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cadet blogs

Diversity Makes a Difference

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo (02APR17) New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so coming to New London, Connecticut was a bit of a culture shock. However, there are ways to discuss the concept of diversity and the Academy dedicates one week, Eclipse Week, to these discussions. Personally, Eclipse Week is one of my favorite events because I see it as a way to share stories and perspectives that people wouldn’t normally share. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in classes, sports, and drill that anyone can get distracted from their roots, no matter where they’re from. I’ll be working on this blog over the course of Eclipse week, and I’ll try to do a mini-entry every other day. I’ll also try not to sugar-coat anything, because diversity isn’t something that can be taken lightly. It’s a real issue that goes beyond the Coast Guard, and something that I think we should all consider. Hope you like it!


(03APR17) This year’s theme is about “character” and who you are when no one’s watching. Conveniently, we had John Quiñones, an ABC News reporter and host of “What Would You Do?” come and speak to us today. He shared his story, his dreams, and the challenges he faced as a Latino-American. What I got from Mr. Quiñones is to never underestimate the value of empathy. Oftentimes when someone is being mistreated, the people who step in to help have had a similar experience and don’t want to see others suffer, even if they’re a complete stranger. Even more interesting was that, most of the time, the people had almost nothing in common, whether it is ethnicity, occupation, or even wealth. However, all it takes for people to take initiative is a single shared idea that they can all relate to.


(06APR17) This morning was my first Eclipse Event, organized by the Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). We had breakfast with Asian Coast Guard officers, ranging from Lieutenants from the class of 2015 to Admirals who have been in for a years, and had mentoring sessions over spam and rice. In the short time we had with them, I learned about life in the fleet, life outside the fleet, and I even got some financial advice. However, the most important thing I learned is that diversity makes a difference. I believe that people are visual beings, meaning that a lot of our actions and emotions are affected by what we see around us. Frankly, talking to Asian American officers was really just refreshing because I saw higher shoulder-boards on someone who looked like me. I found myself relating more and being more comfortable asking questions because we were raised under the same culture, and I think non-Asian cadets benefited just as much from seeing a new perspective.


(07APR17) Spectrum Council is the Coast Guard’s first official LGBTQ support group and they hosted a lunch panel about transgender people serving in the military. Along with the amazing number of people who attended, we had the opportunity to meet the Coast Guard’s first transgender officer. However, while we can celebrate the progress we’ve made after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), today’s panel highlighted the changes that will be necessary now that transgender people can openly serve as well. Of course, bathrooms are a prominent issue, but there also needs to be focus on teaching people what exactly “transgender” is and what we can do to help people during their transition, rather than pushing them away. It may be an awkward conversation at first, and some people may be uncomfortable just by reading this entry, but now is the time to adapt and improve our understanding of the changing world around us.


(08APR17) So what did I learn this week? I don’t even know where to start. It’s hard to present the concept of “diversity” without making it seem like another mandatory training we have to finish. It’s even harder to show why people should care about diversity issues because they may not see it as a priority, and the worst is when they say, “It’s not that bad.” However, the Coast Guard is a humanitarian service, and taking the perspective of others is one of the basics of our mission. As a Chinese American and member of the LGBTQ community, I truly appreciate how we’re at least making an effort to dispel obstacles and assumptions. Diversity will always be a hard topic and we all have different values, but we should value each other above all else.


More about Olivia.


Recognizing the Importance of Eclipse Week

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kokomoor Photo Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond what is right in front of me in a single moment; tunnel vision causing me to walk, nearly blind, through days and weeks at the Academy, barely aware of anything beyond my classes and my shipmates in the engineering buildings and on the pool deck.


While not a lot can pry me away from my busy life, it is essential to recognize Eclipse Week and what it stands for, not only around the Academy, but throughout the growing Coast Guard and throughout the country. Eclipse week always brings me to a standstill. It is absolutely amazing when so many people can join together in the common goal of not only recognizing the diversity problems that our world faces today, but talking about them in earnest. This communication and sharing allows people to come together, to understand one another, and to recognize how each different person brings something new and essential to the table.


