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cadet blogs

The End is in Sight!

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo Well, we are almost done with March, and all of the 4/c are anxiously waiting for the semester to be over. It was hard coming back from spring break, especially when we had three tests that week including a huge test for the military aspect of our lives. Our class didn’t do so well on that test, but we have another one coming up, which we should do better on! I am really happy with how this semester has turned out. The classes are harder and there is more work that needs to be done, but overall, this whole semester has been nothing but enjoyable. With the end of the semester coming up, all the 4/c are excited to be done, and that can also cause a lot of stress and anxiety. It is hard to keep up an enthusiastic atmosphere among the class, but we are slowly starting to see the spirit that we lost after coming back from spring break and falling into basically a “pit of despair.” Spirit missions have been going around, and the sun has started to come out! I know that I, for one, missed the sun desperately! Being from San Diego, there are only a few days throughout the entire year where there will not be any sun, but coming here and experiencing that for weeks made me miss my Vitamin D, and having the sun back on a normal basis has been fantastic!

 

Water Polo has been going really well as well. Granted, we have not won any games yet, but we continue to work hard and persevere as a team and have fun and that’s all that really matters! We are all also very excited to see what we get for our summer assignments. I basically already know that I am going to be on first phase Eagle and then taking summer school, but I am very excited for my shipmates and can’t wait to see where they get to go this summer! Well, we only have a few more weeks left! And personally, I can’t wait for it to be over and come back next year as a 3/c!

 



More about Samantha.

 

Spreak

(Just for Fun, Class of 2012) Permanent link
White Photo Hello again!!

 

I am sorry it has been so long since my last blog; but I am finding that there is no such thing as “down time,” even if I am a second semester firstie! But I have been having fun, even if I am itching to get out of here. Don’t get me wrong, I love classes and military trainings and drill and snow, but the best feeling in the world is to take off from Rhode Island and land in Florida 30 degrees warmer. And this Spring Break, that is exactly what I did!

 

This Spring Break (Spreak, if you will… well even if you don’t, too bad. My blog.) But this Spreak I flew down from New London to Miami, Florida to take a seven day cruise on the Carnival Liberty. The first question I got from someone on the cruise ship: “Isn’t this, like, too much like being on a Coast Guard cutter for you to relax?” I have gotten this a couple of times, so let me just clarify for people: being on a 1,000 foot cruise ship is NOT like being on a Coast Guard cutter. Firstly, on a cruise, food such as filet mignon, shrimps, and pizza are delivered fresh every day and night. On a cutter, the only room service you can get is a half-eaten slice of week old pizza your roommate gives you. Secondly, a cruise ship has pools and hot tubs. A cutter has…the ocean. Thirdly, a cruise ship has stewards to clean your room, fix you meals, and even give you a massage. The closest thing you can ask for on a CG cutter is to not get yelled at because your rack isn’t tight, to stuff yourself with enough fresh fruit before it rots, and to not get tossed out of your rack overnight due to rough seas. But beyond that…. yeah, cruises and Coast Guard patrols are pretty much the exact same. But back to the point of my story: the cruise was amazing! Ten other firsties, myself, and my girlfriend got to visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, USVI, Half Moon Cay, and Grand Turk. We snorkeled, tanned (I burnt), ate the local cuisine, and even got to sample some of the local rum and other liquors (responsibly of course). We met some of the best people in the world; our waitress Lizette from Peru, waiter Roberto from Honduras, and Jasenko from Bosnia. It was a great time, I made great friends, got to know some of my classmates even better, and got to spend a week with my girlfriend. What could be better than that?

