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Aaaaaand It’s Already Almost Thanksgiving

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Fordham Photo So much happens here. I can’t even keep up. Halloween came and went (I dressed up as Russian guy) and we went trick or treating to Admiral’s house. Then it was November. Then I got wrecked with some more tests. At some point in the last month or so we had an active shooter drill where we all got to hide in our rooms and wait it out while our shipmates pretended to be dying or bleeding out and doing what they do.

 

I have begun dancing ‘Rumba’ with a shipmate. It’s so fun! I didn’t realize that being involved in an activity would just take your mind off things for even a few hours each day. I also started doing inter-company volleyball, which is awesome. We have begun etiquette training as well, eating delicious food painstakingly slowly. I suppose you give some and you take some.

 

My Veteran’s Day weekend was eventful, as I was in Boston most of the weekend with some crew buddies where we saw Macklemore in concert and ate and shopped and talked to people and slept a lot. I came back to the Academy rejuvenated, just to head off to New York for Monday’s Veterans Day parade. It was very cool to spend Veteran’s Day in uniform, very unique, and very fun! My shipmate Chase and I went to the ‘Top of the Rock’ (the observation deck of the GE building, in the center of the Rockefeller center), got asked for directions (we had no idea), got some TGI Fridays and enjoyed seeing people in all types of uniforms walking around with us. I also spend about $20 on chocolate, which was pretty embarrassing (but oh so delicious).

 

There are only so many days to go until Thanksgiving, where I’ll be meeting up with my mom and her side of the family halfway across the country! I can’t wait to almost return to normal society for five whole days. It’s almost unreal.

 

 


More about Savanna.

 

The Semester is Drawing to a Close

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo What an amazing semester; it’s hard to believe that it is drawing toward a close so quickly. The rapidly changing weather of New London is keeping us vigilant as we near finals, changing from jackets to shield the snow in the morning, to no jackets as the suns bakes us during afternoon sports. I am so proud of my class and all of my friends for pushing through these trying times and keeping their goal in mind. That’s what we have to do here. If a class gets too hard, or we’re just tired of working we all need to just stop, take a deep breath and reevaluate what we are doing. In the words of the Chaplain, “It’s supposed to be stressful, but it’s not impossible.”

 

Only one week until I get to see my family and it will be nice to have a break from school. I will miss my friends a lot thought. Last weekend one of my good friends stayed with me in a store at the mall for three hours to make sure I could get my phone fixed. You know you have a true friend if they stay with you for hours in a humid cell phone store.

 

I look forward to finishing this year out strong and proving to the rest of my family that I can pass calculus as well as the rest of these classes. Have a fantastic winter break and good luck with those applications, Class of 2018!

 

 


More about Emily.

 

Pre-Thanksgiving Jitters

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo Hello again! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just a week away; I am so excited to go home to Montana. I haven’t been home since August and I’m so excited to see my friends, family, and the mountains! November has flown by, even faster than October, and it’s unbelievable how the semester is already almost over.

 

This month went well though, I have been keeping up my grades in school and I keep getting to go on awesome field trips with my major. This month we went to a news station in Hartford for Meteorology where we got to talk to a weather broadcaster and we also got to go visit the Mystic Aquarium with my Marine Biology class. Overall the workload is lessening as the semester draws to a finish, and final project/exam-prepping is starting to commence.

 

I just finished my rugby season this past Saturday. We made it all the way to the national rugby tournament and we finished somewhere between 9th and 14th nationally; we’re still waiting to hear the official word. Either way it’s really exciting to be ranked that high nationally! I’ve never been on a team that is done that well before.

 

I don’t know about everybody else, but I am really craving snow. It’s been nice that the weather has been so mild this fall, but I’m also so excited to go skiing, sledding and to just play in the snow. I know my hometown has some, which is another reason I can’t wait for Thanksgiving, but I really hope I’ll have snow to come back to after Thanksgiving leave.

 

 


More about Jade.

 

Thanksgiving Break.

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo Almost done with the school year! Things are winding down so quickly around here! An unbelievable amount of projects and papers are due and everyone has found themselves up to their necks in work. Every year, the same thing happens where the teachers decide to make all the due dates before Thanksgiving break, thinking that it will help us out in the long run. I guess I can’t complain, though! I would much rather get my work done before going on break than having to do it afterward!

 

This last weekend, rugby season officially came to an end. We made it farther than we ever have before and I am so lucky to have had the support from not only my friends and family, but from the girls on the team. I don’t think I would have kept my sanity throughout the season without them! Even though the season ended, it is hard to be sad about it. We were conference champions and then made it to the top 16 in the country for regionals! Bittersweet ending. Now, I am starting to train for water polo, which is difficult to say the least but well worth it!

 

I am so excited for Thanksgiving break to come around. Even though I love being at the Academy with all my friends, it will still be nice to wind down for a bit and take a break before coming in for the last couple of weeks before finals!

 

 


More about Samantha.

