What were your first impressions?
When I was with my family, before AIM started, I thought the campus was beautiful and I enjoyed walking around and taking it all in. After my parents dropped me off, we were separated into our platoons and were required to stand out on the bulkhead. That’s when I realized this was going to be an extremely challenging week.
Rate the physical intensity of AIM on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most intense).
7. I wasn’t entirely surprised by the intensity, but it was more than I first thought It would be. I expected a lot of hard work and effort, but I didn’t expect we would be doing as much as we did.
What challenges did you overcome?
I injured my knee during the physical fitness exam (PFE) while on the run but was able to complete it! My injury made the week a lot harder, and even though my knee constantly hurt I pushed through it. This bit of adversity required me to dig deep to complete the program. My shipmates helped me keep my spirits high.
Anything surprise you?
What surprised me was being unable to look around. That was very hard for me to get used to. It took quite a bit of work and discipline but soon I was able to keep my eyes in the boat. I was also surprised at how strict and orderly everything was, from posture restrictions (eating and standing) to how structured the days were. By the end I was enjoying the structured days and the fulfillment I felt when accomplishing each day’s work.
What was your favorite part of the program?
Meeting my fellow AIMsters. I loved being able to converse and work with the shipmates in and out of my platoon. Hearing from my cadre and their experiences was very interesting and fun.
How have you changed?
AIM week helped me:
- Push past what I believed my mental and physical limits were. There were times I thought my body was going to give out, but I endured.
- Work as a team to understand everyone has a place on the team and to listen to and value everyone’s opinion to achieve the end goal.
- To understand that it is extremely beneficial to listen to and learn from individuals with more knowledge.
- To understand respect should be shown to those individuals that have earned it.
What words of advice would you give to high school students considering AIM?
I would say, “Do it!” AIM will help you decide if you are a fit for the USCGA and if USCGA is fit for you. You will be tested physically and mentally and find out your limits. That being said, if you do decide to go, here are a few things to help make it “easier”:
- Hit the gym or at a minimum work on push-ups, sit-ups, running and climb stairs.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Have an open mindset. Things that you take for granted, like looking around freely, are going to change.
- Be prepared to break out of your shell and be ready to be challenged.
Lastly, it’s a hard week but you definitely can do it!