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Home / AIM / AIM BLOGS / Ella Stolarzyk - POST-AIM INTERVIEW

Ella Stolarzyk: Post-AIM Interview

Ella Stolarzyk | July 18, 2023
Ella Stolarzyk

Describe your initial impression of AIM in five words or less.

My initial impression of AIM was: tense and competitive, yet motivational.

Did all your physical fitness preparation pay off?

My physical fitness preparation and training prior to AIM proved to be highly worthwhile! On the second day of AIM, we were given the opportunity to undergo the PFE (fitness exam) which included pushups, situps and a 1.5 mile run. To ensure my readiness for this exam, I followed the “USCGA Health and Fitness Preparation Guidelines” specifically designed for SWAB summer training, available on the Coast Guard Academy website. This comprehensive 8-week training program proved invaluable in preparing me for the demanding fitness requirements of the week. I highly recommend utilizing this resource prior to attending AIM, as it significantly contributed to my performance on the PFE.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about the Academy that you didn’t already know?

Coming from a non-military family, I found the military aspects of the Academy to be the most interesting part of the week. I now have a better understanding of the Coast Guard’s values and culture!

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Throughout the week, my primary obstacle was adjusting to the intense schedule. I was determined to be my best from sunrise to sunset. Overcoming the challenge of the schedule involved tackling each day’s activities as they came. Rather than dwelling on the number of hours or days left to endure, I instead shifted my focus to the current tasks. This approach proved beneficial as it helped me maintain composure and face each challenge head on.

Looking back, would you have done anything different to prepare yourself for AIM?

If I could change anything about my preparation for AIM, I would have focused on asking more questions about the structure of the days (i.e., what the schedule looked like). Prior to heading to New London, I sought advice and opinions on how to navigate the program, but I neglected to inquire about the specific activities and schedule. Having a clearer understanding of the itinerary and what to expect during AIM is the only aspect I feel I lacked in terms of adequate preparation.

What surprised you the most about AIM?

The cadre were surprisingly able to transition from intense to friendly over the course of the week; I discovered that everything they did was for a reason. They pushed our platoon hard, with the goal of wanting us to become the best versions of ourselves!

How was your connection with the other AIMsters?

The highlight of my week at AIM was the opportunity to meet the other AIMsters. Initially, during the first few days of the program, we only had a chance to interact during head breaks, our PFE, and engineering classes. However, as the week went on and our morale was boosted, my entire platoon began to bond and grow closer. I was impressed by how friendly and like-minded all the AIMsters were; it was truly enjoyable to be surrounded by such a supportive group of peers! Post-AIM we created a group chat and plan to stay in touch throughout the admissions process.

Can you identify a noticeable difference in yourself after attending AIM? If so, what?

I find I am even more motivated to apply for the Coast Guard Academy to join with other students who have the same underlying passion to serve; I am eager to kick off the application process! The knowledge I gained about SWAB Summer and 4/c year at the Academy reinforced my determination to pursue this path of both leadership and service.

Would you recommend attending AIM? Why?

I would absolutely recommend attending AIM. The program gives you a firsthand perspective of what your future at the Academy will look like. It helps establish expectations. It is also an excellent way to connect with fellow students from around the United States who will also be applying for the Academy. Your attendance at the program also shows your dedication to the admissions process, as you will have the opportunity to meet many administrative team members and teachers, as well as cadre. Throughout the week, you will learn about your cadre’s experiences at the Academy. This is a wonderful time to ask questions, which will allow you to better understand the ins and outs of the Coast Guard Academy.

About Ella

  • Hometown: Danville, CA
  • Intended Major: Government
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