 

A Service Member’s First Veterans Day

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo Every year I would sit in my high school and watch as Veterans Day would come and go. My school invited roughly 100 veterans and active duty to talk to the students and eat lunch with them. When I accepted my appointment here I thought, “Maybe one day that’ll be me!” When the invitation to attend this year’s events came from an old teacher I responded without delay. Next thing you know I am standing in front of a class of sophomores being introduced as Cadet Corbett from the Coast Guard. I was worried I would not know what to tell the curious minds that wondered about my presence; how just last year I was in the hallways with them, that tall senior. Standing there, talking became easy. I talked of what the Coast Guard does and how little I have done physically, yet how much I have done emotionally. Committing to a service and going through the indoctrination program alone shows a lot of skills and assets such as random things I picked up in my high school days like discipline, or time management, even stress management. I was able to put myself in the student’s seat and tell them what I would want to hear as a student. I told the ridiculous summer stories, and of course about Eagle, things a sophomore in high school finds mysterious and wonderful. I talked with pride of what I have done and what I plan to do. It was my first Veterans Day as a service member, a day I will not let slip from my memory.

 

 


More about Shane.

 

Autumn Fun

(Academics, Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Beck Photo You’ll hear it a lot from cadets, but it really is true how fast time passes here. Just like during Swab Summer, the days are long but the weeks are short. The days are significantly shorter now that we get to manage our own time, though!

 

Academics are ramping up as finals approach, but October ended on a really high note and we’re all ready to stick with our studies for a few more weeks. Halloween festivities last month were far more enjoyable than I expected, never really being the type to dress up before. Myself and 3 other shipmates in my company dressed up as Ghostbusters (and a slimer!) for the evening’s events. These included a very upbeat dinner together as a corps culminating with a costume contest and trick-or-treating at the Superintendent’s (and her staff’s) houses on campus. There was also a pumpkin carving contest and I went nautical with my company Fourth Class’ pumpkin and carved a square knot into it with a friend’s help. It turned out great! It was such a great night and really brought us together for some mindless fun.

 

That night also turned out to be the last warm night of the year, it’s only gotten colder since. I hope you have some thick skin and motivation to work out to stay warm here! Crew season is over for the winter but I still find myself working out for 1-2 hours every day when I would have had practice. After a full day of classes, I’ve really learned to value the mental break that exercise provides.

 

 


More about Laura.

 

Winter is (Almost) Here

(Academics, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo It has gotten terribly cold terribly quickly. I will be experiencing my first fall this year and though the trees are beautiful I can’t say the same for the declining temperature. A lot of events have been going on in the month of October. We had Homecoming and the fourth class were granted modified carry-on for the week, which was a nice. We then received our midterms and I’m glad most of my shipmates and I are on track. I was also fortunate enough to take a trip to Canada with the Windjammers over the weekend! We went to Sherbrook, Quebec and it was so fascinating to see how cultures can be so different from just a quick drive over the border. The majority of the people there spoke French. Thankfully my fellow Windjammer Abby speaks some French so she was our translator for the weekend. We had some really good food and had a great time bonding as a team.

 

My favorite event in October was Halloween. It is my favorite holiday and the Corps of Cadets went all out for it. We had pumpkin carving contests, costume contests and a wonderful themed dinner. After dinner we were allowed to trick or treat or just hang out and explore the decorations in Chase Hall. It was a very successful day, and it was so great to see all my shipmates’ costumes because most of us had to pull random items from our rooms to put together a costume for Halloween.

 

This semester is really flying by; I didn’t believe it when the upperclassmen said it would but they were right. Thanksgiving leave is just around the corner and I can’t wait to see my family again!

 

 


More about Sydney.

 

Busy Fall at the Academy

(Academics, Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ledzian Photo Fall here at the Academy is fantastic and comparable to winter back home in Florida. The most noticeable exception is the vast range of colors, from a bright yellow to a deep red and every shade in between. The scenery is beautiful. In the last month I have been very busy with school but have also managed to have a lot of fun. I have found that if I make it a priority to have fun on the weekends I will be in a better mindset to tackle the school week. I helped set up the Haunted Clinic for Halloween. This is when the Academy’s clinic becomes a haunted house for the night. I also visited the Cider Mill and bought apple cider and their apple cider doughnuts. I highly recommend both of them, they were delicious!

 

My first cross country season at the Academy is also coming to an end. I have run better than I ever imagined with an 8K personal record of 27:46 and I am very happy as a member of the team. Despite the fun things I do on the weekends, the academics here are very tough and the days are tiring, but the weeks are flying by! I can’t believe it is almost Thanksgiving leave!

 

 


More about Patrick.

 

The Best Major Here

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo The life of a Government major here is…interesting to say the least. The work from classes is usually constant, but for government classes, there’s a two weeks off/one week on policy that tends to be the structure of every class. For example, the last two weeks have been relatively light on homework. This coming week, I’ve got a Preliminary Inquiry Officer Report due for Criminal Justice, a Policy Analysis paper for Public Policy, and a paper on humanitarian crises due, not to mention I have to start my paper on UN peacekeeping, my presentation for Spanish III, and study for my Principles of Electronics Communications Systems exam. The course load could be structured better, but it’s something we government majors have to live with.

 

That’s not to say the major is bad, far from it. Our officers and instructors are the best, hands down. We experience every branch of academics here, and the nicest, best to learn from come straight from the Government major. We have great clubs like Society of Political and International Affairs, Model UN, Mock Trial, etc., and we get lectures from really cool people. Last month, Soledad O’Brien visited, one of the more famous reporters from CNN and now an anchor for HBO Sports. John Nagl visited just last week to talk about counter-insurgency. The talks are interesting, to say the least.

