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Paying It Forward

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Wright Photo It’s not often that we, as cadets, get to take a bigger look at what we are doing. Sure we have lectures on what it is like in the fleet and what makes a good leader but it all seems so distant. But, today, on my way home for spring break me and my friend, who is a classmate of mine at the Academy, got the chance to talk to an officer who gave us a unique look into our possibilities of our future.

 

We were sitting in Providence airport and decided to get something to eat while we were waiting the several hours for our flight home for a much needed spring break. Once we were done eating we asked the waitress for the check and she had told us that the gentleman sitting in a table near us had picked up our tab. A little surprised, we decided that we should go thank the gentleman for his kind gesture. When we went to thank him he told us that he was a Coastie as well and was actually going to soon take command of CGC Dauntless stationed in Galveston, Texas, about an hour away from my home. We were amazed that a high ranking officer even thought twice when looking at two freshmen at the Academy. We ended up talking to him for about 30 minutes and he said it was hard to believe that he was in our position 24 years ago. Upon his graduation, he explained to us, he had two goals. Make O-5, check, and take command of a cutter, which is what he plans to do in the next few months. I asked him about what he has found to be good leadership and various questions about his many tours. At the end of our conversation he told us to keep doing what we are doing as long as it makes us happy and everywhere we go we should make it our goal to make a positive difference.

 

It’s not often that we get the chance to slow down and look at why we go through the daily tasks at the Academy. But every once and a while it is refreshing to take a step back and remember why we are doing what we are doing, and for me, it is to become as impactful as a leader as the officer we had the privilege of talking to today and one day pay it forward.

 



More about Jessica.

 

Get Excited…In Two

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo So if you have any inkling by now of who I am (from reading my blogs, of course!), then you know that crew is a major part of my life. At times, it feels like I’m married to the sport—or at least the cox’s seat! In Part II of my amazing experiences here at the Academy, crew stands out above all the rest.

 

In my Leadership and Organizational Behavior (think Leadership Psychology) class, we discussed identity. Needless to say, I strongly identify with the crew “cult.” My best friends row; the team does everything as a team; we all eat, sleep, and dream crew, especially over break. For me, two things stand out in my crew experiences: racing and spring break.

 

First, racing. If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ve probably read about my races. They give me such an adrenaline rush. I always get nauseated before getting hands-on to carry the boat down to the racecourse, but once we get on the water…BAM! I’m in the zone! Nothing can stop me, once I sit in the cox’s seat, I change (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) from a nice, mild-mannered, pleasant person into a demanding, aggressive animal. Like any other normal person, I love winning. There are times when I wonder what could possibly come between my boat and winning. (Of course, obvious safety concerns like a sinking boat or a collision will cause me to stop. However, not much else will…) In the past year, it has been amazing to see the change I’ve undergone. My teammates and others have noticed my increased self-confidence and assertiveness, both on and off the water. People like 3/c Alex Kloo, 3/c Sean Murphy, and 3/c Luke Carani (all cadet bloggers, by the way) picked up on calling me “Sassquatch,” which I don’t think does me justice. Just because I say something decisively does not make it sassy, guys! But that is a fight for me to win with my boat…tomorrow, at practice.

 

Even better than racing is SPRING BREAK! Last week, we all traveled to Deland, Florida for a week of two-a-day practices—and fun. We rowed on (well, okay, I was rowed around) Lake Beresford, where the warm sunshine and flat water helped us iron out the technical kinks we had, so we can row the fastest boat possible. We practiced early in the morning, rowing into the sunrise, then returned to the hotel to shower, eat, and nap before repeating it again in the afternoon. During practice one day, I saw two alligators and a manatee! After dinner, most of us would hang out on the pool deck or the balcony, reading, talking, and joking with our best friends. I wish that I could do more than just write about it: my words don’t do it justice! The best part of the week for me was our scrimmage on Friday afternoon against Temple University and Jacksonville University, two D-I schools. In our second race against them, we held with both boats and at one point had “seats” (we were ahead by a certain number of seats) until about the 1300-meter mark. It was great to see just how competitive we were—it’s a great sign for the spring season. Be sure to check out some of the photos that link to my blog. I’m going to try to put some of the best photos from Spring Break up.

 

I’m hoping to compete with the Varsity Eight this spring; however, to get there, it’ll be super competitive. In addition to that, I am also juggling an academic overload, planning for the 3/c formal, and a million other things. As always, I’d love to hear questions or concerns, because I get distracted easily. Email me at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu if you want to talk about America’s best school!

 



More about Peter.

 

The Home Stretch?

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Back from Spring Break!! I can’t believe that March is almost over! I have just about finished my first academic week back from leave and it has gone by very quickly. I went home to Maryland for Spring break, and although it was not a tropical vacation, I was still able to make the most of my time off through relaxing, sleeping and spending time with my family and my pet dog. I started the week off with the Maryland State Championship Girls Basketball Game that my high school team (of which I was the manager last year) won for the second year in a row! For the rest of the week, my sister and brother and parents had school and work, so I slept in, went running, and took my dog on a lot of walks. My parents and I went to Washington D.C on Wednesday and we went to a new restaurant and we went to the Newseum. It was a lot of fun. The week went by really fast and I spent the last two days at Elizabethtown College with my best friend from high school and realized that regular college life was not as glamorous as I had envisioned. I was very surprised to see that my room was significantly larger than hers, although it was a lot less purple. I really enjoyed going home and I am glad that I did because I am probably not going to be home until after summer school (I have to take Calculus 2 over the summer).