 

Unfortunately, the trip had to end sometime. Stepping off of the plane in Connecticut, I felt the cold. Then I realized that there is no unlimited ice cream and frozen yogurt anymore. Later, the sunburn/tan faded back to white. Before I knew it, I was sitting in my first class back at school and wondering where the time went this Spring Break. As the teacher droned on and on about fatal doses of chlorobenzene, I couldn’t help but close my eyes, sit back, and dream of lying on the deck of the Liberty listening to Jimmy Buffett. Even if my first Coast Guard cutter has no beach chairs or free ice cream, I thought one thing: I am stocking up on Jimmy Buffett CDs before going on my first Caribbean patrol.

 

Much love,
Nathan “Wheetay” White

 

P.S. Any questions, please email :) Nathan.D.White@uscga.edu 

 



More about Nathan.

 

Final 4c Stretch and JSACWC

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Garrett Photo It’s late March, and 4/c carry on is in sight! Everyone at this point in time is just waiting for that day, when inconvenient and tedious 4/c duties are gone. My friends and I have a countdown to the day when we are ”suppose to” get it. Red Shields here we come! Haha.

 

Other than the expected, and non-thrilling Board’s stresses and academics, there is a lot to look forward to. The last couple of weeks Combat Arms Team or “CAT” has been practicing like crazy for our upcoming JSACWC event against the other service academies. It should be awesome :) We’ve been doing a lot of rifle drills and learning how to shoot around barriers. Having a team sport to go to every day is definitely one way of making this place more fun. Friends and teammates are crucial, and even though I’m on a predominantly male sports team, you wouldn’t know it. For all the females out there that may be worried about female disadvantages, let me assure you, there are none. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, no gender exceptions or discriminations included. :)

 

 

More about Nicole.

 

Spring Semester!

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo Spring semester has been full of ups and downs. 4/c are starting to take our Boards exams to earn certain privileges. We’ve taken two out of the three total exams (not including the actual Boards exam) and have achieved the 80% passing requirement (for our entire class) for only the first one. Since we failed the second requirement, we now have the chance to earn three privileges on the last exam if we pass it. These would include writing on whiteboards outside our rooms, playing music out loud, and the much sought after wardroom carry-on (a.k.a. looking at food when you eat!).

 

In more exciting news, we recently got back from spring break, which was awesome for me. A couple of guys in my company and I went to their house in Alabama, which I had never been to before. Although it was nice just to take a break from the Academy, it was the beautiful weather and awesome activities (canoeing, hiking, and hanging out with friends) that made the break fun.

 

Back in Connecticut, it seriously feels like winter has passed by in no time. Right now it’s about 60 degrees and humid! Craziness! Perfect timing for spring soccer and all of the other sports!

 

 

More about Lindsay.

 

On Returning from Spring Break

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Spring break is unfortunately over and the daily grind of life here in New London is slowly starting to get to me. It was nice to go to Florida with the crew team and be a normal college kid—not having to say “sir” or “ma’am,” not squaring and bracing up, and just being myself. However, on the bright(ish) side, there are only six more weeks of school left before finals start!

 

Everyone on the crew team had been excited for weeks about spring training in Florida, and I understand why. Not having to row on the cold, choppy Thames was exciting enough, but DeLand had enough sun and warm water for all of us. For a week, all we did was eat, sleep, and row—practice twice a day drained people quite well. I learned a lot from the times I took the boat out, and I still have a lot to learn. I struggle holding a perfectly straight course; I need to fix that problem by our first race at the end of the month! Coming back to the Academy was a let-down after such an amazing week of “bro-ing out.”

 

Academically, the first week back was so bad. Militarily, it was awful. We had a major indoc exam—covering cutter and aircraft specifications, Coast Guard history from the founding of the Revenue Cutter Service to the War on Terror, and Coast Guard customs and traditions—on Friday morning for which 2015 spent all week (read: Thursday night) cramming. It did not go so well; one company has them all graded, and only one person out of a company of thirty passed. On top of this, 1/c Gonzales (the 1LT, the regimental staff officer in charge of training the fourth-class) revoked our whiteboard privileges we earned three weeks ago, because of poor performance. 2015 needs to get its act together—six more weeks, then carry-on!

