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cadet blogs

Enjoying the Little Things

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hoburg PhotoAs the 2nd semester of 4/c year rolls on I have learned one very important thing: that it is essential to find the joy in the little things in life and not take yourself to seriously here. First off, I recently bought one of those tiny remote controlled helicopters and it was probably one of my best investments I’ve made since I’ve been here. It’s this little tiny helicopter that’s only about six inches long but there’s nothing I love more than taking a break from homework to fly it around my room and land it on my roommates head while he’s listening to music in his headphones focusing extremely hard on his homework. Or the other day it was Valentine’s Day and my roommate came across some fake snow stuff that started out as a powder and after you add water to it, feels like real snow. We took a whole can of that stuff and while one of our shipmates wasn’t in his room we covered his desk in it and drew little hearts out of red sprinkles. It didn’t cause any damage or anything but it made for a good laugh and it’s the little laughs like that that make the days pass much easier.


A few weeks ago I was in the ward room (dining room) about to sit down for lunch, and the cups they use are these nice glass cups that are always left upside down when they set the tables. That day somebody came to where I sit, took one of the glass cups and covered the top with clear saran wrap. He must have done this very carefully cause there was no way to tell it was there. As I sat down perfectly braced up like a good little 4/c I innocently picked up my glass as the pitcher of water came around. Upon my attempt to fill my glass with water, all of the water and ice bounced off the saran wrap and spilled all over my plate. Luckily missing my uniform for the most part. I, and the rest of the upper class at my table, couldn’t help but die laughing. It was so funny. Finding the humorous side of the little things in life can help you get through any stressful situation.


Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you might have: Take it easy.


More about Adam.


New Opportunities

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo I love how the Coast Guard Academy offers so many new opportunities here. Within the last month, I have been able to learn and experience so much. I got to go to New York City with APAC (Asian Pacific American Council) for the Lunar New Year’s parade. I got to learn a lot about the tradition behind the New Year and the trip also taught me a lot about leadership, communication, and organization involved in planning a trip. I was able to go again with APAC this past weekend on to ECAASU (East Coast Asian American Student Union) at Duke University with LCDR Hickey, and three other cadets. It was a really fun and educational trip and we, as cadets at the Coast Guard Academy, got to experience being a part of a bigger community with students from over 70 different schools. It was a great time to meet new people and also to run into old friends as well.


At the Academy, I have also been able to try a new sport. I just started up women’s lacrosse for the spring semester and I love it so far. It is a completely new experience for me since back home in New York City public high schools do not offer lacrosse so I only saw people from Long Island and upstate with lacrosse sticks. The first couple of weeks have been hard because I needed to learn the basics of throwing and catching, but the team is really friendly and helpful. It is strange to hear that a college allows people, like myself, to learn a sport from scratch.


I am looking forward to my upcoming summer as well and what I will get to learn during my third class summer experience whether being stationed or underway. I am grateful for all the new opportunities the academy has to offer.


More about Ellie.


My Second Semester

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Meyers Photo With almost half of the second semester of my first year here gone, it seems like time is flying, and I’ve heard it only goes by faster. On one hand, I don’t want that time to just pass by, but on the other hand, this is fourth class year, and I know that once I’m done with this, life will get a lot better. Already the general atmosphere is more relaxed than from first semester. It’s not that we don’t have the same amount of work or the same expectations; I think it’s just that we’ve gotten better at doing our jobs so it seems easier.


As an example, before morning and afternoon meal formation, the 4/c from each company are required to cover clocks in their respective wing areas. That entails knowing the next three meals, movies playing at the local movie theatre, Coast Guard sports, and days to go until big events and then yelling that indoc along with the time to go until formation. While first semester, this seemed like an awful task that was pretty difficult to do well, but this semester, I haven’t had a single problem.


It seems everything is going that way. We’re treated more like 3/c and less like swabs every day and it won’t be long before we actually get carry-on. We still have to do those 4/c duties, but they are really just part of a routine now.