 

I’m only one of a handful of cadets in my class that have the Public Policy/Pre-Law track for our major. Everybody is pretty much International Relations or Security Studies. All concentrations are great, but since I want to be a JAG, it’s my obvious go-to. Someone told me a few days ago, that you’re worthless with a government degree unless you go into law. That’s totally false. The Coast Guard does a ton of policy. Our intelligence fields are among the best in the U.S. We do more international affairs work than everyone thinks. This major sets you up for that.

 

Everyone also says the Government major is the least necessary, or one of the least necessary majors here. I laugh at that, considering we do all of the above. I can think of a couple other majors that have less impact, and less applicability to the Coast Guard. My major is without a doubt the most fun, with the best of instructors and cadets learning about very important things as we head into a world of political uncertainty. It’s the best Satterlee Hall has to offer, and I’m proud to be a Gov-y at the CGA!

 

 


More about Sam.

 

Swab Summer Sentiments

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo (A quick story about my experience immediately after the cadre swap.)

 

Right now I am sitting in my room. Three fans roar around me, slowly drying the sweat that drips from my skin. My boots remain laced around my aching feet. I guzzle down water to quench my thirst and soothe my sore throat. A large sigh escapes my lungs. How do I sum this up in just a few paragraphs?

 

Just as my fingers hit the keyboard, a stampede of swabs storm past my room. I pause and listen. I could recognize their voices any day. Peeking through the crack of my door, I watch in silence as my swabs rush by. They do not know I am here. They have their backs to me, but I could, without hesitation, name each and every one of them nonetheless. It seems strange, to be hidden away all of the sudden - out of their sight, out of their minds.

 

While a part of me revels in the glory of my newfound liberty, my other half yearns to stay and watch. How are they doing? Did they remember what I taught them? Exhaustion tugs at the corners of my conscience as I reflect on the toils from these past three weeks. Despite this, I have the utmost confidence that our new cadre will surpass everyone’s expectations for the rest of Swab Summer. Now that I am on the outside, looking inward, I recognize how being cadre has the capability to teach you lifelong lessons.

 

Within a mere three weeks, as a cadre, I learned how to transform my leadership philosophy and my values into actions. I learned what it meant to truly and wholeheartedly care about the group of people that I was responsible for. My classmates and I developed a new, unique bond as we were thrust into our first Coast Guard leadership roles.

 

The cadre roller coaster of emotions is difficult to interpret. I want nothing more than to see these swabs succeed, and thus know for a fact that I have somehow, in some way, helped shape them into well-rounded, driven cadets. Four years from now, cadre and swab will unite together in the Coast Guard officer corps – and after this experience, I would not hesitate to stand by any single one of them.

 

 


More about Alexis.

 

Bring Out the Bridge Coats

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Doctolero Photo Half way done! This semester is going by so fast. I can’t believe it’s already midterms. Midterm tests were stressful but I definitely had a better study plan then I had last year. As a freshman there was a lot of late night cramming; this year I was able to get to bed at a decent hour. I’m starting to like my courses more and more as the time progresses. I don’t know if I actually like the material, or just like that I’m getting good grades.

 

We just had Halloween. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go get a costume this year; and it's frowned upon and punishable by death to dress up as a “civilian.” So I threw on my Jake the dog T-shirt and some tights and called myself a dog. I could have put on cowboy boots and a flannel, like every other cadet at the Academy, and been a cow girl but that’s what my best friend was going to dress up as. As per tradition, we had a Halloween dinner and trick or treating on Admiral’s hill. It’s not the most exciting way to spend Halloween, but it is a chance to get a short or long if you’re an upper class or carry-on as a fourth class.

 

But as midterm comes and goes, so does summer. The leaves are changing and the weather is getting colder. While some people welcome the winter with open arms, I loathe it. Last year while everyone was having snowball fights and making snow angels, I was wrapped up in a blanket, in my room, far away from the snow. I’m a Miami girl that spends Christmas on the beach. This winter thing is no bueno for me. It feels like no matter how many layers I wear, the cold find its way to my skin. The worse days are the ones where they say we can’t wear a jacket and it’s like 60 degrees. The UOD (Uniform of the Day) god obviously is not from the south or he would understand my pain. This year I’m investing in some long johns, hopefully those will keep me warm on the cold days ahead.

 

 


More about Rheanastasia.

 

The Month Flew By

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo This past month has been very eventful! The month started with Columbus Day weekend and the corps was granted a long. I went to my best friend Kelsey’s house with a bunch of my girl friends. We had a lot of fun watching movies, shopping, and getting loads of rest.

 

Homecoming was also a big event this year and it was awesome to see the graduated classes come back to reminisce on their time spent at the Academy and in the Coast Guard. I was fortunate enough to attend a women’s leadership brunch on Sunday morning with multiple officers. I met a lot of really great people who were so willing to talk about their experiences and give great advice to young cadets. It was a really inspiring experience to hear about the different tracks they took and what they are doing now. I feel like I gained mentors in a matter of hours that will help me throughout my career.

