Clearly I have not written in a while. It is not that I am lazy, although I may procrastinate a little. I kept meaning to write an entry but found myself without enough time. That is a key thing you learn to do when you come here: managing your time. However, this does not simply mean make sure you do your homework before going to hang out with friends. This means being able to pick and choose what is most important and to let other things go. For example, I set aside a small homework assignment to study for a large exam last night. Luckily, that homework assignment was never collected. My point is that, in order to excel at a busy place like this, you need to get your priorities straight. It becomes necessary to accept the fact that you have to give up a real social life in order to accomplish all that is expected of you.
However, I do not want anyone to think that coming to the Academy is undoable. It is very manageable even during the dark ages (the period between winter and spring break). What needs to be remembered is the reason you decided to come here. Every cadet has earned their position to be here and should never feel sorry for him or herself when their load gets big and times get tough. We are being trained to deal with stressful situations in an environment where you can make mistakes. However, the mistakes you make should never be repeated if possible.
I came here not knowing why other than the great opportunity, job security, and financial stability. However, I am beginning to enjoy this crazy process for what it’s worth. This semester, I am taking two history courses whereas last semester, I was not enrolled in any. I am learning more about the history and relevance of the Coast Guard than I have ever known before. Today, our class took a walk around the Academy and discussed the importance of the artifacts and buildings on campus. If others before me, some my age, can sacrifice their lives for the greater good, then I can survive a heavy workload and a little loss of sleep.
As a fourth class, we are almost done with our first tedious year here and are about to take the Boards exam. For those who don’t know, Boards is an oral test of ten questions pertaining to a fifty page packet of information on the Coast Guard such as history, rates, ranks, etc. Once the entire class passes this exam, we all will be granted privileges beyond our wildest dreams including another more comfortable uniform known as rec gear, the freedom to play music out loud in our rooms, the freedom to look at our food and the freedom to walk on the sides of the hallways among others. The first examinations will be held tonight which means that tomorrow there will be a percentage of fourth class who will already be done with this stressful exam and acting as DJs for their respective hallways. I am taking mine later this week and striving not to fail.
I promise to write more regularly than I have been and am happy to answer any questions. I will write again soon.
More about Melissa.