As for school, after adjusting to the workload last semester, it’s evident what it takes to succeed here in terms of academics. I’m doing even better this semester managing time and work than last and I’m sure that only gets better as time goes by. Overall, this has been a pretty good semester and I’m looking forward to both 3/c year and the cruises I get to go on this summer.


More about James.


The Dark Ages...

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo Despite the gloomy weather that usually is part of the New London climate, the sense of what many cadets call the “Dark Ages” is still among us. Most weekends, all I want to do is sleep during the day, and maybe open a book to study. When all you do during the week is stay up late to get the homework done you put off during the weekend, the last thing anyone wants to do is schoolwork especially when there are better things to be doing.


Academics have a strong grip on a lot of us. My first round of tests did not turn out the way I wanted them to, even with a lot of effort being put into each subject. I got really discouraged, and for the first time since being here, I thought about quitting. I was upset that I put so much time and energy into everything, and what I was getting back was less than acceptable. It took a phone call home to brighten up my day, and a little motivation to do something about my grades. Yes, your parents are still always right. Of course I did not tell my parents that I wanted to quit, because that was just a small phase I went through, and I didn’t want them to worry. I have since gone to my teachers for tutoring in classes that I am struggling in, and even set up study groups with different shipmates. You will not survive this place without the help from others: your classmates, and upper class as well.


Spring Break cannot come soon enough. A group of us are going to Fort Lauderdale for the week of sunshine, swimming and great fun! After that, track meets begin, boards, class formal and hopefully music and Facebook privileges. (Hopefully we can all pass after the first try). Have a great rest of the year!


More about Cameo.


Is it Worth It?

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hoburg PhotoSo it’s January, wow time is going by fast. I’m coming off an excellent winter break, it was so nice going home and seeing friends and getting to relax for a while. But now it’s back to the grind and time to get back into the routine of things. No more sleeping in until 1000 everyday.


Anyway, in addition to school I came back from break ready to continue my freshman swim season. It hasn’t been until recently that I have discovered what a valuable part of my time here at the Academy that sports have played. I am a water polo player and a swimmer. Here at the Academy, swim is an NCAA sport while water polo is just a club sport but I will honestly admit that water polo is where my passion lies. Water polo season takes place from the very first week of school in August to the end of October then swim immediately picks up after the season is over. I had a blast with water polo, we went to tournaments every other weekend and I had such a great time traveling with the team and competing in parts of the country that I had never visited. Then once swim season began I was a little nervous to commit to the sport. Swim is a big commitment, as is any of the NCAA sports, it requires a lot of time and it began right around the time when academics were really picking up and I was not sure I could balance it all. I toiled with the idea of not swimming this season and focusing on school. But now that the season is over I’m really glad that I decided to stick with it.


I have realized that making the effort to involve yourself with activities outside of school and military while at the Academy is invaluable. Participating in other activities gives you the opportunity to take your mind off the stresses you face here and channel your energy into doing something you love. Most importantly, when you play a sport, you’re part of team. A team that is dedicated to your success on and off the field, pardon the cliché. Your teammates want to see you succeed as an athlete and a student and they’re there to help you and support you just as you will be for them. It is especially valuable as a 4/c because it helps you develop relationships with upper class that you can go to for help. Learning how to balance sports with all of your other responsibilities just comes with being a cadet and it only gets easier as time goes on. But as long as you embrace the opportunity to develop relationships with your teammates and establish that support system, it should not take long to get used to. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself cause that’s the only way you’re going to improve.


As you embark on a new year I hope you are excited for the challenges and experiences that lie ahead, especially with making your college decision. If you have any questions feel free to email me anytime: Thanks.


More about Adam.


Second Semester and Time Off

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Bilodeau PhotoIt seems like second semester is definitely speeding by faster than first semester. Since my last blog there have been two long weekends, 101st night, 100th day, and good grades in between. So far this semester has been packed, which is probably the reason why it is going by so quickly. Uniform inspections, room inspections, and indoc tests have been consistent this semester, which keeps us 4/c on our toes.


