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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

New Beginnings

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo I can’t help but feel excited and anxious for a new semester to begin. Part of that is because it offers the opportunity for a clean slate and a fresh start. Last semester was probably my best so far. I raised my GPA by 0.6, I excelled militarily, I found a new sport that I love, and I made more friends.

 

After finals I was able to go on winter leave to visit my family for the holidays. I first went to West Palm Beach, Florida to visit some extended family and then I went home to Missoula, Montana for Christmas and New Year’s. It was great to see my family and friends and spend a couple weeks relaxing at home. At the Academy I have gotten so used to being busy all the time, and I definitely needed a break. Three weeks was a good amount of time though, toward the end I started getting anxious for more to do.

 

So I am excited for the new semester to begin. I just have one semester left until I am a cadre, and my class has already started to prepare and decide what kind of cadre to become. Other than that, I am just excited to keep improving myself. Last semester I learned that I can do a lot better with just a little more effort, and it paid off. Hopefully this semester I can keep my GPA and military scores on the rise while having fun with my friends and sports teams.

 



More about Jade.

 

Food for Thought

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo With winter break a distant memory, I came back to the Academy a day early, and was one of few people in Chase Hall. Eerie, the halls were empty, quiet, and dark. As the corps returns from winter break, mid-year administrative processing, or MAP week, sweeps up everyone’s time. With speeches from Admiral Papp to breakout sessions with junior officers and other cadets, this week serves as a time of reflection and preparation, as each class is eager to move into the next role. 2017 is faced with another semester of academic responsibility and passing boards (a rote memorization oral examination on Coast Guard knowledge) in order to ultimately become third class cadets. Many of us are eager to get the PFE over with, while others are more concerned about succeeding academically in the coming weeks. Everyone is confronting their own challenges, yet we all face the same challenges as a class. Our class crest design was unofficially revealed yesterday on paper, and it made me realize that I am more than half way done 4/c life. Scary stuff.

 

Our superintendent, RADM Stosz, has echoed every presentation this week with the motif, “Duty Demands Courage.” There are posters around the Academy with the phrase on it and at first I didn’t know what to think about it. It seemed like another rhetorical campaign that just made some people warm and fuzzy and had no real meaning. But every time it passes through my head, it makes a little bit more sense. We are tasked with many duties and responsibilities, both explicit and implicit. Explicitly, we have to stand watches, memorize indoctrination material, ensure Chase is clean, and go to school. Implicitly, we need to make sure we are of good moral character, maintain moderation in all facets of life, and, quite simply, be good people. That sure is a lot to think about! However, it is easy for people to make mistakes. As an underclass, it always comes as a surprise to find out that the upperclassmen are still human and also make mistakes. As our role models and mentors, it is important we look at both their successes and also their mistakes.

 

Admiral Papp last night reminded us that accidents happen in the Coast Guard due to lack of attention to detail. That was one of the mantras screamed during Swab Summer and sometimes we like to parody how ridiculous it can often be. Yet, it makes sense. If I can’t be trusted to fold a shirt right, why should I be trusted to lead a crew? Definitely food for thought. I hope 2014 goes well for readers, us cadets, and the Coast Guard.

 



More about William.

 

Bringing in 2014 Beneath Big Ben

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Back in April my best friend from home, Erik, asked if I would do something special over his last winter break before graduating. It took a lot of convincing but we bought tickets to London, England and left on December 26th for the six-day trip. The visit was my first out of the country and not being with my family or classmates was a big change. In all, it was more than I could have hoped for – we visited Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle to name a few places outside of the city. We saw the Crown Jewels and the inner mechanics of Tower Bridge. We watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the River Thames across from the London Eye, and heard Big Ben strike midnight bringing in 2014. I could not have asked for a better first experience in Europe and was grateful for the opportunity to do so separate from work.

 

Of course, “separated” from the service is only an illusion leave provides. In reality, cadets know we are always representing the Academy and our behavior is a direct representation of our obligation. While I was granted travel to London over leave, I had to complete a memo (written request) and trainings prior, all which had to be reviewed by my chain of command. The Academy can be stringent at times, but (with the right reasoning) the same experiences civilian peers have can be had here too. The Academy supported my thrill of visiting London for the New Year because it was valuable to my personal development and, in the long term, my perspective as a Coast Guard officer.

 



More about Sarah.

 

A Good Welcome Back

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo After two and a half weeks or so of leave, early January marks the time when cadets return to the Academy. Unlike normal colleges, where classes start as soon as students return, cadets have a week of “Administration Processing” (dubbed CAP week at the start of the fall semester and MAP week at the start of the spring semester). Although it is tough to come back to the Academy (especially when New London has single digit temperatures in the winter…burr), the week serves as a nice period for cadets to transition back into the military lifestyle. CAP and MAP weeks both have various trainings, on topics from cyber awareness and professional conduct, to meetings with the Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets. During the week, the Change of the Command ceremony is also held, where cadets who will assume leadership positions in the upcoming semester relieve the cadets who held leadership positions the previous semester. The dreaded PFE, which is performed twice annually, is also administered during the week.

