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cadet blogs

Boards and Beyond

(Athletics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo Happy new year everyone! Coming back was a little hard, leaving all my friends at home was sad but I was more than happy to return to my Academy friends. Second semester as a fourth class is infinitely better than it was in the fall. The main reason? Boards. Most fourth class are scared, it’s an oral exam on Coast Guard knowledge learned throughout your fourth class year, but privileges come with it as you pass. Music out loud and no more note cards, it’s a 4/c dream!


Classes this semester are also a lot easier, they are a harder level but after a semester here I have better time management skills. I need it because I am currently playing water polo this semester. It’s a club team and a ton of fun, my teammates are fantastic and the activity helps me relax after a difficult day. Calculus II and Fundamentals of Navigation are probably my favorite classes because navigation is super salty and Calc II is fun.


Spring break is in three weeks so it’s a race to pass boards and do well in my courses before a bunch of my shipmates and I fly down to Puerto Rico for a week. I love the Academy; it allows me to travel and have fun while also learning to be a leader of character.


Feel free to ask me any questions! 



More about Emily.


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.