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I Guess this is Normal Now

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link   All Posts
 Jessie Lukasik Returning to school from leave has been quite a reality check, though not in the way you’d expect. After three months sailing around the world, leave felt almost unreal. As peculiar as our little Academy-world is, returning has felt like checking back into my own bizarre-but-comfortable version of reality: a reality of uniforms, regulations, opportunities, endless movement, and a corps bubbling with passion and energy and restlessness and impishness all mixed together. This is my new normal – civilian life has become some strangely decadent treat. In a way, it’s soothing to come “back to work.”

And the work is piling up already – the mental effort of keeping track of the countless changes going into affect at the Academy this year provides a daunting challenge in itself. We have a new Superintendant. We have new Assistant Commandant of Cadets. As 3/c cadets, the class of 2014 got shifted into new companies. Reg Staff is new. Command within the companies is new. New annexes have opened up in Chase Hall. A new (and grossly unpopular) open-door room policy has gone into effect. In just a month, new regulations regarding the repeal of DADT will take effect. The amount of “newness” being infused into cadet lives with the start of the school year is mind-boggling.

And beyond the tangible changes in policy and structure, it seems that the very character of CGA is shifting along with changes in the outside world. Even in the isolation of the Academy, “real-world” issues – an unstable economy, and a less-than-prosperous job market – infiltrate the atmosphere. Being a cadet, this year, seems to bear more weight than ever as Command informs the Corps that applications to the Academy are increasing and the availability of Coast Guard job billets is decreasing. The pressure is higher than ever for us to reach the lofty standards laid down for us – to develop into intelligent, honorable, skillful, mature leaders ready to go into the fleet. More is at stake; our places here at the Academy hold more value. We have more reason to be both proud of ourselves for our achievements thus far and humbled by the prospect of what we still must achieve to make proper payment for the opportunity we’ve been afforded. Yes, the return to school had the same hustle-and-bustle to it as always, but this year’s atmosphere held a particular solemn flavor to it as well. The world is changing, and CGA isn’t immune to that.

Still, that’s not to say that all the joys of the Academy don’t still dominate the back-to-school environment. There’s so much excitement just over the horizon. Fall sports are in season already – for me, that means a training-intensive combo of Rugby and Tri-Team, all combined with training for the Marine Corps Marathon and a Tough Mudder. Classes are starting up again – and for me and my classmates, this academic year holds the start of work in our specific majors. The Labor Day long weekend, Spirit Week and MMA Weekend, Homecoming…the next month is going to be one big event after another.

Yep, this is totally, perfectly normal. How funny is that?

More about Jessie.