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cadet blogs

The Coast Guard Family

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo The Coast Guard family is something I began to notice about a year ago. When I first became interested in the Coast Guard Academy, I saw how everyone worked together to not only complete Coast Guard missions, but also to support one another on a more personal level. It is obvious at the Coast Guard Academy that people care about one another much more than at any other college. Here everyone knows each other’s name, and the support network between professors, coaches, and mentors is unmatched. However, I don’t think I really understood the depth of the Coast Guard family until the weekend of Homecoming.

 

On Homecoming Weekend, members of class years in multiples of 5 returned to the Academy. There was a lunch with members of the class of 1963, it being their 50 year reunion. In an effort to find a table where I wouldn’t have to square my meal and could look at my food, I found myself sitting beside Captain Bates and his wife. He asked me about what I thought of the Academy so far and what had made me decide to come here. He told me stories of when he was here and that he had come to play football. Later in our conversation, he told me that he was the first commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter Bear. It shocked me to realize that he cared to hear about my 4/c life so much even though he had so many better stories to tell.

 

Later on, at the Medallion Ceremony, Admiral Papp described Captain Bates as a close friend and gave him a hug. It really amazed me that the Commandant of the Coast Guard hugged a man that I had sat next to at lunch. It really proved to me what a family we have here in the Coast Guard.

 

 


More about Sarah.

 

Getting Involved to Stay Sane

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo I recently joined the joint USCGA/Conn College Concert band, and it’s really a lot of fun. It’s a mix of professional players and students from both schools. It allows me to be off base twice a week, which is something most underclassmen don’t get to do. I’ve actually found that getting involved in things is almost as important as academics, because it keeps me sane. This place will make you crazy if all you do is focus on academics. For example, I was stressed about my last Statics and Engineering Design test, and I was torn between going to band or staying in Chase and studying the night before. I decided to get off base and go to band and I ended up doing my best work on the last test! I’m living proof that you will lose your mind if all you do is school. They take well-rounded applicants, and they expect well-rounded cadets. I feel that getting involved is the key to success, and more importantly, mental success, at the Academy.

 

Otherwise, November finds me in the lull of the first semester. Midterms long gone, and the second round of tests complete, I am left with much time on my hands. Everyone is excited for Thanksgiving leave, and I sure know I am. It’s getting to the end of the semester, and Regimental Staff positions have just been announced—my firstie division head is the new Regimental Executive Officer! Loose ends are tying up as the first semester is beginning to come to a close, both militarily and academically.

 

I have not been home since June, and I believe going back will be very strange for me. It may sound tacky, but I feel like this place is more of my home than where I am actually from. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 


More about William.

 

Perspective

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo “Jessica, you are an IRONMAN!” The announcer’s voice blared over the sounds of music, as people li¬ned the streets to cheer on the finishers of the 2013 Ironman Cozumel. “Si te puedes!” and “Felicidades!” they cried – but at the moment, my heart was sinking, and I felt that congratulations were not in order. The clock above the finish arch read 12 hours 13 minutes; not only had I missed a top finish in my age group by a long shot, but I’d also made no improvement on my time from Ironman Florida in November 2012. I was sulking as I dragged my worn body along the route to collect my finisher medal and race shirt, grab my gear and head out. Was all my training worthless? Was there any point in my continuing to participate in Ironman if I saw no improvement – if, in the end, I just wasn’t that good at it?

 

I hobbled over to the ferry pier to catch the last boat back to Cancun, where I had a flight early the next day. My family and my teammate, 3/c Sam Roets, were waiting there. It was all pats on the back and more congratulations, until I mentioned my disappointment. It wasn’t until reviewing the day, and the race, with Sam – for whom this was his first Ironman – that everything started to fall into a bit better perspective.

 

Sam had finished in 11 hours 33 minutes – for him, a somewhat disappointing race as well. Getting landed with flat tires three separate times on the bike course held him back for over an hour; at the pace he was riding, without the delay he should have finished in 10 hours 15 minutes. However, as he described it, his disappointment was short lived, and as we talked over the course, it helped me realize the extent of my self-criticism was not only unnecessary, it was detrimental. There are some things you can’t justify getting “bummed out” about; it takes up too much energy, and it spoils the gift. Spending your Thanksgiving in Cozumel and successfully racing in an Ironman are such things, no matter how you judge you final performance. In the end, regardless of finish time, we had one heck of a day: we woke up at 0430; we got in the water at 0700; we swam 2.4 miles; we biked 112 miles in the blazing sun, against a headwind, with the occasional rainstorm; we ran 26.2 miles battling heat sickness, exhaustion, and yet another downpour; and when the sun had gone down and the city lights had come on, we crossed the finish line and earned the title “Ironman.” It’s not something to dismiss lightly.

 

Ironman in itself is a test of physical endurance, of mental strength, of focus and of will, and of competitive spirit. Ironman Cozumel 2013, for me, was all of those things exaggerated to the max. I knew going into it that I was undertrained, an inevitable result of the Academy schedule. Whereas an Ironman athlete is supposed to peak at about 28 hours of training per week, with a Senior Thesis, busy division, three clubs to manage, and some semblance of a social life, I was lucky to get in 14. I didn’t want to admit it, but going into it, I was scared. Unlike Ironman Florida, Cozumel was said to be a particularly difficult race. It ended up being peculiar torrent of emotions, pain, and power that’s almost inexplicable.

 

Perspective (Continued) PDF 

 

 


More about Jessie.

 

Yet Here We Are

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Well here we are again! Hello to all reading this!

 

Having just returned from Thanksgiving leave, I find myself both rested and exhausted at the same time, which confounds my logic. However, there are only two and a half weeks left in the first semester of my fourth class year. Only a year ago this seemed almost unthinkable to have gotten this far; yet here we are, with classes wrapping up and preparing for the first round of final exams. I think that as we get closer, it will probably become harder to get motivated about the grind.

 

Since the last time I wrote, it seems like so much more has happened. The Windjammers represented the Coast Guard Academy in the New York City Veteran’s Day parade and played at the Giants-Raiders game the day before. These experiences were truly unique and I have had some of the best times of my life while off on these excursions.

 

Thanksgiving leave was a little strange for me, since I live in Connecticut. I have been able to go home on many occasions, but I have not been able to drive or wear civilian clothes yet. Being able to see my friends and visit my old high school was great, as was getting to be a little bit more like a “normal” person.

 

I’m getting excited for the winter formal coming up. The formal is an event that involves a large portion of the cadet corps eating a very fancy dinner followed by a night of dancing. I enjoy events like this, so I am anticipating a great experience as I get to hang out with my classmates outside of the military atmosphere of the Academy.

 

Until next time!

 

 


More about Drew.