 

Additionally, the week usually has a key speech, which during MAP week is an annual address given by the Commandant of the Coast Guard. This year Admiral Papp, the 24th Commandant of the Coast Guard, gave his final address to the corps, as he will be retiring from the Coast Guard in the summer. This served as a bittersweet moment, as it was sad to say good bye to the only Commandant I have known while in the Coast Guard, but was also entertaining to listen to him discuss his lessons learned during his Coast Guard career. His speech articulated the part I most enjoy about MAP week: having a chance to look at the big picture and to be reminded what it means to be a Coast Guardsmen and why I choose this Academy, which sometimes gets lost during the strenuous academics of the semester. Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded why we are all here, and I believe that MAP week serves this purpose as a good welcome back to the Academy.

 

 


More about James.

 

Refreshed and Ready

(Athletics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo It’s always nice to have a break from school, athletics, and the military life, but this past winter break was one of the best breaks I have had. I was able to spend lots of time with my family and friends. I decided not to go on the training trip with the swim team and gained an extra week at home. The weather was not perfect, but it didn’t stop me from being outside and on the water.

 

I started winter break off at the University of Florida watching my brother commission into the United States Marine Corps. The ceremony was great and I was so proud of him and everything he has accomplished in three and a half years. My whole family was there watching him commission, which was very special and a lot of fun. The rest of winter break consisted of days on the beach, the boat, or paddle boarding with friends and family. I had an awesome time at home catching up with everyone doing everything that I love.

 

I am refreshed and ready for a new semester to begin. My schedule doesn’t look too bad and I like all of my professors so it should be an interesting and fun four months. I have a diving meet every weekend this month, but I love being with the team so it’s not like I am wasting a weekend. We have a long weekend coming up, but I have a diving meet on Saturday so a couple of my friends and I are going to stay at my aunt’s house on Long Island and we are going to go into New York City. I got to see my aunt over winter break, but I am still really excited to go to her house and hang out for a couple of days. I am also going to a Luke Bryan concert with my girl friends. That should be lots of fun and I am really looking forward to it! It will be a busy month with the new semester starting and lots of fun on the weekend and I am so excited!

 

I hope everyone had a great winter break with their family and friends. Good luck to the prospective cadets who should be hearing something within these next few months. It’s a great experience and you grow and learn so much, but it goes by WAY TO FAST! Enjoy your senior year and all of the fun activities that come with it. I will gladly answer any of your questions, just email me! Sara.E.Cantrell@uscga.edu 

 

 


More about Sara.

 

Who Knew Time Could Move So Fast

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Mason Photo November was so packed with so many different things. The snowboarding season finally started, and I had so much fun with my boyfriend and his younger brother on the slopes. The dark ages have begun, since there seems to be less daylight than there is darkness, and snowboarding is a great way to get through the winter.

 

I got to spend an evening with some of my favorite kids in the world (the two sons of LCDR Halvorson, ages 2 and 4). We went to the toy store where I bought them each a little rubber toy – a fish for Ike and an airplane for Troy, followed by a trip to Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream for a sweet treat. We then ventured to the playground where we went on all kinds of escapades, across monkey bars, flying on the swings, and anything a little boy’s heart desires. I loved making them dinner and tucking them in at night. They are so sweet! I also got plenty of adorable pictures out of the evening. It made me so excited for the days when I can finally have my own.

 

I also got to help organize a couple of community service events, which is always very fulfilling. One of them included setting up a dinner and distributing food for Thanksgiving at the Salvation Army in downtown New London. It was so wonderful to see people’s faces light up when they walked out with their arms full of food.

 

I am currently trying to work on setting up a new program to replace Big Brother Big Sister, since they lost funding for this region. I’m trying to make a program that is focused on pairing up cadets with children from local schools for mentoring friendships. This is going to take a lot of coordinating, and a lot of help from other people, so I’m hopeful for all of that. We received our “shopping list” for billets over Thanksgiving break, so that seems to be all anyone is talking about these days. It is such a crazy time for us firsties (seniors), because we are quickly approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Who knew time could move so fast?

 

I can’t believe we just got back from Thanksgiving break, and finals are coming up in a couple of weeks, and then we are off to Christmas break already. I am anticipating plenty of fun times to write about in December!

 



More about Allyson.

 

New Beginning

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo Coming back to Academy 4th class year at any point kind of gave me a pit in my stomach. Any break was never really long enough. Even 3rd class year, I didn't really want to come back to the Academy after breaks. This time around, even though I had an amazing winter leave with family and friends, I'm more than ready to come back. Not only am I not resistant to coming back, but I'm actually excited.

 

One of the first things I did this time was to check my schedule for the semester. It's easily my best so far. Whereas pretty much every semester I've been here I've taken at least 20 credits, this semester I only have 17! I'm adding a one credit elective in programming robots in Python, so technically it'll be 18 credits, but that's still lighter than I've ever had it. Not only that, but Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I have ONLY engineering courses (which is what I like) and have off the first two periods and the last period. Basically my schedule couldn't get any better.

