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cadet blogs

A Coastie Abroad

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Nolan Photo Every once in a great while now I find myself writing a blog entry; it doesn’t happen as frequently as it once did, and perhaps this is for the best. The purpose of these blogs are supposed to be to inspire applicants to take a good hard look at the Academy itself and what they are signing up for. At this point in my cadet career, I am more than four years distant from where those applicants are. A lot has changed in four years, and while I try and keep a hand involved with Admissions especially via, I feel as though it is somehow right that I am letting the younger cadets write more, rather than inundating the site with my writings. I feel at this point in my cadet career, as I approach my last semester, that I may also have become a tad jaded and so it is only fitting that my blog this time concerns little to do with the Academy itself, but rather with the fun things that you have a chance to do while on leave.


This year, like last, I traveled over 28 hours home to visit my family stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The flight was long as usual but I was more than happy to get home, kick back, relax and enjoy some family time. I spent my first few days touring the island, making my family do all the touristy stuff that nobody does when they live there: we went scuba diving, visited the aquarium on the northern end of the Island, went beach combing, swimming and just hung out. This year was a mirror of last year, with one small exception: this year my family decided to take a vacation during my leave… to Australia. Six days into my time at home my family packed up four suitcases and headed down to the airport, boarded a plane with 13 other Americans going on the tour and flew to Sydney, Australia via Taipei, Taiwan. I spent five amazing days in Sydney, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I walked around the Opera House, toured the Rocks and Quay, hiked in the blue mountains and explored as many nooks and crannies of downtown Sydney that I could. During this time I even got a chance to pet a koala! It was an adventure and a half.


Following those days in Sydney, I had the opportunity to spend some time up north in Brisbane, Australia. I traveled to the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo and saw some of the Australian rain forest. It was a nice end to my time in the Southern Hemisphere and on the 30th of December, I flew back to Okinawa Japan to end my time at home and my leave.


The Academy is fine, but what really makes this four years great is the things you do on leave. With the little time you have away, it’s important to always remember to make that time special and memorable, and there’s no better way to do that than to explore the world with your family.


More about Stephen.


Back to My Roots

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo We were so fortunate to have a longer winter leave this year. The extra days allowed me to go back to Taiwan with my mom and enjoy a week and a half there before spending some time at home and then eventually coming back to the Academy. I was so relieved to be done with finals and excited to see all my relatives since the last time I had an opportunity to visit them was back in 2005!


It took a 13-hour direct flight to get from New York to Taiwan and once we landed, my mom and I got our luggage and headed over to my aunt’s house to surprise her! Neither my mom’s side nor my dad’s side of the family knew that I was coming back this winter break. To them nothing seemed out of the ordinary since my parents travel back to Taiwan annually. It was so nice to see the smiles on my relatives’ faces and the shock that I put them in by not telling them my winter plans earlier. All of my aunts, uncles, my two grandmothers, and grandfather still look the same, however my cousins have grown so much since the last time I was in Taiwan. It was amazing to think back and remember the time my cousins and I would fight over who was taller. Now that two of my boy cousins have gone through their growth spurt, I am left tilting my head back in order to look at them while we caught up.


Aside from getting to see all my relatives again, I loved spending time with my mom. Being at the Academy and away from home really makes me miss my family and the trip to Taiwan gave me time to spend with my mom, walking down memory lane and listening to all her childhood stories. I got to learn so much more about her and really appreciate having parents like my mom and dad. This trip also showed me where my parents got some of their traits; it was so interesting to see my grandparents, aunts, and uncle act in similar manners as my parents!


I realized that being at the Academy can be a little rough at times and amongst the uniforms and military lifestyle, you can really start to lose yourself. Ever since I have been here, my Mandarin has gotten worse, which is natural since I do not get to be around my parents, and speak to them on a daily basis. The trip to Taiwan could not have come at a better time since I got to really learn more about not only my mom and my relatives but about myself. I became fluent in Mandarin again when I went back and I got to spend time with my family, learning from my elders about Taiwan and about being Taiwanese American.


More about Ellie.



(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo Coming back to the Academy after winter leave gave me a very bittersweet feeling. While I wanted to come back to school to do something more productive with my time, leaving my friends and family was sad. We have been kept very occupied with all of our military obligations since our return, however, because of all of our hard work this week, the Corps of Cadets have been granted a long weekend. Unfortunately, I know people involved in winter sports will all be staying at the Academy due to all of the games and meets tomorrow. Personally, I have an indoor track and field meet at fifth deck Roland tomorrow. I am excited to start my college track career, however also very nervous due to an illness I am trying to overcome right now. Hopefully I do not come in last…


I had a wonderful time at home in Pennsylvania over leave. I received plenty of rest, saw old high school friends, and spent a lot of time with my family. I realized how quickly time flies by when my brother proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas Eve. It seems like just yesterday we were little kids fighting over who got to sit in the front seat on the way home. My brother also aided in the addition to the new member of the Corcoran family. No, it was not a person, it was a new kitten! Since our outdoor cat, Mr. Brown, ran away, my brother bought my mom a new kitten named Olive. Any time I laid down on the couch, she would cuddle herself up on my chest.


While this semester will definitely be a challenge, I am ready for the challenge this time. I know what to do and what to expect so I am hoping for success this semester.


More about Samantha.