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cadet blogs

Ready to Take on Challenges

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Quintero Photo It’s currently just after the midterm period of my senior year. Life as a senior is so much different than that of an underclass. If I could describe senior year using one word then it would be EASIER. The course load, especially for a Management major is a much lighter than it has been in the past. After a while you just get into the swing of things and get into that groove and classes come easier. We have a lot more privileges as well that make me feel almost human again. I can go out Thursday nights. I don’t have to be back on Saturday nights, and I could also wear civilian clothing when I go out. I am allowed to have a car on campus too, which makes it easier to get from Point A to Point B.


When you are a freshmen or even before then if you went through prep school, you ask yourself everyday whether you made the right choice by coming to the Academy or not. The reason why underclass question themselves everyday is because it is not easy being a cadet, although it is very rewarding. It is a fact that nothing that comes easy is appreciated in life as much as the things that you had to work hard for. That is why in retrospect as a 1/c, I feel like I have made the right choice by coming to the Academy. I had to make a lot of sacrifices down the road just like everyone else; you have to leave family behind, sometimes your personality, and a little bit of your freedom. Now remember that the Academy is not for everyone, you can be just as successful if not more successful in life doing anything else other than the Academy. But for those that feel like they need order, self-discipline and have the calling to serve their nation should join.


All walks of life show up to the Academy on Reporting-In Day at the end of June every year. There are those that received an athletic scholarship and those that just want to play a sport, there are those whose parents where in the military, those who wanted a free college, those who dreamed about being in the Coast Guard all their lives, prior enlisted, college students that get sick of regular college, those whose friends dared them to attend an Academy, those whose parents forced them to come, and (my favorite) those who thought The Guardian was a great movie. You put all these people together and the end result, no matter where you come from, what your sign is or your story, is an outstanding group of human beings ready to take on any challenges.


More about Carlos.


Songs in the Windy City

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo It’s been a long weekend – in the best of ways! When these three-day weekends come along, such as MLK Jr. Day recently, the corps gets to leave base at our last military obligation (LMO) on Friday, and not return until liberty expires on the day off. Seeing as how most cadets, especially fourth class, usually don’t get to stay overnight off-base on weekends, you can guess how exciting these weekends are!


But, this one was particularly special for me. I had the privilege of traveling out to Chicago, Illinois with the Cadet Chorale. I along with 14 other cadets and the choir director, Doc Newton, left on Friday at 0400 (oye…) and arrived back in New London Monday evening. We met and performed with a high school a cappella group on Friday evening – very talented young men and women, indeed! The next day we had an engagement at Navy Pier, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. It was so much fun to perform for the families walking through the pier, and to have the chance to see the city! (I must say, the Adler Planetarium was very interesting!) Our weekend closed out on Sunday with a performance in the Tivoli Theater, an old venue that was the second American theater designed to show films with audible dialogue. Once again, I felt the thrill of being on a stage, with lights shining around you, and the voices of several devoted and gifted cadets filling the room.


Yes, I am a performance geek… that’s why I love being a part of the music program here at the Academy. Our music is very beautiful, mostly oldies, show tunes, nautical songs and sea chanteys and patriotic selections. I appreciate that while some of our songs require piano accompaniment, many of them are a cappella, meaning no instruments except for voices. It’s a lovely, rich sound, with the challenge of keeping up the tune on our own. The choirs here are such an integral part of my cadet experience; my life would be much too quiet without them (literally and figuratively!).


More about Abby.


Life as a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Major

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bellm Photo As a junior, now in my sixth semester at the Academy, you could say that I’ve gotten pretty used to everything around here. Wake up, morning formation, breakfast, morning classes, afternoon formation, lunch, afternoon classes, workout, dinner, homework, go to bed, and repeat. We could add in a few other military obligations here and there, but for the most part, that’s how your normal weekdays will go. Now, you’re probably thinking, that sounds pretty awful, and you’re right, it could be, but it’s not. The reason is because of the amazing group of people in my major that surround me for the majority of those activities. I’ve been a part of countless sports teams throughout my life, but nothing has quite been the same as our group.