 

Another reason I'm excited is the prospect of a new start. Every semester brings the chance to do something new and change things up. I'm starting to learn that the first six weeks and the last three weeks are the most important to any semester, so I want to make an impact these first few weeks at least. I'm planning on getting more involved making videos again (stay tuned for morale videos) because I just got a GoPro, so that will allow me to do some cool stuff.

 

Overall, this semester is going to be great, it's not too hard to see. The motto for this semester is “Work hard, play hard” (play hard responsibly).

 

 


More about James.

 

Back to Business

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer Photo It is the beginning of second semester, 4/c year, and I am actually glad to be back. I’m not excited for the schoolwork and military tasks in particular, but I do know that I will be taking SED (Statics and Engineering Design) and Macroeconomics which I personally find more interesting than some of last semester’s classes. What I am most excited for is being back with my friends, my Coast Guard family, a place with all the seasons, everyday easy access to a gym, and a whole new outlook and new plans that so far seem to be working out well. Sometimes it isn’t where you are, what you are doing, or even who you are with, but it is your attitude toward everything. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you view it. We took the PFE this past week, and I hadn’t consistently worked out in months. I got a 177. For me, that isn’t anything near what I want. I want a 200 minimum, but I knew I did it to myself, and I also know that in a couple weeks or more I can easily bring my score back up; so instead of dreading the remedials I will be put on (morning and lunchtime workouts once a week to retake the PFE) I am looking forward to making improvements and knowing I will be much more in shape after starting water polo. I don’t mean to say that getting under 200 doesn’t matter, what I mean is that when the inevitable happens, there is no reason to stress over it. Also, if you take a less active sport credit your first year at the Academy, find a workout buddy, and make sure you workout multiple days a week, even when you are busy. If nothing more, just do push-ups and sit-ups a few times a day in your room. That way you can easily get a 200 instead of making the mistake I did.

 

Oh, and a quote we were given in a training recently was (paraphrased) “Would you rather party the next four years and work hard the rest of your life, or work hard the next four years and party the rest of your life?” This was comparing regular college to the Academy. It isn’t always true, there are plenty of really great colleges and universities out there, but the idea is that even though it is hard work here, and friends we have in regular colleges may be partying and having a blast, the hard work we do pays off. So wherever you go, whether the Academy, or some other university, take it seriously, have fun too, but the work you put into college will be the basis of your future career. The more work now, the less later.

 

Enjoy what you have, strive for what you want, love those who love and support you, avoid things that pull you down, and decide what you want to do and who you want to be. In the end, it is all up to you. Look to the future and base your current actions on where you want to be. You will get there, even if what you thought you wanted turns out to be something completely different. It just might happen that you thought you wanted to be someone who works with minimal interaction with people, and you end up somewhere where you know everyone so well that you love working with them and doing everything you do. Maybe you want to be in the Coast Guard to save lives, maybe you will end up being a doctor, saving lives in a different way. You may not get what you expect, but working hard for your desires where get you somewhere you love.

 

 


More about Rachel.

 

The GPS Girl

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo It is definitely tough to come back to the Academy after three weeks of relaxing at home and enjoying the company of friends and family, especially second semester. Starting to prepare for another long four months can be stressful, and I know sometimes it’s hard to look past the immediate future. Luckily, the Academy provides fantastic opportunities to listen to guest speakers as well as officers who can help students keep their future in mind, and give them direction.

 

On Friday, the Women’s Leadership Council was fortunate enough to host a luncheon with Karen Jacobsen, also known as the “GPS Girl.” She is a singer/songwriter/pianist from Australia who came to New York to expand her career. Along the way, she auditioned to be the voice of the Australian GPS. After 50 hours in the studio, she had completed audio for Siri (on iPhones) as well as the Australian voice for over 100 million GPSs throughout the world. Ms. Jacobsen used this accomplishment as a platform for becoming an inspiration to others. She gave us her “directions” on how to figure out our futures. She explained how you have to first be willing to “get in the drivers seat” and take control of your life. You have to have a strong will to make yourself better. This is definitely useful as a cadet because you have to want to be here to truly be successful. If you cannot set goals for yourself, you won’t excel.

 

Karen also talked a lot about using your “inner GPS,” which basically means if you are doing something and you are comfortable with it but know you were meant to be doing something else, you should be doing that something else. Using her inner GPS led her to New York, despite her success in Australia. New York was her “destination” and she laid out directions to get there. One thing that I admired about Karen was her ability to “recalculate.” She wanted us to learn that sometimes people make the wrong choice, but a recalculation to get back on track is not a negative thing. The fact that you recognized you took a wrong turn and are trying to correct your course is a GOOD thing, and in fact you will develop more as a person if you do this. You can control your own road map, and being persistent and working hard will get you to the right destination.

 

This semester I will be Guidon for Golf Company, and my main goals are to help my 4/c pass boards, prepare them for this coming summer in the fleet, and to make sure they do not lose sight of their futures. I want to teach them that it’s okay if they fail the first or second time, or if they make mistakes. Those things actually help you learn better, and can sometimes push you closer to the right path toward your destination.