 

My first swimming and diving meet occurred this month, which was fun and nerve-racking. I always freak myself out before I do a dive, but I have to remember to stay calm and focused. The team did really great at the meet and I love being a part of the team. We have the best coaches who are wonderful role models to all of us.

 

Halloween is always a morale booster around the Academy. We were all able to dress up in costumes and eat dinner in the wardroom. They had a costume contest and trick or treating on the hill. It was a great time for all of the cadets and fun to be out of uniform and to see all of the creative costumes.

 

Veterans Day weekend is coming up and the corps gets another long. I have a swimming and diving meet so I won’t be able to leave until Saturday evening, but I am still looking forward to having a relaxing time at my best friend’s house.

 

 


More about Sara.

 

Only in the Boyshouse

(Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo After a long right shoulder reconstruction in the spring and hearing the news that I would have yet another on my left shoulder this fall, I made the decision to volunteer any help I could to the men’s rowing team. Why the men’s team many asked; with a new head coach, Colin Regan, and a shortage of coxswains, the opportunity for me to improve myself as a rower could not be ignored.

 

After a conversation with the head coach I thought my intentions were clear – my primary focus would be to assist the novice squad with their technical progress and fill in as a coxswain if necessary until the position was filled. I made it a personal goal to befriend the varsity coxswain, fellow blogger Peter Driscoll, and ensure every practice I learned from his skill and if possible, challenged his abilities. Not able to row myself I still wanted to “go fast”, a typical rower motto, and I knew this could happen by pushing myself as hard as the guys of the “Boyshouse” every day.

 

At some point in the season Coach Regan decided I would take the varsity boat out on the water more or less to give the rowers exposure to different coxing. This first practice on the water was just as awkward as the spring season had been; a rower would stretch over spilling sweat on me or accidentally spew a string of sweat across my chest. I somehow managed to survive and crash land the boat at the dock, thinking it was the worst practice the men had ever had. My coach looked over at me as I stumbled off the dock and said, “You know you can make a difference to this team”. And then later when I asked the men what they thought about the practice, none of their critiques were about my performance. Looking back, this first integrated varsity practice was when they formally adopted me as “one of the guys”, but it wasn’t for months later that I would understand what an honor it was.

 

Every day we made boats faster and at some point my goals shifted from just the novice crew to the entire team, even the four fastest men. I wasn’t aware of their subtle gestures – inviting me to study in the library, complimenting me as we took the boat out of the water, and offering to carry the coxswains into the boats when there weren’t docks at the race site. By our first major race, Head of the Housatonic, I felt part of the team but didn’t share the same pride in boat speed because I was no longer a rower. For me to reach that moment it took the bow man of the four I raced with at Head of the Charles, one of the largest rowing regattas in the world, to say, “I know you don’t like to hear it, but you are a good coxswain”. Racing Head of the Charles as a rower was the second best experience in my 11 year rowing career: the first was racing October 19th, 2013 as a coxswain. From the moment I stepped into the boat I felt connected to the guys, not just in our hull, but the other Coast Guard boat and the hundreds of other male competitors on the water. Being part of Coast Guard Men’s Rowing has made me mentally tougher, spiritually stronger, and confident that my teammates can accomplish greatness. At the last regatta of the season the novice men who I had started with won gold and bronze in two events, and two varsity boats I coxed brought home two additional third place medals. It has been an honor and pleasure to cox the men of Coast Guard Rowing this fall season. The Boyshouse has redefined my Academy experience and I look forward to abiding by the bro code for another competitive season this spring.

 

 


More about Sarah.

 

My Test Taking Tragedy

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo By now I have been in school for longer than one would ever desire. However, despite the fact that I have spent the last 16 years of my life involved in academics, I am by far the world’s worst test taker. You want to talk about anxiety? I am the queen of quiz crashing and the tyrant of test-taking tragedies. I have yet to learn the secret of balancing time management and discipline. Procrastination, it seems, is my prowess (and awesome alliteration, if you haven’t caught on to that by now). Anyhow, I felt it was finally time to admit my faults and move on. After all, they always say that the first step in change is recognizing what is wrong. If you didn’t know by now, I have switched majors from Mechanical Engineering to Civil Engineering (which is a whole different story within itself that I have yet to attend to). As a result, I am dealing with a whole new set of Academy faculty members on a daily basis. I couldn’t be happier here; the Civil Engineering department contains some of the hardest working, dedicated instructors I have ever met at the Academy. You probably think that I am just desperate for help at this point in my career and am blowing how awesome they are out of proportion, but I know too many other students who agree with me. For example, my academic advisor has not just told me what I need to do to fix my grades, but she also makes me meet with her at least once a week to ensure that I am not slacking off. My midterm grades weren’t catastrophic, but they weren’t outstanding either. These meetings help give me a new sense of responsibility of not wanting to let her down when we meet.

 

Back to the procrastination problem, my Environmental Engineering instructor noticed my test taking struggles and has told me that she is going to have an intervention with me. I cracked up at the joke, but she was actually serious. As funny as the idea sounds, it might just be the thing I need. I am so thankful for her, as well as my other teachers and their patience with me. In all honesty, I do feel silly for still struggling like this so far into my cadet career. I am “over the hill” for goodness sake. Sometimes, people just have a hard time getting over really bad habits. For me, all it takes to fix them is my decision to change and a good butt kicking from some awesome instructors.

