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cadet blogs

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.

 

Back at the Academy

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo After my summer training program, I had three weeks of leave. I went home and spent time with my family and high school friends. I thought three weeks would be short compared to my 11 week summer program, but it was a lot different than any previous summer for me. For the past few years, I’ve had swim practices, lifeguarding, swim lessons, and summer reading projects. This year, I didn’t have to worry about any of that. It was weird because all my friends were working on internships or at minimum wage jobs, and I had more free time than ever.

 

When leave ended, it was back to the Academy. I thought it was going to be a tough adjustment, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I remember last year, Cadet Administrative Processing (CAP) week was really stressful as a 4/c. As a 3/c, it was a lot easier. Now that I can look around the halls, talk to people like normal, and look at my food, it’s a completely different experience. I spent CAP week attending trainings and welcome back speeches and packing into my new room and company. As a 3/c, I act as a role model to a 4/c. Through the week, I helped my 4/c get the signatures of all the upper-class in the company (a task every 4/c must complete) and then helped him study indoc.

 

Now, I’ve finished my first week of school. I am taking 18 credits this semester, but it already seems like a lot less work than last year. It is 1.5 credits less to be exact, but I don’t have any labs or math classes. I am starting to take major specific classes now, and as a Management major, that means a lot more focus on writing papers than solving math problems. My favorite class so far is Intro to Business and Management. I’m looking forward to seeing what this semester holds for me, as I know it will be completely different from 4/c year.

 

If you have any questions about any of my blogs, please feel free to contact me at Sarah.R.Ritchie@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Remarkable Transformation

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo I would like to start by saying that the weirdest part of this year is definitely being called ma’am. It is believed that the word ma’am was first used in 1668. In today’s society the definition of the word ma’am is a word used to politely reference a queen, a woman that you do not know, or one that ranks above you in the military or police. So my first thought is that I am not royalty, so this word ma’am should not apply. Then when the fourth class continued to greet me as ma’am, my next thought is that they know my name so clearly this common courtesy should not apply either. That leaves me with only one option. They must be greeting me for the position I hold. My thoughts entering this year were that I no longer had to complete the menial tasks of a fourth class cadet, but that my ranking among the corps of cadets had not really shifted. This fallacy was quickly proven false, as I entered the year as Ms. Pourmonir. This sign of respect is used throughout every branch of the military. It still baffled me that one year could change so much. Not only did I become a third class cadet, but I now have responsibility. Not the fourth class kind that requires taking out the trash, but the kind that involves being a role model for those around me and setting standards for others to follow.

 

This school year came with a lot of changes, but the biggest for me was this. Being a role model and having the chance to change someone’s life. Helping them through what some believe to be the hardest year for cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy. I have two fourth class cadets that I share the responsibility of training and developing. I am in a place now where I can learn the fundamentals of leadership, through experience rather than in a classroom with a whiteboard. This leadership experience transforms each cadet into someone who will one day be leading the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. I am honored to have this opportunity, and wish everyone was able to experience the same remarkable transformation that we learn here at the Academy.

 

More about Keemiya.