I started studying more for indoctrination tests and got ready for 101st night. I will not say much about 101st night, but it was a chance for the 4/c to earn the privileged 100th day and wear white shields. This semester I have been getting decent test grades and I try to seek help earlier when I do not understand material.


As far as time off goes, I spent MLK weekend with my boyfriend in New York City and President’s Day Weekend in Maine. In New York we ate at great restaurants, went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, and saw a comedy show at Dangerfield’s. This past long weekend was President’s Day Weekend. I went home to Maine to see my parents, sleep, and relax. I ate lobster, steak, and my mom made carrot cake.


I was finally excited to go back to the Academy after President’s Day Weekend because I wanted to be back with my friends and in the swing of things. Spring Break is right around the corner, which was another incentive to head back to Connecticut. I will be spending Spring Break with my grandparents in Naples.


More about Christina.


Standing a Taut Watch

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Nolan Photo I sometimes feel when I write these entries that I’m beating a dead horse. I write about topics that are so familiar to me that anything I write becomes mundane in my eyes. What I often fail to realize, as was pointed out to me today, is how strange and different the world I’m living in may appear to those who are outside the system. So I write today in the hopes that this topic, while mundane and repetitive to me, might prove to be more entertaining, and perhaps even enlightening, to you.


Duty is an important concept in the military, and while it definitely has some applicable parallels to the civilian world, it plays an even greater importance here. Although I could speak for ages about duty in the military, let’s narrow down the scope a bit to something a bit closer to home: Duty in the Coast Guard.


After graduation, watch standing will become a majority of your job. You’ll be standing watch on your cutter as it traverses the ocean, you’ll be standing watch at a sector, monitoring the airwaves and incoming and outgoing vessel traffic, or you’ll be standing watch at an air station ready to spring into action and be the first aircraft on scene to any incident that occurs in your AOR. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?


It’s usually not. It’s okay though, that’s a fact that you’ll have to learn to deal with. Odds are, that drug interdiction case isn’t going to happen your first time on the bridge, and even if it does, it won’t happen on your watch for quite a while. Those accidents and collisions that sector is waiting to respond to, they’re not an everyday occurrence, and thankfully our aircraft aren’t needed to aid in a Search and Rescue case during every watch standing period.


So why do we stand duty then? It comes from our motto “Semper Paratus;” always ready. We stand duty so that in those moments when a split second decision is needed, or when the five minute delay it takes to get someone to make the decision may mean the difference between life and death, that we’ll be prepared. We stand duty to protect those we serve, and also, to a bigger extent to protect ourselves. While you’re on the bridge of a ship making a decision, the entire crew sleeping below decks has placed their trust in you; that you’ll stand a taut watch, and protect them while they rest. They trust that you have their backs.


Why then do I find myself on a Saturday night of a long weekend sitting in the barracks standing duty? Surely there are no drug runners to bust in the middle of Chase Hall, nobody’s going to drown (except perhaps in a pile of homework) while I man my post, so why then do I stand this duty? The answer is really simple, it comes down to two things.


Semper Paratus means always ready. Ready to respond, ready to report and ready to take action. Standing duty here means that we’re ready to respond if something happens; granted our incidents may be smaller, more menial than those in the fleet but the idea is applicable universally.


The second reason is that the Academy’s purpose is to train us to be officers. We are literally the United States Coast Guard’s Ensign Factory (USCGEF for short) and we would be remiss if the Academy didn’t teach us the seriousness and necessity for watch standing.


So that is why you find me sitting here today writing this letter to you all, this is why you find me sitting at this desk in an empty company wing area. It may seem pointless to some, but when you understand the reasons behind it, it becomes plain to see that the most important thing a Coast Guardsman can do is, as ADM Papp says it, “Stand a taut watch”.


Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have. I can be reached via

Semper P.
2/c Stephen Nolan


More about Stephen.