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4/c Daily Duties

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman Photo One thing I always remembered when I was applying to the Academy and browsing through the blogs was reading about how the 3/c were so happy they didn’t have to do all of the 4/c duties anymore. But no one really explained what the 4/c duties were. There is a good amount but I thought I’d give the top duties.


Clocks – At the Academy we have formation twice a day, before breakfast and before lunch. Starting 10 minutes before every formation there has to be a 4/c at every clock in the company’s wing area sounding off the time to go to formation and daily indoc (meals, days to go, movies, CGA sports games).


Bracing Up/Bussing – Whenever 4/c are in Chase Hall we are braced up, greeting the upper class, squaring corners, squaring our meals, and not talking to each other. Outside of Chase Hall, we have to bus everywhere, which means we march from class to class as a group. The most annoying part of this is that people have different length legs so depending on who’s in the front of your formation you’re either crawling or sprinting to class.


Indoc Tests – The Running Light doesn’t go away after Swab Summer. Every week 4/c are assigned three to four pages of indoc to memorize, then Sunday night there is an indoc test which 4/c must get an 80% or above on to pass. If you fail there are consequences such as extra indoc tests, note cards, or demerits. Toward the end of 4/c year, you take a cumulative exam, called boards. Everyone in your class must pass in order to earn carry-on and not have to brace-up anymore.


Note Cards – As a 4/c note cards are transformed from a helpful way to keep track of notes to a torturous punishment. If you’ve ever been in detention before and had to write something 100 times you know the premise of note cards. The difference is each note card has to be properly formatted, which means they take about two minutes each; when you get a lot it takes a long time and hurts your hand.


Formal Room and Wing – This is a big inspection the corps has once a month, as a 4/c we have the duty of cleaning the wing area and any other assigned spaces around Chase Hall. This usually results in a late night. It isn’t the best way to spend a Friday night but as a 4/c you’re not allowed to leave the Academy on Fridays anyway and in my company the upper class will usually get pizza or ice cream for us when we’re up late cleaning.


This makes 4/c year sound awful; I’ll admit it’s not great all the time but I’ve definitely had more good days than bad. These duties quickly become just a part of your daily routine and don’t seem as inconvenient. Plus, you have your entire class with you dealing with the same thing. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at


More about Jill.


Things to Know Before Saying “Yes”

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Twarog Photo It was right around this time last year that I officially committed to the Coast Guard Academy, and I’ll be entirely honest, this last year has been both the longest and the shortest of my life. My time in high school feels like a lifetime ago and yet it’s hard to believe that I took the oath on R-Day only seven months ago. As the Class of 2020 prepares to accept or decline their appointments in the coming months, I’d figure I’d share some insight into this place that I wish I’d known before coming in.


  • Have a good reason to want to come here. I’ll tell you right now, this place is very hard at times. Simply coming here because you won’t be shelling out any money for an education isn’t enough. You don’t necessarily have to want to be a career military officer (I honestly don’t foresee myself making a career with the Coast Guard), but you need a good reason to come here.
  • If you accept, you are going to question your decision. Even if you’ve wanted to come here since you were 10 years old, there are going to be days when you want to quit. For me, this hit me hard coming back from winter break. Even though I’ve wanted to come here since sophomore year in high school, for a couple of weeks, I was in a funk where I was very seriously considering transferring to another school. The reasons for this were complicated, but my point is that it’s normal to question your decision.
  • The Academy is a cycle of highs and lows. The lows are tough like I’ve already described, but the highs are indescribable… Since getting in, I’ve raced my first Olympic-distance triathlon, sailed on Eagle, become a volunteer firefighter, joined the U.S. Military Cycling Team, ate lunch with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and marched in NYC on Veterans Day. You will have opportunities here that you wouldn’t ever have other places.
  • The bond you share with your shipmates here can’t be simply summed up with the word “friendship”. You’ll form bonds that can’t be described. Even though you might be moving away from home, you’ll have a family at the Academy you can rely on.
  • Home won’t feel quite the same when you finally go back. This isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, it’s just…different. You’ll discover who you really consider to be your friends from back home. Part of this is because you don’t have social media your fourth class year, so you have to make an effort to stay in touch with your friends. Not only this, but people tend to drift in different directions once they head off to college. Your core values might not necessarily align with theirs as time progresses. Even beyond this, you might not necessarily be able to relate to a lot of what your friends are going through, and the opposite is certainly the case. That being said, the friendships that remain are going to last a lifetime.
  • My final insight/unsolicited piece of advice is HAVE FUN. Not only is this true at the Academy, but as you go into your final months of high school, enjoy them (responsibly) as much as you can. Go hiking, seek out random adventures, eat good food, travel whenever possible, laugh a lot, start a bucket list and cross off as many bullets as possible. Live life to its fullest.