As a NavArch (what we are commonly referred to at the Academy), we take an insane amount of credits. We’re basically taking what should be a five-year program and cramming it into four years. To date, I have over 100 hours completed from only five semesters. For all of those hours, I have completed countless additional hours of work outside of class, all with my classmates in my major, sometimes at 1400, and other times at 0200. While it has been a real challenge, I am so happy, even now, that I chose the major that I did. Those countless hours have been some of the best bonding time that I could have asked for with my classmates. My fellow NavArchs are some of the best people that I have met in my life. Being in this major has provided the roots to many lifetime friendships. Not only in academics at the Academy, but even in my personal life, I know that I can count on them when I’m stuck in a rough spot. They would likely be some of the first people that I would call in a sticky situation. We all talk about how happy and excited we will be to walk that stage at graduation when they announce our name, closely followed by our major because we will know how hard we worked to get there.


On top of all of that, being a NavArch will set me up perfectly for my fleet life hopefully. My desire to be an engineering officer stems directly from my good experience at the Academy in the field. Not only that, but I have gained so much knowledge, not only of engineering systems, but of problem solving and how to think through a system to get the answers that we need. Although it has been a long and sometimes bumpy path, by classmates in my major have had my back the entire way, and that has made it all worth it.


More about Lulu.


The Bittersweet Return

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo It is hard to believe I'm sitting in this chair right now. One second, Swab Summer was in full swing and I am drenched in sweat, trying to make timed objectives so my cadre don't make me and my shipmates do any more planks or push-ups. And then in the blink of an eye, it is the end of the first semester and I am saying goodbye to my friends for three weeks during Christmas break. The weirdest part about the whole situation is that Christmas break was the longest amount of time me and my classmates had not been together for six months. Nevertheless, the break was awesome and flew by so much faster than I had anticipated.


It was great to be able to wear civilian clothes, go to Waffle House (8 times), sleep in my own bed, and even drive my own car. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, and also got to see some friends who go to regular colleges. It was interesting to hear how different our college experiences have been, and how much free time they always had during the week. Although I somewhat resent some of their experiences, there is something about a regimented schedule that I still like about the Academy. While fourth class year is tough and draining at times, I would not trade it for anything. Soon, my classmates and I are going to be able start earning simple privileges like playing music out loud and social networking. The real thing I am looking forward to this semester is the beginning of baseball season. I can't wait to be back out on the diamond and playing the game I love. I am very excited for this upcoming year, and I am more than ready to become a third class. I know I am meant to be here, regardless of the countless sacrifices I have made to be a cadet at the Academy.


More about Colton.


A Month Full of Fun

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo It’s crazy to say it's already February! This semester has been flying by. The past month was full of fun; I went skiing at Mohawk Mountain which was a good time. It was freezing that day, but it was nice to be on the mountain since I had not been there in a year. This past weekend, I went to Mohegan Sun to see a Lady Antebellum concert with Kacey Musgraves and Kip Moore opening. It was an awesome concert and I loved the set up because it felt very intimate with the artists. I also had an away swimming and diving meet, which was our last meet before championships. It will be nice to have two weekends without a meet, but I will still have practice everyday.


This month will be another fast paced month that will slip right by. The corps gets a long weekend for President’s Day, but I haven’t figured out what I am going to do yet. The swimming and diving championship is the last weekend of this month, which I am very excited for, but also a little nervous. It is crazy to think I am almost finished with my third season at the Academy. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! The second class cadets also get their loan at the end of this month. This is a really exciting time for our class because we will have money to buy a car, invest, or/and save for when we graduate. The second class also get to try on their class rings at the end of this month. I CANNOT wait to see my ring! The ring I designed means a lot to me and represents my family who are the people who have helped me most to get through the Academy.


Hopefully everyone is enjoying their schoolwork and weekends! Keep chugging along…before you know it the snow will clear and everyone will start complaining about the heat!


More about Sara.