 

 


More about Alexis.

 

Midterm Update

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Keeley Photo End of the first semester and still going strong. The cross country season is coming to an end with only two meets left. Everyone’s times are dropping, which is very exciting, but I cannot wait for the winter to come, which will mean skiing almost every weekend. Whether I go with the ski and snowboard club or my sponsor parents, I will find my way up to a mountain.

 

Halloween was very fun, however 4/c year was still more fun just because of the carry-on trick-or-treating on the hill and running through the barracks. This year I still went to the dinner but had a project due the next day so didn’t get to experience much of the excitement.

 

One interesting thing I am seeing this year, as opposed to last, is the openness of my classmates admitting that they are thinking about disenrolling. Last year no one talked about it even if they thought about doing so. The difference is that this year, no one is really watching us and we do not have a great amount of responsibility compared to the juniors and seniors. We are on our own and given more freedom to really see behind the scenes and sometimes, we don’t like what we see. The military aspects can get tiring and tedious and the idea of being at a regular college appeals to us.

 

Despite the large number of people that have considered leaving, not many actually do. There are many reasons for this. Some people realize that they shouldn’t let the little details get to them because they are here for a greater purpose. Others realize that they would still be stressed with work or chores at other schools and recognize that they are in such a good position here with a solid income and much more. Still, some discover that they do not like life in the fleet and believe that they should get out now before things get worse. However, we have only experienced one summer in the fleet so I personally do not think I have a good impression of it yet.

 

I have no idea what my life will be like in three years but I would like to remain in the Coast Guard. I have thought about leaving but I know that I would definitely regret it in the future whether that be one or ten years from now. I would always wonder what could have been. Therefore I am determined to stick it out even when things get stressful. Our class just signed a document saying that come the beginning of this summer, we will have to pay back all of the money that the Academy has given us if we were to get kicked out. Therefore, anyone who wants to leave knows that they have to do it before the end of the year or they will have to pay back a great deal of money.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens after this year and during the upcoming Swab Summer. Sorry to make this entry depressing. Things really are going well and I am enjoying the year.
~Missy Keeley

 

 


More about Melissa.

 

Things Are Changing With the Season

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo I love the fall. The cool brisk mornings, the crisp fresh air, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and hot apple cider. Going apple picking wearing warm flannels and puffy vests, and going hiking and camping while hanging around a campfire. It doesn’t get much better than that! But perhaps the real reason why I love the fall so much is that it signals a change. Not just in the weather, but in the course of things at the Academy. Drill has recently come to an end, the fall rowing season has drawn to a close, and many other things are changing with the season. And this year, I especially sense this change because I am no longer an underclass. My role as a cadet has changed, and I am no longer a follower, but a leader. The 2/c summer of leadership development and the first half of this semester have flown by, and now, reflecting upon them, I see how much I myself have changed. Plainly put, “it’s just cool” to see how the system of the Academy works. Reflecting upon this change reminds me of something I once read:

 

“Do not, I implore you, start asking yourselves, ‘Have I reached that moment?’ Do not sit down and start watching your mind to see if it is coming along. That puts a man quite on the wrong track. When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on. A man does not always say to himself, ‘Hullo! I’m growing up.’ It is often only when he looks back that he [realizes] what has happened and [recognizes] it as what people call ‘growing up.’ . . . And what matters is the nature of the change in itself, not how we feel while is happening. “ (C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity)

 

That pretty much sums up how I feel. I did not, throughout the course of the summer “watch” myself grow up, it simply happened. And that’s what’s so amazing! I ordered my class ring, I’m beginning to do some car shopping for next year, and I’m planning out my life after the Academy, a time which, quite often feels as if it is never going to arrive. But it is coming! I have grown up, I have changed, and I am continuing to learn and change and grow into the leader and officer that the Academy set out to create in me.

 

And that is why I love the fall.

 

 


More about Luke.

 

Columbus Day Weekend in NYC

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo This past Columbus Day weekend, two friends and I decided to spend a day in New York City. It was an impromptu trip; we booked our tickets the night before, packed up our civvies, and headed into the Big Apple “Ferris Bueller-style”, with one bag between us and a day full of potential. We walked around Times Square, attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, had dinner at Chipotle (I mean, what else do you go to New York for?) and ended up at Central Park. It was a great mini vacation!

 

We were all aware of the conspicuousness of military members in public areas, and the resulting importance of putting our best foot forward. Around the New London area, people are fairly used to seeing uniformed cadets roving downtown or at the local mall, but in New York, we stuck out like a sore thumb. On the short walk from the train station to our hotel room, we were stopped by several people who were curious as to what service we belonged to, or who just wanted to offer a smile. Everyone was extremely supportive, and it was exciting to talk to them about the mission of the Coast Guard, or even just explain how the government shutdown has affected Academy life. We got thanked for our service a lot, which was especially humbling because as a 4/c cadet, I haven’t had a chance to serve in the fleet yet.

 

Back at the Academy, the academic year is definitely in full swing. As midterms approach, my classes are ramping up and there have been a good number of (almost) sleepless nights, but what they say is true: the days are long, but the weeks fly by. Looking back, I can hardly believe we’re already at the end of the first quarter.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and please feel free to contact me at Eva.M.Sandri@uscga.edu with any questions!

