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cadet blogs

What Makes It All Worthwhile

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo A few days ago, I received an email from a reader about the Academy. He had several standard questions, but one question in particular stood out to me. He asked, “What makes it all worthwhile?” I think this is a great question for everyone thinking about coming to the Academy. The academics are tough. The day-to-day life is called “the grind” around here because it can be so difficult. We are held to higher standards of appearance, conduct, athleticism, and performance than the vast majority of colleges. Is the effort to deal with all of that really worth it? The answer to me is absolutely yes.


It is up to each reader to determine the answer for themselves, but I have a few ideas to put forth for you if you’re not sure. After graduating from the Academy, you get the honor of serving as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard (which is a part of the U.S. military). The work you put in at the Academy is aimed at preparing you to succeed as an officer. If you want to be very successful at your job, then putting up with everything at the Academy is well worth it. The Academy is only four years, whereas you have a payback tour of five in the real Coast Guard, so you spend more time using the skills that you learned than you do at the Academy. In the operational Coast Guard, you could be saving people’s lives or performing other jobs that are crucial to the protection and safety of this country.


I am biased toward serving in the Coast Guard as being the most worthwhile aspect of going to the Academy, but another major benefit is that the Academy is totally free to attend. In fact, you get paid to go to school. The value of an education at the Academy, when combined with the costs of food and living expenses, etc., can cost over $400,000. There aren’t many other schools that invest that much money into their students while still paying them. The free education can certainly make the four years here worth it. You get a high level of education and a Bachelor of Science degree in your major upon graduation.


The final major benefit of going to the Academy is that you are guaranteed to have a job after graduation. There is a five year payback tour, as I mentioned before, but after that you may decide to stay in the Coast Guard or move on. After service in the military, many additional job opportunities open up because of the respect that employers have for service in the military. In the current state of our economy, that is a huge benefit.


For anyone interested in the Academy, it is important to have a belief that being at the Academy is worthwhile. It gives you a goal to strive toward as you complete the four years here.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at I’m always open for questions!


More about Hunter.


The Music in My Head

(Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Recently, the fourth class began taking boards. We are expected to learn and memorize certain indoctrination information, then go into an oral exam in which we are asked ten questions. Successfully passing the board is the first step to getting back our privileges – walking normally, not having to keep our eyes in the boat, etc. But for my roommate and me, one of the most exciting prospects of passing is… music out loud!!! Right now, we can only listen to our music through headphones. It’s not too bad, but it does make it easier if you can just hit “play” on the computer and jam out while folding laundry on your bed. I’m determining a playlist to blare through the wing area until someone tells me to be quiet…


  1. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins – Because once we get full carry-on, we’ll all be able to “Cut loose” and act like ourselves again! (I promise that was the only corny one on this list.)
  2. “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas – I challenge you to figure that one out.
  3. “Let It Go” from Frozen – No specific reason, I just really like this song. It makes for one great karaoke session.
  4. “Animal” by Def Leppard – Once we get all of our privileges, Chase Hall will sound like a zoo for a few days, because fourth class love to hear themselves talk in the passageways.
  5. “The Parting Glass” by The Wailin’ Jennys – After I pass boards, I’m going to reward myself by watching “The Walking Dead” all weekend.
  6. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk – Over Swab Summer, you’re not going to hear very much music. Occasionally, though, there’ll be a quick song here or there. This one was one of the first ones I heard while actually in Chase; then on Eagle, it seemed like it was being played constantly! So, I have some of the fonder Swab Summer memories associated with it (yeah, those do exist).
  7. “Courageous: by Casting Crowns – It’s one of my favorite Christian songs, with a great beat to it, from a movie I love.
  8. “Turn the Page” by Bruce Springsteen – It mentions Omaha.
  9. “Paradise” by Coldplay – I didn’t start listening to Coldplay until I got to the Academy, and now they’re one of my favorite bands. Right now, I think being able to look at my food constitutes a significant part of my definition of paradise.
  10. “Defying Gravity” from Wicked – One of my goals is to learn to sing this song one day (such a great range…). So I’ll be learning it by listening to it constantly, and hoping that it grows on my roommate.

So, there’s a lot to look forward to these next few weeks. Wish us luck! Soon enough, there will be all sorts of dissonance floating through the wing areas!


More about Abby.