 



More about Lindsay.

 

Nothing Can Stop You

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Greetings again to all who may be reading this.

 

Winter leave has wrapped up and everyone (except those unfortunate to be waiting for flights due to the weather) has returned to the Academy. I must admit that as much as I enjoy Academy life, being home and able to see my family and friends for a couple of weeks was very nice. The routine is beginning to sink in again, even in the two days that I’ve been back. Our Boards, a ten-question verbal exam on everything from cutter dimensions to traditional phrases, begin in about a month. This is our class’s opportunity to earn carry-on, which includes not bracing up everywhere we go and would make college life a little bit easier on all of us.

 

About three months ago, I read a story about a boy who was diagnosed with the same blood condition that I was whose dream was to become a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard. After going through several channels, I finally managed to get in contact with him! I am unbelievably excited and I am trying to arrange a day or two for him to spend at the Academy and see what cadet life is like. This is almost exactly like my situation, so I would like to show that if you want something badly enough, then there is nothing that can stop you.

 

I’m looking forward to playing some intercompany sports this spring, as well as perform with the Conn College band for a couple more concerts, and whatever else may happen this semester.

 

Until next month!

 

 


More about Drew.

 

70-25-5

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo While most of you reading this post are confused by the title, anyone intimately familiar with the Academy would understand it straightway. It is the breakdown of the Military Precedence Average, or MPA. The MPA is the number that determines class rank at the Academy, which ultimately leads to where you will spend the first two years of your career as a Coast Guard officer. 70% of the MPA comes from the academic portion of the Academy, aka your GPA. 25% is based upon your military performance as documented in your Cadet Evaluation Reports. The final 5% stems from physical fitness scores at the beginning of each term.

 

The best way for me to describe the fall 2013 semester was a war between the 70% and the 25%. On the academic side, I am a Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering (NAME) major. Up until this semester, my classroom time had been spent learning the key principles of engineering and taking classes such as Statics, Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Materials Science, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics. Well, nearly all of those fundamental engineering classes disappeared this semester, which, if you didn’t know any better, sounds fantastic. But what replaced them was even scarier: design classes. The NAME firsties were all divided into design groups at the beginning of the year and assigned capstone design projects, the manifestation of all we had learned (or where supposed to have learned).

 

BMy group was assigned to design a containership to carry containerized cargo from Shanghai to New York via the soon to be expanded Panama Canal. It’s a really awesome project, but it’s very heavily involved. The first part of the semester consisted of researching containerships, designing a hull, and ensuring stability and survivability. The second part was spent filling that hull with living quarters, engineering spaces, cargo holds, and tanks, ensuring everything could fit and the ship would float. At the same time in a tandem design class, we were selecting, fitting, and integrating a propulsion system into the vessel. Both of these classes involved countless hours of calculations and important choices, and each class had a weekly paper due to summarize steps of the design process. On top of that, we had the rest of our classes. Needless to say, many long hours were spent in McAllister Hall.

 

On the military side of the house, somebody decided it would be a good idea to make me a company commander, responsible for running one of the eight companies that make up the Corps of Cadets. I was responsible for the transportation and public affairs of the corps, the material condition of the company wing area, the military performance of personnel in the company, leading the company for events like drill and inspection, and keeping the chain of command informed about the company. It was no small task. Fortunately, I was surrounded by great people, both up and down the chain of command, and they provided me all the support I needed to get the job done.

 

It was a tough semester, and there were definitely some low points. I earned some low grades on papers. I was chewed out for not running the company properly. But for every bad moment, there were at least ten great moments. Our containership design impressed the president of a major shipbuilding company. The company achieved the best scores in a uniform inspection. And throughout the semester, I learned a lot. Whether it was about containerships or leadership, it just goes to prove that the 70-25-5 formula is the ideal recipe for producing the future leaders of the United States Coast Guard.

 

 


More about Nick.

 

Almost There…

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer Photo …to the end first semester, to my 19th birthday, to Christmas Break. I have one final left; it’s tomorrow and I already studied for it and am very confident I will do very well.

 

So, looking back at my first semester I can honestly say I often tried too hard and also didn’t try hard enough. I often over-thought things and would stress myself out when trying too hard, and later in the semester just stopped trying quite often which had the same effect, but with a bit less stress. My advice: don’t stress over things but do your best. Don’t be scared, this first year is the year to make mistakes and learn from them. Everyone is very nice and wants to help. Even your cadre, they seem mean and I am still intimidated by many upperclass, but no one should be. Respect them of course, but don’t fear them, they are only a little older than you, and some are the same age and occasionally younger. Initially I wasn’t very social, so I encourage everyone to be, to get to know your classmates within your company and in other companies. Alone time is good, too. Make sure you have some ways you can easily let go and de-stress, I can promise you there will be times you need to be able to relax and won’t have much time. The first year is all gen ed classes, so you may hate them all. I hope you know that ahead of time and can do your best to learn from them, even if you hate that class. If it isn’t for your GPA, or for even learning’s sake, enjoy classes somehow for your sake and everyone else’s so that you aren’t upset and moody all day because of what everyone has to do. Instead find one or two classes you do like and you can at the very least look forward to those and help others, too.

