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Home / Cadet Blogs / A Sense of Belonging

Swab Summer/AIM Tips

Leah Balser | June 20, 2023
Leah Balser

If you are reading this, you are either considering or taking part in Swab Summer or the Academy Introduction Mission (AIM). As someone who has done both, I will give you some tips to help you be successful during your time at the Academy. For starters, I would recommend drinking a lot of water. Summers in Connecticut get hot and humid, and the sun has no mercy. You do not want to be the person to pass out this summer because of dehydration, so start drinking water now! Another tip I have is to not take anything the cadre say personally. It’s an experience for both you, the Swab/AIMster, and the cadre, to grow and learn from. Additionally, if you know you will be doing Swab Summer, I highly recommend you send as many people as possible your mailing address so family/friends/mentors can send you letters throughout the summer. When I got mail during Swab Summer, it reminded me why I was there in the first place and were letters of encouragement, which is just what everyone needs during those seven weeks of training. When times were rough, I would open my mail or reread old letters. I also would recommend telling those that will send you letters to send photos as well. I loved seeing photos and although it makes you miss home, I feel like it is better to have photos than to not have any. I also recommend building good relationships with your shipmates. Get out of your comfort zone and make new friends. All in all, whether you are a Swab or an AIMster, my final piece of advice is to not give up. You only have a certain number of days that will feel like your worst, but I promise time flies and it will be worth it; the times that feel like they are the hardest only make up for a small fraction of your life, the rest is all good that lies ahead. You want to leave the summer saying, “I gave it my all,” because that is what is most fulfilling.

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