It’s that time of year where everyone is encouraged to be thankful for the gifts life has offered them. Thanksgiving reminds us that surviving challenging times does not happen alone, and that there is good cause to take the time to be thankful when the rewards are plentiful. Thanksgiving is a time to be appreciative of your accomplishments, but also to remember those around you who made it possible for overcoming difficult obstacles.
One of the most encouraging concepts about CGA is that this place displays a belief in your ability as a leader from the moment an appointment is awarded. This does not mean that life as a cadet is easy. The rumors are true that academy life is fast-paced, and cadets can often feel overwhelmed by an array of challenges. School, sports, and military life do not always coincide easily. However, the system is designed to build confidence in yourself and in your peers. There is nothing quite like welcoming a Friday night after a week feeling unsure if deadlines would be met, making it through a tough practice, or enduring one more drill. But, those Friday nights arrive and the accomplishments of that week set in, leaving you feeling proud of everyone’s success and proud of the school that seeks to find your true potential.
I have more confidence in my abilities than I have ever thought possible. This place has built within me a sense of achievement unlike anything I had ever expected. I arrived at CGA after a year of covid lockdowns, attending CGA events mostly virtually before arriving on campus. I thought surviving Swab Summer was the time to celebrate, but I quickly realized that the men and women I bonded with over that long summer would offer the support I needed for the endless challenges ahead. I am fully aware that the friends I have made here will be lifelong friends. Actually, the friends I have here are more like family. I am so very thankful for this unexpected gift that the academy experience has afforded me.
It’s not only my peers that I have to be thankful for. My professors and coaches offer endless support and encouragement. They are aware of the late nights and early mornings, the rigorousness of the academy, and the level of success that we must reach before we graduate. They do this again and again each year, rolling out officers into the fleet that must meet the needs of Americans and people all across the world.
I have a lot to be thankful for this season and each day spent here at CGA. It’s within this mindset of thankfulness that I seek to pay it forward. I hope to display the type of support and encouragement that I come across each day here at the academy. If I can do that, then I will leave here not only in recognition of my true potential, but able to seek out the true potential in others. I will leave here a better person, more well-rounded, more compassionate, more encouraging, and more thankful for the gifts I have been offered.