 

Speaking of summer, I am so excited!!! I am going on the first phase of training on Eagle, so I get to go to Aruba and Guantanamo Bay and end in St. Petersburg, Florida! I FINALLY passed boards, and although it was on my third try, I managed to get them over with before leaving for Spring break which was very nice. We just had our midterm this week, which means that we only have six weeks left of school!!! Also, the Fourth Class Formal is this weekend and my cousin is coming up to be my friend’s date and Foxtrot Company is getting very excited about the dance. I think that it is going to be so cool to see our crest be unveiled in Leamy during the dance as well. I also have a sailing regatta this weekend so I am going to be very busy. A little bit more than 50 people still have to pass boards in our class, and when they do, we will be able to have wardroom carry-on and all of that fun stuff (although do already have music out loud and white board privileges.)

 

To conclude this blog entry, I just have to say that this semester is both moving very quickly and the end will be here sooner than I can most likely imagine. My goal for the next few months are to keep my grades up and to hang in there while I wait for my CARRY-ON and red 3/c shields! Happy first day of Spring!! :)

 



More about Lucy.

 

YOLO Because This is the Game of Life

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo After reading other bloggers posts lately I regrettably have to be the rain cloud, the sour milk, the rotten egg and every other pessimist cliché, because the Academy is not all smiles, rainbows, and butterflies. In fact, every day I have at least one moment where I question what I am doing at the Academy, why I did not take that Navy ROTC scholarship to a civilian school, why I did not decide to take a year off and sail around the world. "YOLO", you only live once, is a catch phrase being thrown around in conversation today, and it was even suggested jokingly for our Class of 2016 motto. This mantra is often the caption of my old friend's photos skydiving or swimming with sharks, but at the Academy is a sarcastic reminder of our choice. When I talk to my high school friends it seems like there is a whole world that I am missing: getting locked out of the dorm, sleeping over in a friend's room for the night, or going out on Friday night are the experiences I most wish I could share. Instead I chose to spend the next four years of my life in a gated guarded bubble, carefully following the rules and regulations created by people I have never known, that will supposedly better my life in the big picture.

 

Cadets often lose sight of the big picture, of the entire "Game of Life" per say. The amateur board game starts with the simple decision I made senior year of high school, to go to college rather than delve into the work force. What the game cannot simulate however is the time, heart, and passion it takes to finish an upper level education. I have already experienced the sacrifices of an Academy education, a college education, and have to wonder if I chose right. I can picture myself in civilian attire in the library or at the boathouse at many other schools, and even took the time over Spring Break to visit friends and live like a college student for a day. But after trips to the University of Connecticut, Simmons College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, I left with the same hunger for opportunity that I went in feeling. I have yet to go to a college or university that gives me the same satisfaction at the end of the day, the feeling that I have done my best not only for my benefit but to fulfill the training Americans have offered to me. Everyday is about "living once" and taking full advantage of the opportunities at hand, but also prioritizing every given choice. Yes, I am still susceptible to the tunnel vision sadness exam week can bring, but in general, controlling my attitude and perspective have kept me afloat. The game of life, like the Academy, is a roll of the dice; the only difference is having almost guaranteed success in the end.

 



More about Sarah.

 

Spontaneous Christmas Fun

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So Christmas leave is wrapping up and I must say that this was the best break that I have had, hands down. Typically I’ll come home and sit there, veggin’ out, being a non-productive member of society. Although I can’t say I did anything really productive this month I did get around to see a lot of people and do a lot of different things. I got home on the 12th of December and by that next weekend I had a spontaneous decision to go see my friend Katie, who also goes to the Academy, up in Chicago. This decision probably happened in about 15 minutes, and considering Chicago is about five and a half hours away from Louisville it was a spur of the moment decision. Anyway, I went up there to go see Steve Aoki, another EDM artist, and it was probably the best show I’ve ever been too. I was only in Chicago for the weekend, then I came back home. So nothing really happened until a few days after Christmas and I went to Basslights. Another two-day music festival in Hampton, Virginia. It was an eleven-hour drive and didn’t seem any shorter than that. I went to see Pretty Light, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Griz, Gramatic, and A-Trak. If you don’t know who any of these people are you should probably get on it because it’s good stuff. I actually ended up going with my best friend’s friends as he couldn’t go because he wrecked his car, so it was kind of nice to mesh with a whole new group of people.

 

Two days before I left I got to go to a University of Louisville basketball game and sit one row behind the floor seats. If you have any idea about college basketball we’re always really good so getting to sit there is quite a treat. If you are a UK fan, well, I’m not really sorry you all are having a terrible year, better luck next year. That’s about it, I got to see my family and whatnot but I’ve probably talked about them a thousand times so I won’t bore you. If you have questions, email me at Spencer.M.Zwenger@uscga.edu.

 



More about Spencer.