I sat at dinner one night and listened to a speaker who told of her story, serving as a Coast Guard wife in Panama during the invasion by United States armed forces. She not only saw and heard of the fighting, but she was actually caught in the crossfire. This was eye-opening to me and to everyone sitting in the crowd. This speaker was able to offer her worldly experiences to us, teaching us of struggles that most of us will never face but still must strive to understand. Through her speech she brought diversity of thought to the table. She experienced combat before women were allowed to do such a thing; she broke down boarders and as a result has lived to tell her story in the hopes that it lives on and inspires others to think beyond what is known to be possible.


Diversity of race, religion, and gender are so vital in today’s world. They allow us to develop a diversity of thought, which is paramount. Someone who is able to draw experience from every walk of life is someone who can subsequently break down barriers and change the world as we know it and how we all see it.


More about Jacklyn.



(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Well, we’re all back from spring break, the dark ages are fading away, and we’re only seven weeks away from the sweet taste of summer freedom. It’s always a bit saddening to come back to New London, especially since I was coming back from a week in the original London. Of course, I saw Big Ben, London Bridge, Camden Town, but my favorite spot was Leigh-On-Sea, a cozy town about an hour east of London. I met a friend there and had an amazing time, chilling in an old English pub and watching the tide come in. By the way, their low tide is so low that their boats rest on the bottom! Google it!


As for the summer, I was fortunate enough to be given an assignment onboard the Japanese Coast Guard Cutter, Kojima. It’s a great opportunity to experience the Japanese culture and get some unique underway experience. Not only that, but I’ll see my friends again! A few of their cadets came onboard the Eagle last summer, so now it’ll be their turn to teach me about their coast guard. A single cadet blog isn’t enough to express how excited I am for this summer, and I will definitely update you on what adventures come out of this opportunity.


More about Olivia.


A Lot to be Excited About

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Hill Photo Indoctrination boards was not as bad as I had thought it would be—I passed the written test and oral test the first time around! I am making so many close friends and I just received my summer assignment. This summer I am going to Bermuda on Eagle! And a station for six weeks where I can get qualified in boarding team member operations and firearms training! Yes, I am excited (hence the exclamation points). We, the 4/c, still do not have full carry-on yet so I was a little disappointed about that, but it’s okay because 3/c year is approaching fast!


That’s all for now folks…


Never give up faith and love life,
Kelly Hill


Please email me with your questions!


More about Kelly.


Rooms, Food, and Other Usual College Questions

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo High school teachers helping students through the college admissions process often tell students to take campus, food, living arrangements, and amenities into consideration before they apply. Now, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor for you if you are trying to decide to come to the CGA, but sure, it plays a part. Having done a year of college before coming to CGA, I can definitely give you a good comparison of the differences.


In terms of living arrangements, most cadet rooms are doubles. The rooms are relatively small, and must be kept in good order at all times. You can only room with the same gender and the same class (i.e., freshmen must room with freshmen). Also, you will be living “on campus” the whole time you are here. Things need to be stowed, folded, and clean just about at all time. We will have Formal Room and Wing inspections roughly once per month. You can only have two personal shelves with your effects on it, and one picture can be hung (24’x24’ max). When I did ROTC and lived in a dorm back in 2012, I could leave my room however I wanted—room inspections and constant order was not part of that military experience. We typically have a quick room inspection at least once daily.


The food here is actually much better compared to the colleges that I attended and visited long ago. At state college, most students will purchase a meal plan, which allows them to eat for a certain set number of meals per week. Food here at the CGA is made available in the cadet wardroom, or cafeteria. All cadets receive pay, and the expense for food is automatically deducted from cadet salary. Cadets are provided 21 meals per week, or what would typically exceed the largest meal plan at any other college. The food quality is actually very good for cafeteria food, and is much better than what I ate at state college, although sometimes it can be repetitive. Also, living here for four years on campus means that you cannot opt out of the meal plan.


Breakfast and lunch are typically family style, where every cadet (roughly 1,000) eats at the same time. Following formation in the morning and afternoon, all of the cadets head into the wardroom for the meal, sit down at the same time, and leave at the same time. Dinner is typically buffet style, which is what most college meals are like. The wardroom is open from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and cadets can choose from roughly 3-4 different meal choices on any given evening.


More about William.