Congrats to everyone who gets accepted into the Class of 2020, and if you have any questions feel more than free to reach out to me at my email (


More about Evan.


On a Mission to Unwind

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Bain Photo It's the beginning of 2016, Happy New Year! Consequently, that means it’s time for another semester. Winter leave was great and very important. This past fall semester left me drained in my mind and body. By heading home I had the opportunity to refresh and recharge. Spending time with friends, family, loved ones, and even pets was a welcoming feeling having been gone for so long. However, nothing was more comforting than sleeping in long past 6 a.m.


If the mission of leave is to unwind, I stood a tall watch and manned my rack. One could say I was extraordinarily devoted to that duty. Unfortunately, my watch has come to an end and it’s time to return to the Coast Guard Academy.


With the spring semester about to pick up, I'm ready. Sure, being away from home stinks but if I wrote that I didn't miss this place, I would be a liar. For some mysterious reason that I'll attribute to habit, I started to miss the daily routine. Being here and being productive gives one a sense of purpose, which is ultimately what every human inevitably searches for in their lifetime.


I'm glad it’s still not snowing. I'm glad to be back with my friends. I'm ready for the challenges ahead. It's good to be home.


More about Cody.


Administrative Action

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Sharp Photo Well, I have almost officially made it to my first Thanksgiving break at USCGA, which means that I have almost officially made it through my first semester of “college.” Now, clearly, this is not your average college experience. Over the past few weeks, I have seen many of my shipmates get honor-boarded and masted, have attended a formal dinner training that our instructor said was the worst she had ever seen, and have experienced a “bussing and respect remedial.”


No, this place is not your average college. We take honor, respect, and devotion to duty very seriously. And, right when you start slipping through the cracks and lose sight of these three pillars, you had better believe that there is someone there to remind you–albeit through administrative action, or through a light slap on the wrist and some notecards. As fourth class, we are the followers. A part of being on this lovely level of the chain of command is that, sometimes, we get to write these notecards. On such notecards, we get the privilege to write, in pen, mind you (so you cannot re-use the note cards), “1/c (name of your Company Commander), 4/c (Your last name) respectfully requests to inform you that (insert anything you might need to inform people of–your whereabouts, something you did wrong, indoc test corrections, etc.).”


On another note, honor boards are where a cadet who has acted in a manner that rubbed someone the wrong way (cadets are honor-boarded when they are suspected of cheating, fraternization, or simply breaking the regulations). This process consists of the cadet walking in and sitting at the position of attention with an upperclassmen advisor of their choice. The upperclassmen who comprise the honor board and will ask the cadet questions about the situation. The board then makes a recommendation to Commander Barker, who oversees the mast. Most honor boards lead to masts. The mast is much more formal because it is where Commander Barker decides how hefty the punishment will be for the cadet in question. 


Cadets are required to attend certain dinner and etiquette trainings so that we learn the importance of respect and how to act toward officers and how to act when we become officers. Due to the nature of such trainings, we cadets get restless and sometimes feel the need to occupy our time with other things to distract us from the training. Unfortunately, my classmates and I made a very negative impression on our instructor, adding to the respect issues and misconduct coming from the Class of 2019. We fourth class cadets who attended this specific dinner training were addressed about our misconduct and now have to write a memo and apology notes to the trainer and the staff. This is an understandable punishment that we are all dealing with and will get through together.