 

Oh, and you should learn to play an instrument. Band is great. Windjammers is fun, can be irritating, tiring and boring at times, but the trips made it worth it for me. Plus I learned a new instrument. You don’t need to know how to play, just please, if you enjoy music, join. But, if you don’t know, come to a practice to see if you might like it. If you know you’d hate it and would be grumpy the whole time you were participating, don’t join because the point of a sport is to have fun, and yes Windjammers is a sport. There is also Concert Band and Jazz Band when Windjammers ends and that is even better in my opinion because everyone, EVERYONE, wants to be there and it’s completely voluntary.

 

Almost There... (Continued) 

 

 


More about Rachel.

 

Settling In: Second Semester

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo After two awesome weeks of leave, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to come back to the Academy and start preparing for the second semester. I think I speak for most of the corps when I say that we all wish we had more time off, but in reality leave was long enough.

 

I had a fun break. I got to go home and see all my friends, see my cousins in Arizona, and I even got to celebrate my birthday and the New Year in Las Vegas. Even though I’m under 21, Las Vegas has awesome stuff to do for people underage. I saw three different shows and visited the Hoover Dam. Then, New Year’s Eve was awesome. I heard that 330,000 people had flown into Las Vegas to celebrate the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, the streets were totally packed. It was a struggle to walk through the masses of people, but just being there to take it all in was worth it. At midnight, I was standing in front of the prestigious Caesar’s Palace Hotel and the Bellagio. Then, all of the hotels started launching fireworks. It was amazing. I could spin around and see fireworks in every direction.

 

On January 1st, I heard about the massive winter storm headed for the East Coast so I had to leave Vegas a day early to get home ahead of the snow. Luckily, I was able to get back to my home in Massachusetts before many of the flights to the Northeast were cancelled. Some cadets were not so lucky, and they are stuck waiting for flights back to the Academy for a few more days.

 

When I got back to the Academy yesterday, I wasn’t too excited about physically being here, but I was very happy to see my friends again and to hear their stories from leave. Luckily, we don’t launch right into classes as soon as we get back from leave. At the beginning of each semester, we have a week dedicated to academic and professional development. This week is the “Midyear Administrative Processing” week or MAP week for short. MAP week is a great time compared to the rest of the semester. Throughout each day, we have a variety of trainings and meetings, but no academics. Each class meets with the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Commandant of Cadets, Assistant Commandant of Cadets, and their class advisor. Individually, cadets meet with their academic advisors, division members, and so on. Additionally, we take our physical fitness exam, have sports practices, and move rooms. MAP week is great because it’s the ideal time to get everything non-academic taken care of before the semester begins.

 

 


More about Hunter.

 

End of my Fifth Semester

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo Wow, it's been five semesters already. As I wind down the semester and get ready to take my last final tomorrow before going on break, I am taking a look back on 2013 and everything I've done. I'm pretty amazed. In the past year alone, I've been to five amazing concerts, traveled to Colorado for spring break, made a lot of new friends (and lost a few old ones), gotten a gold star all five semesters I've been here (with a term GPA of 3.15 or greater), been cadre and an MAA, sailed around New England for two weeks, and got air lifted into a helicopter. I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, but those are what I can think of off the top of my head.

 

With five semesters down and three to go, I'm seeing the world a little differently now. It's not “how much longer until I get to leave”, but “how much longer do I get here”. It's not at all that I'm not excited to go out into the fleet, I'm beyond excited to start my career as a Coast Guard Officer and really work. It's more that I'm realizing how special of a place the Academy is and that I have to make the best of my last three semesters. Every semester has had a sort of “motto” to it that has guided pretty much everything I do. I think for this next semester my motto is going to be “work hard, play hard.” Don't worry, I'm not going to play too hard and get in trouble. I mean to say that I want to work hard on school work on the weekdays and make the best of every weekend. While I'm 21, that does not mean going out and drinking with my friends every chance I get. It means experiencing life to the fullest, sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone to experience something new.

 

Now, I don't only have great things to look forward to, but great things to look back on. This has been a great year, and I'm sure next year will be even better.

 

 


More about James.

 

Our Favorite Week So Far

(Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo The week before winter leave was finals week at CGA. Finals are often thought of as a stressful time of year, but for me and many other 4/c, it was our favorite week so far. During finals week, the 1st Lieutenant (the 1/c cadet in charge of guiding the 4/c) granted us modified carry-on in the wardroom. This meant we were able to look at our food and not have to square it or brace up. In addition, closed door study hours ensued after lunch; these are time periods during which cadets are allowed to close their doors and sleep, or spend the time as they please. Usually, we must keep our doors open and stay awake during the workday, which begins at morning formation and ends at 1600.