 

More about Eva.

 

October Came in Like a Wrecking Ball

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Fordham Photo Holy cow, how did I make it to the end of this month? Midterms demanded more time than I had – imagine being given 36 hours of work to do in 24 (don’t forget to factor in sleep!) I’ve been working on my time management more and it’s helping significantly. But my work is constantly ahead of me, keeping up is tough enough; I can’t even grasp the concept of getting ahead.

 

My midterm grades showed that I am not a complete failure, but there is definitely room for improvement. My 2.8 GPA was no shocker, however strange due to the fact that I was a 3.9 student in high school. (My mom got mad at me. “Sorry for taking 19 credits, Mom.”) What can I say? It’s not high school…

 

Update on the foot: No more crutches, boot, cast, anything! It’s great being back in uniform this month! ODUs and Trops and everything are exciting! (At least right now.) Even the blisters are better than crutches. We’ll take it!

 

One thing I miss a whole lot that I didn’t expect to miss are my pets! My dog specifically. I am participating in a community service event this weekend that will give me a chance to play with dogs from an adoption center. Who would pass up snuggling 120 dogs? Not this kid. Moral of this story: If you plan on coming here, love your pets because you will just want to die when you are deprived from puppy kisses for several months. One tip, don’t buy a depressing dog book to read in your spare time because that’s what I did and I was just a mess.

 

This is really random and unorganized.

 

It’s strange being out of the loop, it’s kind of like the Academy becomes its own little world and you don’t hear about what happens outside of the gate. So, news comes and goes but it doesn’t seem like we’re ever really affected by things, apart from the government shutdown of course.

 

There was just so much that happened this month I can’t even put it all into words. I’m just chugging along!

 

Go Bears!

 

More about Savanna.

 

Hockey and Rugby and Snow. Oh my.

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo I cannot believe how fast this semester has already gone by! It feels like just yesterday I began third class year, but here I am and it’s already almost Halloween and midterms have already passed.

 

It has been a good, yet crazy, month. I’ve had hockey and rugby along with school to keep me way too busy. I have hockey practice most mornings from 0500 (which means a 0400 wake up!) until 0600, breakfast, classes, and then rugby after school. Surprisingly though, being so busy has been beneficial, and at midterms I received the highest GPA of my time here yet. I think having so many things going on has kept me focused and motivated.

 

Although my hockey season is just beginning, the regular season of rugby is about to end. However, we are undefeated and because of this we are going to playoffs as the number one team in our conference! This means that our rugby season could extend into December, thus the rest of the semester. My team is all hoping for the chance to go to nationals, which is in Florida this year.

 

Amidst all the chaos, I’ve still found some time to devote to myself and my friends. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time this month with my sponsor family, who I am really close to. We went to Providence a couple weekends ago to see this awesome Jack-O-Lantern display at the zoo. I’ve also taken on a new church, in Norwich with one of my best friends. She knew the pastor and his wife prior to becoming a cadet. They are a young couple from South Africa and on Sundays we normally spend time and have lunch with them after church. It’s a good time! Plus it helps that the pastor is a diehard rugby fan!

 

As October comes to a close I am looking forward to more winter-like weather (the first snow!) and to go home on Thanksgiving leave at the end of the month.

 

More about Jade.

 

Extracurricular Activities

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This weekend, I traveled to Washington D.C. with the Model United Nations Team for the National Model United Nations conference. It was a unique experience—working with students from around the world to come up with solutions to real world global problems. It was also the time I was out of uniform and in the public in civilian clothing, so it was a strange feeling. However, we did wear our uniforms on the first and last day of the conferences, and many people came up to us and either asked questions or gave their thanks. The first building we walked into, a Commander spotted us and struck up a conversation, and we knew someone in common over the Academy. The Coast Guard truly is a tight knit service.

 

We took a tour of the U.S. Capitol before the conference and were prompted to see the actual U.S. Senate and House Chambers—something a lot of people don’t have the chance to see. 4/c John Roddy, another 4/c blogger, was also there, so you should check out his blog: he’s really into Model UN.

 

Last weekend, I went out to see the comedian Jim Gaffigan at the University of Rhode Island. It’s good to get out once in a while and get some laughs in, especially during a stressful time like midterms. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to set aside some time to decompress.

 

Midterms were stressful and are finally over with, and I did pretty well, although there’s always room for improvement. There’s a lot to do before Thanksgiving, and I keep telling myself that it will be here soon. Everyone in Golf Company is looking forward to the Veteran’s Day Long Weekend, and I hope to go to Boston. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

 

More about William.

