I feel like a lot of incoming swabs have a lot of questions that may not always be answered or can be difficult to find an answer to. Luckily, I have an older brother who went through the Academy and was able to answer all my questions. However, I recognize that not everyone has that luxury. So, I am going to try my best to think back to some of the major concerns I had before joining the Coast Guard Academy four months ago. I really hope you find some of this information useful if you are thinking about applying or are already packing for Day One.
One of my biggest concerns entering Swab Summer was if I should memorize anything ahead of arriving. To be honest, if you felt the need to come prepared with any memorized indoc, you should know the mission, ethos, and core values. These are expected to be memorized by the end of the first day. You will also be sounding it off… a lot. Otherwise, I don’t really see a need to buy a previous copy of the Running Light and study it all the time. It might be helpful to sneak a peek every now and then, but you will have plenty of time to study during the summer.
Another question you may have is about your socks. These will be used quite frequently during the summer, so it’s important to get high-quality socks. Furthermore, get socks that fit somewhat tight to your leg. You will be running around all summer with your Running Light and ink stick shoved in your sock. Plenty of us, myself included, had days where our Running Light and ink stick fell out of our socks. The day it happened to me, my cadre didn’t give it back to me until the end of the day and forced me to study my hand.
Lastly, make sure to come in physically fit. Though you can’t really get dropped during the first week of processing, you will want to be ready for it. You don’t want to develop shin splints, not be able to do push-ups, or not be able to hold a plank. You will also be doing static holds a lot, or what the cadre refer to as “thinking.” You want to be ready for all of the physical activity.
Looking back on Swab Summer, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed in the moment. Sure, some days were terrible. Some activities were hard. You will be fine, though. Just keep working to be the best swabs you can be. I have two big tips for you. The first is to “embrace the criticism.” The cadre don’t want to make you feel bad about yourself. They want to help you improve. Recognizing that will help you understand why you are doing all these difficult tasks. The second tip is to remember that tomorrow is a new day. Don’t dwell on your mistakes from that day. You should learn from them so that you can avoid making them again.
I hope that this has answered some of your questions about Swab Summer.