 

Despite studying hard, I had a considerable amount of free time during finals. Luckily, this wonderful week coincided with the first large snowfall of the school year. One evening, a friend and I ventured outside and ended up sledding for hours on the hill that runs from Chase Hall to the auditorium. We used Tupperware box lids for sleds, which worked surprisingly well! It was a lot of fun, and a great way to top off the semester.

 



More about Eva.

 

November Update

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer PhotoNovember 18, 2013

 

The middle of the 4th month here at the Academy as a 4/c. I can’t tell if time has gone by fast or seemed to come to a stop. Some weeks zoom by, others drag along. I can watch friends, my roommate, classmates, and upperclassmen and see how very different their moods can be from one week to the next, or even day to day. Most of the things that I was stressed about at the beginning of the semester I have learned to deal with, to get done efficiently, and that if I decide not to worry about them then they usually get done easier and quicker. I also found that your mood here, or anywhere, is entirely your own choice. I was having an awful week, which dampened the mood of my weekend and almost ruined the next week, but instead I said to myself “Forget this, I don’t care if I am in a bad mood, I’m going to smile anyway.” I was in one of the best moods that day.

 

That weekend was the weekend Windjammers went to a Giants game and also marched in the Veteran’s Day parade in New York. I had never been there before so it was a great experience.

 

November 24, 2013 

 

I can get distracted sometimes when writing. Here at the Academy sometimes you have to be ready to jump up and drop everything in order to get something important done immediately. It isn’t too often, but it is important to set priorities and know how to manage time. For instance, the stores here and many paperwork-based offices are usually only open during school hours; which makes getting to them difficult. I have pushed off many things in order to get to a store, pick up mail, or get some paperwork passed (mostly because I am 2017 Class Treasurer).

 

Today is Sunday and this week for me consists of a full day of classes tomorrow, a test on Tuesday and then duty the rest of Tuesday. After that it is Thanksgiving leave. For me that starts at 1800, that’s when the duty section is relieved, as well as when I get a ride out of here. California is further and more expensive than 3 to 4 days at home is worth so I will be staying with a fellow cadet who lives in the area. The break is seriously needed for everyone. I thought senioritis was difficult, but I’m thinking that this is a much stronger. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here, it can just be very taxing and take up all your time, so you just want, NEED a break, a way to get away and do absolutely nothing. I am personally looking forward to Christmas leave. Only 25 days until I fly home. I’m sure it will be strange to be home again, in my room that has been altered by my mom. It will be great to see my family and friends again, especially during my favorite time of year.

 

Oh! That reminds me. For all of you who haven’t lived in a cold place, a place where it snows, it is FANTASTIC. You may not like it, I know many don’t, but even though it is so cold it hurts, it is a wonderland to me, a girl who has only lived in pleasant weather southern California. To actually see it snow when there isn’t snow already on the ground, and to not be skiing or snowboarding at the time and to know that this is where you live; it is simply an amazing feeling. I love to see the seasons change, all the trees change colors and then lose all their leaves. To some it looks dead, but to me it is a wonder of nature, a beautiful sight.

 

So, WHEN you get here, (always think positively, it will actually help you to get where you want to go) remember to focus on the good, not the bad. It is easy to complain like many around you, but I urge you to stay positive, because you can choose to be happy, and there are plenty of great things to see. You just have to be willing to see them.

 

Hope you enjoyed this entry, I hope to write a bit more often in the future.

 

 


More about Rachel.

 

Christmas So Soon

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Season’s greetings to all from the CGA! It’s astonishing how quickly this first semester went by. It seems like yesterday that I was scared out of my mind with my cadre yelling down my back. Now all of a sudden, the first semester is over, and it’s time for Christmas leave. For some of my shipmates, this is the first time that they get to see their families again, which is a big step in their careers. Since I live in Connecticut, it’s less magnificent, but it does mean that I can help people out who need rides to the various airports around here.

 

Finals week has been stressful and relaxing at the same time. I’ve had more time on my hands than I’ve known what to do with. I never really studied hard in high school, and now my inability to do so has been fairly detrimental to my preparation. I’ve sought help from upperclass and my classmates, and they were a huge help during this week above all.

 

I’m really looking forward to seeing my high school friends again, and our schedule lines up with the choir concert at my old school, so it will be nice to see that. I’ll also be able to drive again, which is always a plus. It is going to be harder than ever to return form break after two and a half weeks of normalcy. This is going to be the true test of our class, to see who wants it bad enough to give up everything.

 

Until next year!

 

 


More about Drew.

 

Week Five

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer Photo Week five, and it hardly feels like one week has gone by. Classes are definitely either now routine or have picked up the pace. The military obligations such as clocks, busing and duty are no longer a major bother. I have ample excusals during the week to keep me away from some formations. Windjammers kinda stinks because with the few people who quit I think we are barely 30, if that. We have no real time to learn all the drills and music, we are lost constantly, and yet we practice every day after school. I’m thinking of doing swimming or water polo or something else next year. Next semester I may just do IC sports.

