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cadet blogs

Finish the Trip

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Priesing Photo Here it is. 2248 on a Thursday night, and I’m sitting at the podium in my company wing area. Each class of cadets has a different type of duty in addition to school work and sports. I am standing as my Company Officer of the Deck. This position is used so someone is always on deck during the day, ready to respond to anything from a phone call to a fire. These nights are usually pretty late, but since I can’t focus on anymore homework and all the cadets in my company have signed “In For the Night” I have a minute to write. It’s been too long!


On March 1st, the Thursday before Spring Break, the great class of 2012 gathered in the cadet wardroom at 1645. At that time, we had a dinner and pumped each other up for what was about to happen. The air was buzzing with excitement, hope, and a little bit of fear. It was Billet Night. Every year, on the Thursday before Spring Break, representatives from most of the units in the Coast Guard assemble at the Academy to welcome, congratulate and very quickly brief the first class cadet who has been assigned to their particular unit. After the dinner in the wardroom, the senior class moves to Leamy Hall where they partake in a social hour. Beverages are available to encourage casual conversations and some to calm the nerves, and the class gets to discuss their last minute hopes and frets.


Next, everyone assembles into the ballroom. A stage is set up and the hall has been decorated like “dressed ship.” All the firsties sit and wait nervously for their turn to be called to the podium where their duty assignment for the next two years will be revealed. It is so exciting to see the groups and individuals called, to see their reactions, to join in their excitement, but it’s not so fun to pick them up after disappointments.


I was fortunate to get my first choice billet. This summer, I get to report in to the USCGC Waesche as an Engineering Officer in Training. This ship is the second of the new National Security Cutters and is home ported in Alameda, California. I am beyond excited that one of my best friends at the Academy is also getting stationed there, and that we’ll get to experience the same fun and trials of underway life.


Now, fast forward to real time. Two Thursdays later, I am sitting at this desk in the dark wing area. The lights are secured and a few voices are heard down the passageway. I have spent all day either working on homework or looking for apartments. I’m sure you can guess which activity I have spent more time and attention on tonight… : )


More about Katie.


Academy Questions Part 2

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2013) Permanent link
Ward Photo Here are a few more questions and my responses.


5. What do students do in their free time?

What free time?
But seriously, I’m an engineer and given how structured my day is, I usually don’t have all that much free time. A lot of cadets have hobbies that they partake in, (for instance, I row Varsity crew in the fall and spring, play piano/read books when I can, am a part of a few clubs, am taking two directed studies, and I’m definitely not as active as many other cadets). So you are almost always doing something, you just might really enjoy what you’re doing. As for quiet down time, there isn’t much. At least not for engineers. I know some other majors have very different lives.


6. What do students like to do off-campus?

We watch movies or hang out or go to sponsor parents. Sponsor parents are people in the local community who “adopt” you for your duration at the Academy. There are a lot of groups/clubs here (swing dance, fencing, boxing, etc…) so there are always evening activities going on. On weekends cadets can go to either Boston or New York City if they really want to get away (a 2 hour train ride to either city). Mostly we eat out, hang out, shop, chill at sponsor parent’s houses or partake in sporting events.


7. What else I should know about the Academy?

It definitely changes you. I am so different from I was when I reported in, for better and worse. Also, I know most of my friends who went to civilian colleges don’t have nearly as many fun experiences as I do. When you look at the photos, there are some really cool things I’ve done. But, there are also things I am not able to do. There are aspects of the college life I have to give up such as study abroad, double major, go home more, have a car (before senior year at least), go out on weekdays, etc. It’s all a trade off. As I said earlier though, if I had to do it again I would still come here.


Keep the questions coming! 


More about Jessica.


All Good Things Must Come To An End

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo As they say, all good things must come to an end. For the cadets at the Academy it is spring break. Tomorrow starts the first day back and I am so not ready to snap back to reality. For spring break, I invited three of my friends to come home with me. We all flew home Saturday morning and headed to the beach. We were all pale due to the cold rainy Connecticut weather, but after eight days in the Florida sun we are all heading back tan! Over spring break we had a full house, which my mom absolutely loved. Fortunately, my brother had the same spring break and brought two friends home. It was a packed house for sure, but it made it that much more fun! Our days consisted of the beach, boat, kayaking, and waterskiing. It was definitely a well-deserved week of fun with friends and family.


We have officially started the second half of spring semester, which is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. We only have seven weeks of school left, but boards are in the very near future. I feel like there are so many obstacles to get through until 4/c are granted carry-on and we leave for our summer assignments, but I know I can get through all of them. You always have to look ahead and realize why you are here and what you must do to stay here. When I was home I got together with a few of my friends that go to universities and it is hard to hear them talk about their lives, but at the same time I think about my life after graduation and know that, in the end, the Academy is worth it. I would not want to be anywhere else but the Academy.


I know many prospective cadets have decided to be a part of the class of 2016 and if anyone has any questions about what to bring or anything about the summer I am more than happy to answer them for you. It will be a busy and stressful next couple of weeks, but I promise to get back to you soon! We will all leave in early May for our summer assignments so if you have questions I would recommend asking them before May so that you get a response. I hope everyone enjoys their spring break and is ready to make that final push to the summer!


More about Sara.


What a Spring Break!

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo Hello again everyone! We are slowly but surely coming into the home stretch of 4/c year, and I am excited! These last couple of days were Spring Break 2012, and what a great Spring Break! The lacrosse team left a day early to head on down to West Palm Beach, Florida to go to the Sailfish Shootout, where we played four games in only five days. Going up against big name teams like Palm Beach Atlantic, Emory, Elon and Grand Valley State, the latter ranked 12 and 3 respectively, we came out of the trip 2-2. We were able to spend one of the days to ourselves, going to the beach, playing golf, and just relaxing with the other lax bros. It was also a great chance to talk with the upper-class on the team, and establish connections there. Before I knew it, that was the end of the Shootout and I was whisked away to join the Idlers!


For those of you don’t know, the Idlers are the male A cappella group for the Coast Guard Academy. We went down to Florida as well, performing in Disney, Sebastian, West Palm Beach, and Stuart. We got to spend time in Disney, where funny enough the seniors of my former high school were having their Senior Trip, which was a nice surprise. We again got some beach time, and just had a great time overall. The trip ended with a 23-hour drive back to Connecticut from West Palm Beach, going through 11 states with only four of us driving. Eventually we were able to make it back, and thus ended Spring Break.


With our 4/c formal coming up Saturday, the Easter long weekend, as well as 4/c Boards and Challenge of the Guardsmen, these next few weeks are going to be rough and busy. But like everything else here, it will be dealt with one step at a time, and there will be some great results!


More about Samuel.