 

Feels Like Home

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo I have been at the Air Force Academy for almost three months. I am now past the point of adapting and adjusting to the unfamiliarity involved in being an exchange cadet. Everything around me is starting to feel like home. I have accepted Colorado and the Air Force Academy and they have accepted me. I love seeing the mountains every morning, knowing that the mountains lie to the West. I love my room even with the suspicious old carpeting. Even noon meal formations are bearable because every time my roommate and I go to the formations we are laughing. Marching is more fun with my marching buddy and same goes with walking to and from classes with people in my squad or people in my classes. It is even comforting to be in my room by myself and hear a voice in the hallway and automatically know who the voice belongs to. It is such a blessing to have been able to come to the Air Force Academy for a semester and I know when the day comes for me to say goodbye, it will be very bittersweet. It will also be very hard to adjust back to the CGA when I get back to New London in January. I have definitely become accustomed to the terminologies here and I always have to correct myself when I am talking to family or friends back at the CGA. It is interesting to see how people are like sponges and we mold ourselves to our surroundings once we are at a location for a period of time.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the semester, I am excited that I will be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family and be able to show them my new home. I cannot wait for my sister and my mom to come out for the beginning of my Thanksgiving break and then I get to see two of my friends from the CGA for the rest of the week! I am looking forward to getting back in touch with the life I left when I came to Colorado Springs and hope when I see them, I will be able to slowly readjust and come to the realization that I will have to go back to CGA soon. It is definitely a lot stricter at the Coast Guard Academy, so coming to the Air Force Academy is a relief and very much like a vacation.

 

Now that is enough talk about the far future; more about the near future. I will be jumping out of an airplane tomorrow! It will be my very first time ever skydiving and parachuting. The scarier part is that I will be doing everything solo. We have had a bunch of training leading up to this day and, now, tonight we attend the “Last Supper,” a tradition in the airmanship program. It is a joke that the students will not survive their first jump so they might as well end with their best meal the night before. After this Last Supper, all that is left is strapping in and going up in the air. Wish me good luck!

 

 


More about Ellie.

 

Fourth Class Roddy Goes to Washington

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Roddy Photo This month has been a tough month for everyone. Midterms, CER’s (military performance evaluations), cadet drama and the unrelenting flood of homework have kept everyone from 4/c to 1/c busy. But as 4/c, we’re also responsible for running trash orderlies, doing twice-daily clocks, taking indoc (military knowledge) tests, and squaring our food and corners on top of everything else, so it’s not surprising Chase Hall can become a little stressful.

 

Fortunately, this month I was given my first real opportunity to travel away from Academy outside of liberty when I went to Washington D.C. to compete in a Model United Nations conference with three other cadets, including fellow 4/c and blogger Will Glick. The trip proved to be a fantastic time. We attended the opening and closing days in uniform, and the amount of support and thanks we received from people recognizing the Coast Guard was truly humbling. It’s also a reminder that we must always be aware of our actions, and that we are direct representatives of the Academy and of the entire Coast Guard. And while we met many people who understood and appreciated the Coast Guard and its missions, we also met many who did not, and so it fell upon us to explain what we were as cadets, and what the larger role of the Coast Guard is. My favorite quote came from someone in the elevator who asked us “So are you like a branch of the Air Force?”

 

At the end of the trip, we did not manage to win anything, but to bond with the other cadets was a terrific experience, and Will Glick and I went from being acquaintances to close friends over the course of the weekend. To represent the Coast Guard gave me a sense of pride and served as a reminder of why I chose the Academy; to get to debate and do something I genuinely enjoy gave me an opportunity to clear my head and de-stress; and, finally, making new friends that will carry over when I get back to the Academy made this a fantastic and incredibly worthwhile weekend.

 

More about John.

 

My Journey to the Academy

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Belanger Photo Greetings from the Academy! I recently reflected on my current journey to becoming an officer in the United States Coast Guard, and I can say it has been one difficult challenge. So if you read my bio you know I am from a Navy town, my cousin is a graduate of the Naval Academy and here I am at the Coast Guard Academy. Well, that is only the short story. After looking into colleges in my freshman year of high school, I thought I wanted to go to the Naval Academy. I grew up surrounded by Navy chiefs, my dad was a FC1 (Fire Controlman First Class) in the Navy and like I said before my cousin was a graduate. Funny thing is they all told me to look into the Coast Guard. Let me say, I instantly fell in love with Coast Guard and later in love with the Academy. I visited the campus the summer of my junior year and knew this was the school for me. I applied early action and waited. Finally, my package came in and I got the bad news that I had not been accepted. I was crushed. Luckily, about two weeks prior I had gotten accepted into the university located by my house so I had a fall back. Then at the beginning of May I went to the Daytona Beach National Drill Competition, and lo and behold there was a little Coast Guard Academy table. Even though it was a three-day competition, my path never crossed with the man running the table. The last day we were there, I asked the women in the booth next to the Academy’s and she said, “There he is!” I turned to meet the man who would kick-start my dreams of becoming a Coast Guard officer, standing there holding a hot dog. After talking to him for about an hour (with my friends talking me up) he told me about the Prep Program at the Academy. A week later he called and told me I had been accepted to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program (CGAS for short). I was so happy; I was able to tell everyone at my high school graduation that I was going to go to the United States Coast Guard Academy!