 

With regard to our class council, we have decided on LCDR Millard due to her enthusiasm. Additionally, I am writing an email to create a committee to help organize the 4/c formal dance, which will be held March 22.

 

 


More about Rachel.

 

Project Flexibility

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo This semester, just like last, involves a lot more engineering classes. The longer I'm here, the more focused the classes seem to get in terms of major-specific material. In particular, this semester I'm taking Software Design I. Since I'm an Electrical Engineer taking the computer track (as opposed to systems track), part of my course load involves software design. The class consists of not just learning to program, but the much more complicated process of organizing, planning, and implementing your code over time.

 

The part that makes it all worthwhile to me is our final project, which is called a capstone project here at the Academy. Essentially, we're required to come up with a program we'd like to develop (in C++), a plan to develop it, and then to implement it fully. Overall it's worth about 30% of our grade. Throughout the semester, we've had lots of labs to prepare us for this project, but this one is much larger.

 

You might think that a huge project would be something that would make me NOT interested in doing the work, but it's actually the opposite. Because of the degree of freedom we're given to develop what we want the way we want to do it, I'm much more motivated to work hard and create a great program. We work with partners as well, which is always nice. For our project, we are making a Duty Demands Courage text-based role-playing game. The game gives you scenarios that relate to the core values, Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty, and allows the user to select options as responses. Based on the responses, the user gets points (or loses points). The choices the users make also affects their play later in the game. When completed, our game will have 10 different levels and take about 30-45 minutes to play through one time. I'm really looking forward to finishing this and presenting it! If I haven't said it before, I love being and electrical engineer here at the Coast Guard Academy because it allows me to work hard at what I love.

 

 


More about James.

 

Cool Experiences and Amazing Achievements

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo Hi everyone!

 

So now that 2013 is coming to a close, I thought about all the really cool experiences and amazing achievements I have had the past year since I came to the Coast Guard Academy. I decided to choose five and share them with you – honestly this was really hard to do since there were so many. These are in order of occurrence.

 

1.  Passing boards and getting carry-on was one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever had. Boards are an oral exam every fourth class must take. There are ten questions, usually with multiple parts. The questions are based on a “boards packet” that we are given that is filled with everything from Coast Guard history to flags and their meanings to damage control information. In order to pass, you must get at least eight out of the 10 questions right. Passing boards meant we, as a class, would be basically done with 4/c year. Once everyone passed, we earned the privilege to not have to square our corners and meals, we were able to use Facebook and watch movies, and we wouldn’t have to memorize information for clocks. This is easily one of my top five choices because it marked the end of my 4/c year.

 

2.  My next great accomplishment had to do with sailing. In the spring, I sailed on the Women’s Dinghy Team. On the team, I traveled from Florida up to New Hampshire to compete. All of our competitions were preparing us for the qualifier to go to the Women’s Semi-Finals in Florida. The qualifier was held at Tuft’s University in Massachusetts. Here we faced challenging conditions and sailed a boat that I had never even seen before the event. However, fellow blogger Christi Frost and I sailed our best in our division and ended up in fourth place. As a team, we ended up 8th and therefore qualified to complete in the Women’s Semi-Finals in Florida. After this we spent the next two weeks practicing and preparing ourselves for the event. We arrived to Florida as ready as we possibly could be. After a challenging two days at the event, we did not place high enough to move on to the finals. Even so, this was an amazing accomplishment, I had always dreamed of going to college nationals, and I can’t believe I got to go in only my freshman year!

 

Cool Experiences and Amazing Achievements (Continued) 

 

 


More about Kayla.

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo As the year comes to a close with finals, I have a bit of down time to reflect on the past year. A year ago, I was at a state university, waiting to come to the Academy. Life was mundane—fifteen college credits and not much else to do in New Jersey. The first part of this year was a time of anticipation and waiting, waiting to start the rest of my life. Swab Summer came and went, and it was easily the most amazing and challenging period of my life. Former cadre and upper-class acquaintances kept telling me how Swab Summer was easier than the academic year. In some ways, it was, but in other aspects, it was much harder. My advice for Swab Summer: keep your nose down and stay off of the radar, and you’ll be fine. Many of my old classmates from 2016 are anticipating 2018s arrival as they prepare for cadre summer, and as a 4/c, I can hardly wait to act “normally” in Chase Hall.

 

This semester was very difficult with many different responsibilities. Some days I feel like a part time janitor cleaning up Chase Hall. Other days I feel like a busy college student trying to understand kinetic molecular theory and the meaning behind a dense piece of literature like Emerson’s “Walden Pond”. My life has changed drastically in less than a year. I was just a regular college student with a lost identity, and now I feel I have made a place for myself as a cadet in the United States Coast Guard. Regardless of how well finals go, I’ll be here next semester, learning new things, and figuring out why I was put here. We all know why we came here—to serve the United States of America. Still though, most of us have absolutely no idea what we want to do in the Coast Guard, or even major in! I can’t wait to take Nautical Science I next semester to learn the facets of my hopeful profession: the maritime military officer. In just one semester, we’ll all be out in the fleet learning what real Coast Guard life is all about, and we can’t wait!

