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cadet blogs

Finals, Break and Returning to the Academy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo So the first semester has come and gone. It is hard to believe that I am 1/8 of the way through my journey at the USCGA. Although I may have never thought on R-Day that I would make it this far, it has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Finals approached right before winter leave. One difference I noticed between civilian college and the USCGA is that finals week is a lot more enjoyable at the Academy! While civilian college students cram to learn months’ worth of materials in one night, cadets here (including myself) use the free time during the day to study, but not having sports, extra military obligations, clubs, or classes makes finals week a bit more relaxing than the normally hectic work days.

 

Once finals were finished, I booked a train out of New London and went back home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was great to be home. I saw family from all over the country and spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying the time with old friends. I have heard that coming back to the Academy after winter leave is not enjoyable for fourth class, but honestly coming back was not difficult since I knew all of my friends are like family here and I would get to see them once I walked back in through the doors.

 

More about Hannah.

 

A Taste of the Old Days

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo I am back from winter leave, two weeks when life almost seemed normal again. At home, I spent the majority of my time hanging out with friends, visiting with family, and sleeping. I forgot just how simple life was living with the familiar faces of my parents and brother, spending every night out late with friends, and having the ability to sleep in with no 6 a.m. reveille! During that time I thought a lot about the college experience I was getting, as compared to most of my high school classmates. It was extremely different in so many ways, but at the same time, similar. I did not find it hard to relate to these friends, as so many cadets claim. We talked about schedules, classes, new friends, old friends, and our versions of fun. Though the stories were not the same, the common sense of being a “freshman” again was still present.

 

Those two weeks re-energized me with a taste of the old days, a much needed reminder that I still have the friends from home, who mean the world to me; but a more prominent reminder that the life I knew now belongs to the Coast Guard. As hard as it is to accept while being at home with no worries, the minute I got back to the Academy I was reminded it was the right path. This does not mean that I don’t ever question why I got myself into this, because I do. It helps to scroll through old pictures, reminiscing and laughing about old memories, then switch gears and look ahead at my future in the real Coast Guard because those experiences will surely make it all worth it.

 

More about Gabrielle.

 

Parents' Weekend: A Deeper Meaning

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo The atmosphere of the Academy changes immensely when everyone’s families are here. Cadets and their family members all wear ear-to-ear grins; they’re overjoyed to see each other. We often talk about the strong support network that cadets have, but it’s really something to see it. Families come from all over the country, and some from other countries, for Parents’ Weekend. Cadets whose parents can’t come are taken in by other families so they’re not alone. We become one big Coast Guard family instead of 1,000 individual ones.

 

This year, I noticed a huge difference in myself from last Parent’s Weekend. As a 3/c, I’m more confident and comfortable here and less reliant on my parents’ support. Every time my parents left after visiting last year, I cried. This year, it’s was a “see you next time!” and no tears. (Don’t get me wrong, I still need and appreciate all the support my parents give me, but I’m also a lot more independent.) Also, this year, I spent as much time as I could enjoying my mom’s company instead of worrying about homework and indoc all weekend. I didn’t even bring any homework with me to the hotel. I had a lot to do Sunday night, but I don’t regret it.

 

I could see how nervous some 4/c parents were because they didn’t know what to expect or were almost discomforted by the amount their sons and daughters had changed and grown up. For some, it was the first time they’d seen each other since R-Day. With those nerves comes pride. It is wonderful to see how proud each and every parent is of his or her cadet. My mom has a shirt that says, “Some people never meet their heroes… I raised mine.” I know that a lot of other parents feel the same way. You can see it in their smiles and feel it in their hugs. I found it heartwarming when I saw a cadet holding their parents’ hands like she was still their little girl. It’s those signs of love and support that give Parents’ Weekend a much deeper meaning.

 

More about Sarah.