiteboards posted outside our rooms, to play music aloud, to use social media, and eventually experience carry-on.

 

Considering the past – and realizing I’ve been at the Coast Guard Academy for just eight months so far – I can say I’ve learned so much. I’m certainly not the same girl I was on June 26, 2016 (the day before R-Day.) As scary as Boards seems to some, I’m excited to do it. I’m preparing in every way I can, with all my shipmates in the great Class of 2020. We’re all going to lean on each other to make it through, and eventually, we’ll all be trading in our green shields for red shields, as one awesome class.

 

More about Sarah.