 

 


More about William.

 

Finals Week

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo One of the weird things about the Academy is that finals week—supposedly the hardest week out of the year—is also the most relaxing. True, we have major tests worth a large portion of our grade, but the overall environment is much more relaxed than usual. Rather than reciting indoc at clocks every morning, the 4/c sing Christmas carols. Instead of family style breakfast, we have buffet style, which means that there is more types of food available, and also that we can go later in the morning instead of right after formation. This also means we can sleep more.

 

There’s just also a lot more time available. Military obligations decrease dramatically, and with no more classes, there’s a lot more free time. For example, today I had enough time to run, swim, shop, study, and relax—and it’s not even the end of the workday yet.

 

So yes, finals are stressful, but overall? The most relaxing week at the Academy.

 

For any questions about life at the Academy, feel free to email me at Caroline.Miller1@uscga.edu!

 

 


More about Caroline.

 

The Final Push

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo This is the final push till the end! With just under two weeks, work is piling up and the studying has commenced. Multiple assignments are due this week and I have four tests next week. It’s a bit overwhelming, but I am taking one class and day at a time and motivating myself by knowing I am almost home.

 

I am so excited for winter leave it’s unreal. It’s been five months since I have been home and seen my family. I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed and spend time with my family. The warmth of the Florida sun is calling my name and it will be great to relax on the beach and soak it all in!

 

November was a pretty standard month, schoolwork, diving practice, and diving meets. Sometimes it feels like you are doing the same thing every single day and in reality you are, but it’s nice to be in a routine. You get use to being on a schedule and honestly it helps me with my time management skills.

 

Thanksgiving was a great break for the Corps of Cadets. It was a relaxing five days that, like always, went by WAY too fast. I wasn’t able to go home, but I still had a great break with lots of amazing food!

 

I hope everyone has a great holiday spent with family and friends!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 


More about Sara.

 

Standing Duty

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello blog enthusiasts, people who are bored, or otherwise inclined to read this! I am currently sitting in the Cadet Watch Office of the United States Coast Guard Academy standing an overwhelming number of hours of duty on this fine Thursday/study and conference day. Each class stands a certain type of duty. Each of the eight companies stands duty on a rotating schedule, which repeats companies every eight days. For 4/c, it is called Reg Rio, and they sign up for one to three hours per duty day and although this happens every eight days, they don’t stand duty for very long so it isn’t a huge undertaking. For 3/c, my current occupation, we are required to fill out the duty roster of 4/c and then to stand duty that day as well. Except for each company’s duty day, there are only two 3/c signed up while all 4/c are able to take duty. The two 3/c work together to fill out the duty roster and then to stand the entire day in the watch office as the 4/c rotate through. Sometimes when it is a day of class, many 3/c may be asked to stand duty, but on a day when there are no classes, a 3/c may just decide to sit in the watch office and try to be productive while answering phones and making pipes, and ensuring that the 4/c are showing up.

 

The next two years of duty happen a lot less than for the firsties and the 2/c, them standing only about one or two days of duty for the whole year. These jobs involve a lot more responsibility and effort than your typical 4/c or 3/c duty.

 

But anyway, I am standing a lot of duty today because I had to cheer for a football game that was away on a day that I originally had been signed up, so I filled out the duty roster and then got my friend to stand the duty for me and told him that I would stand for him when he had duty. That debt is currently being repaid.

 

Study and conference day is what that separates the last day of class from the first day of finals. It is a day that people can go to bed early or just relax and take a breather. Most of my engineering friends will be studying today but I probably won’t study that much because I validated the final that I was supposed to have on Friday so I can just studying for my Saturday Physics final then. My grades are pretty solid going into finals and I am really going to try to keep my gold star. I think that the hardest final is going to be Physics, a class of which I am not a huge fan. Not that it is not a good subject but the way they have it set up, we go to class three times a week for two hours each time which is a lot. Regardless, I am just excited to be less than a week away from returning to good ole Maryland!

 

Over Christmas leave I am excited to say that I will be spending New Years with some of my best Academy friends. I think that this is just evidence to the fact that we are becoming so close up here in Connecticut that we want to spend our free time together as well. I am very excited to go home and to bake and make snow men. I hope that it snows a lot in Maryland!

 

Before I go, I just wanted to mention Winter Formal! It was last weekend and I had a blast! My friends curled my hair and being a third class, I still had to wear Dinner Dress Blues but it wasn’t even that bad to wear them. I had so much fun with my date and after the dinner (which had a surprisingly tasty vegetarian meal); we hit the dance floor and danced to the live band. It was a good time! I can hardly wait for next year though when I get to wear civilian dresses!

 

I hope that wherever you are, you are having a nice day and that you might have gotten something out of my blog Have a great holiday!

-Your Faithfully Devoted Blogger,
3/c Lucy Daghir
Delta Company
Lucy.M.Daghir@uscga.edu 

 

 


More about Lucy.