On another note, this morning, our first class that is in charge of fourth class behavior and misconduct, and our company guidons, second class cadets who are in charge of the fourth class of their company, met with us during our morning training period. Although the training took time out of our mornings, everything that they had to say was correct. This always happens to the fourth class. Thanksgiving rolls around and we start getting bored with doing our jobs. When we square corners, it looks more like circling the corners. When we speak to upperclassmen, we drop our “sirs and ma’ams.” When we are marching in section to class (also known as “busing”), we speak to each other, which is not allowed. I think that we have forgotten our place at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak. We have forgotten what we learned over Swab Summer about teamwork and that we need each other to get through this. We have forgotten that we still have another semester of being fourth class. We have forgotten that we can never get too comfortable. About anything. Ever.


The main thing that I have learned is that life at the Academy is like one giant, slightly bruised apple. You can look at it and be like, “ew. This apple is gross. Why would anyone want that?” Or, you can journey through the process of eating the apple. One bite at a time. When you decide to deal with it and eat the apple, you find some bruises. That bitter, sour taste enters your mouth and you squinch your face up. In fact, when you are least expecting to find a bruise, you find one. That’s the best part. You never know when it’s coming. It just does. And there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to embrace it. Think about all of the people before you that had a bruised apple. You aren’t special. Embrace that bruised apple. Because, you know what? What it comes down to is the fact that somewhere out there, there is someone who would die for that apple.


Now, don’t get me wrong. USCGA has made me who I am today and I am forever grateful. I have gotten to travel an insane amount. I have been to New York City and Newport, Rhode Island on Eagle over Swab Summer, Canada with the dance team and Wind Jammers, Boston for a dance team competition, numerous church camps, Colgate College for a Mock Trial competition, and, of course, initially to lovely New London, Connecticut. To make everything that much better, the people here are amazing. We have all been through some sort of trial that has brought us together and formed a level of respect for one another. We have done something and are doing something that nobody else in the whole wide world gets to do. It sounds super cheesy, but I always feel blessed here. On my hardest day, when I am getting called out, have a bad test grade, or am fighting with my best friend, none of it matters. Because I am here. I am doing what I truly believe I was meant to do. I am glad to be here. And I can’t wait to see what lies for us next.


More about Kirsten.


Returning to My Roots

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo A common perception of military training is that everyone should fit into a mold. By the time we graduate, we should become the image of military excellence. This was a fear that I had before coming to the Academy, that I would be stripped of my core identity. I can tell you this is just a silly rumor in most cases. When I meet someone new, one of my first questions is always “what’s your story?” To which I typically get a look of confusion followed by “I don’t have a story.” Everyone has a story and it is important to realize what it is and hold on to it. Your story is what makes you unique; it is what makes you the person you are. A piece of my story that I always share is my love for art. Before becoming an Electrical Engineering major, I had taken zero, count ‘em zero, engineering courses. I did, however, max out the ceramics department’s program and the graphic design program, and did an independent study in ceramics with a focus on throwing on the wheel. So, why talk about this? Because it is important to know your story and return to it occasionally!


I lugged my potter’s wheel up to the Academy last semester hoping that I would have time to experience something other than the math and military-filled days. I, unfortunately, did not get the chance to reach back to that previous flame last semester and thus brought my wheel back home for winter break. While home, however, I bought myself 25 pounds of clay, fired up the wheel and day after day went back to what I did before the Academy. I sat for a lunch break with my mother most days in a disarray of clay-covered clothes and with dry hands. Among this chaos of an outfit was a smile though. I was at peace working with the medium.


The Academy can often fill our lives up and make it feel like we have nowhere to go other than the crevices inside the mold. It is important to realize that there is no mold except the one you make for yourself. Expand your expectations to be what you want and pursue what you want. I can sit here happily studying electrical engineering, but it does not mean I have to give up other things in my life that made me happy. Besides, at the end of the day, let’s face it; an engineer is an artist too, just with a different medium.


More about Shane.