 

July 25th 2011, I reported to the Academy for the CGAS program; unfortunately not expecting anything that was going to happen. Think of Swab Summer condensed into three weeks, now add a 3:1 cadre ratio and just multiply it by 300. This is what I was experiencing; I didn’t know if I would be able to make it. But three weeks later, I finished and was flown to the great state of Alabama. Now, I had never been to Alabama before and let me just say I have never seen so much nothing. After the bus picked us up from Birmingham, we began the long drive to Marion Military Institute located in Marion, Alabama. I lost cell service within the hour and I was nervous about what to expect. After becoming a cadet of the corps, classes soon started and the year took off. I had a different experience at Marion than my fellow shipmates. I was placed in a company where it was primarily West Point and Air Force preps with just one other CGA prep. I have to say it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I had an amazing roommate that is now an Army cadet in the Class of 2016 and I met friends that will be in another service that I will remain friends with for years to come. We had a blast and we always had each other’s backs. We knew the goals of one another and we all strived to make sure the goals would be accomplished. In March of 2012, I received some hard news. We found out that the Academy was expecting above a 3.0 to receive an appointment. I only had a 2.7 and I quickly saw my dream slip away. However, at the end of March after leaving lunch early I returned to my room to troll Facebook when one of my friends came in to hug me and asked if I was ok. I didn’t know what he was talking about, he had said that most of the preps received their appointments and were celebrating but he had not seen me and thought I hadn’t gotten mine. I checked my email and saw the message that would make me fly out of my seat hitting my head on the top of the doorway. I had gotten my appointment to the Class of 2016! The rest of the year was bright and I was ready to report on June 25th to begin my new journey of getting through the Academy! I can’t wait to have a follow up story for my 1/c year!

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate! Nathan.D.Belanger@uscga.edu 

 



More about Nathan.

 

Work Hard, Play Hard

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo Every weeknight, I face a constant struggle between getting my homework done… or doing something else. Between the guitar on my desk, the internet on my laptop, the people in Chase Hall, and everything else, it’s easy to get distracted. It doesn’t help that crew ended—whenever I have additional free time, I usually waste more of it. Luckily, crew workouts will be starting up soon and I have a lot of club activities going on, so I’ll be getting busier again.

 

One of the clubs I’m starting to get more involved with is the International Ballroom Dance Club. I never really thought I would join it, but over the summer one of my friends got me interested in swing dancing and I decided to try out the Ballroom Dance Club. While I’m definitely not the most graceful dancer, it’s a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from rowing and homework and general military obligations.

 

I’ve also started taking advantage of the surrounding area. For example, over Columbus Day weekend I went up to Rumney, New Hampshire with some friends to camp and rock climb. Rumney was a beautiful area and we’re already talking about going back. I’ve also started to walk around New London more, mainly to restaurants. There are definitely some really good places to eat downtown—one place, Northern Indian Lights, has some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted.

 

Leaving Chase Hall and doing different activities is great—it allows me to focus more when I actually return so that I’m actually somewhat productive.

 

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at Caroline.Miller1@uscga.edu!

 

 


More about Caroline.

 

My Many Families

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo I’ve always been used to living with a small family. In the most limited terms, my nuclear family consists of only my mom, my dad and me, and the extended family living near us back home in Georgia is a small group of my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and grandmother. With the rest of my extended network scattered across the country – from Washington, to Illinois, to Utah, to Hawaii, to Maine – our opportunities for face time have always been few and far between. I never experienced sibling squabbles or sibling bonding, massive family reunions or series of weddings, graduations and baby showers, or even a Christmas dinner of more than ten people. Rather, I grew up forming deep attachments to a small number of people close to me, and as a result, I grew accustomed to frequent visits, exchanges of love and support, and giving of gifts, favors, time, and attention to those that I loved; it sustained us all.

 

Coming to the Academy, then, took me entirely aback. I suddenly found myself part of a new company family of 100, a class family of almost 300, a corps family of 1000, and a Coast Guard family of many thousands. However, the obligations of a good family member, to me, did not change; I still owed my time, my affection, and my devotion to all my new brothers and sisters of the Coast Guard, and I found that they gave the same in return. Whether it was helping a shipmate with their Calculus homework 4/c year, accepting help from a stand-in on an OOD day, or commiserating with a classmate over how much work we have on any given night, the dynamics within the corps are consistently fraternal, compassionate, and supportive.

 

To my delight, my integration into the new families of the Coast Guard and the corps have not meant distancing myself from my other family at all; each accepts and values the other as each has accepted and valued me. Nothing warms my heart more than watching my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins interacting with my friends and companions from school. To see that my family from home is willing to immerse themselves in my new world, and that fellow cadets will take them in like they took me in, makes me feel at home even far from where I grew up. I have learned, from my family in Georgia and my family in here at CGA, to form close ties with a vast array of people, and I couldn’t be happier with the companions I’ve met over the past three years.

 

 


More about Jessie.

 

My Biggest Supporters

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo My time at the Academy has been everything that I thought it would be when I applied here almost four years ago. I never would have been able to get where I am today if it wasn’t for all of the supportive people in my life that pushed me to achieve my goals. My parents and sisters were my biggest supporters in life and I owe all of my success to them. They helped me apply for schools and figure out that the Academy was the right choice for me. I always knew that they were my biggest supporters when my dad offered to coach my basketball team in middle school just so that my parents could watch me play every game. I have experienced so many positives with my family, but there always are hard times that come along too and my parents have always helped me get through all of these moments. When my two best friends at the Academy left last year they knew exactly what to say and they helped me find the positive in that situation.

 

I never could have made it this far in my cadet career if it wasn’t for my family. My family does not only consist of my parents and sisters but also all of the teachers and coaches that have molded me into the person that I am today. They are the reason that I am who I am, and I am very thankful to have met each and every one of them.t

 

 


More about Brianna.