 

Speaking of 2015, the 4/c Formal was on Saturday night. I’ve spent the past three weeks helping to prepare for it, by coordinating the seating arrangements and helping decorate Leamy Hall. I never knew when I signed up that it would be so hard to properly seat RADM Stosz, RDML Rendon, LCDR Ely (our class advisor), CDR McGrath (the ACoC), and about thirty other VIPs, along with 250 4/c and their guests! It was frustrating at times, but rewarding in the end. It was nice to see everything come together, seating and decoration-wise, on Friday night and Saturday morning. At the formal, the class council and LCDR Ely formally unveiled our class crest. IT LOOKS GREAT!! I’m honestly surprised how good it looks. I think that it is the best one in Leamy—it certainly beats 2013! I’ll attach some pictures so you can see.

 

Now that we are entering the final phase of the semester, we have boards and Challenge of the Guardian to look forward to! I cannot wait to finish out this year strong, find out where I am going for my 3/c summer (I’ll keep you posted!), and begin mentoring my 4/c next year! As always, email me if you have any questions: Peter.M.Driscoll@uscga.edu.

 

 

More about Peter.

 

Spending Time with Family

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Min Photo Spring break was a time for me to re-energize and refocus before the last six weeks of the semester. I decided to go back home and spend time with my family in Hawaii. The weather was crazy, but it was nice to be home and relax with my family. I ate a lot of food, watched movies, and fished. The weather was not ideal; we had a lot of rain, thunder, and even a little hail, which rarely happens. The first day I was home I went out fishing on the boat with my uncle, unfortunately we did not catch anything. The next few days came with strong winds, gray skies, and a lot of rain. The best part of my break was the last two days spending time at a beach house with my Mom and Dad sitting around fishing and cooking great food. Returning home to Hawaii is always a blessing and as they say for locals who go away “you always have one foot in the sand,” which to me means you never can go too far away to call Hawaii your home.

 

 

More about Alex.

 

Like Wrestling a Bear, But Not Quite

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo So they weren’t kidding when they said the “Dark Ages” occur during February. In all honesty, I can hardly recall another stressful timeframe to compare to this past month. Our workload grows at an inversely proportional rate to the amount of sleep we are getting, and its rough – like wrestling a grizzly bear, but not quite. Nonetheless, taking a look through my assignment book, I am astonished by the amount of things I have accomplished. On top of that, there is literally only nine weeks left to go before the conclusion of our first academic year. In the end, the strains of fourth-class life pale in comparison to what we have to look forward to.

 

I’ve learned so much about myself over the past nine months of our cadet experience. As each day progresses, I am presented with a variety of new challenges. Sometimes the pressure can really get you down, as I have been these past few weeks, but I am forced to remind myself how great of a deal I actually have. The Academy presents a once in a lifetime experience, some of the best friends I will ever have, as well as killer job opportunities.

 

If you are considering attending the Academy, or have questions about anything I have written thus far, feel free to email me.

 

 

More about Alexis.

 

Indoor Track and Beyond

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo I slap my legs a few times, bounce up and down, and brace myself for the baton. I watch as Jordan Lee flies past a few guys and is all of a sudden in the top 3. 1:53, 1:54, 1:55… I grab the baton and take off. It’s a surreal moment, flying on the banked track of Boston University, barely hearing my own breathing next to the roar of the crowd.

 

One year earlier, I had thought my track days were done; I had pushed my body too hard and my shins were in constant pain. The dreams of becoming a state champion had vanished, the hopes of running a school record gone. I could barely go on a 30 minute run without stopping to limp; the multitude of injuries had left me with bitter memories of a potential unfulfilled. I was tired.

 

I talked myself into doing cross country again at the Academy; my passion for the sport was far greater than the pain of my shins. I knew that with the lack of running I had done in the past few months, my season would not be very pretty, but it was worth it. Getting out of formal room and wing, traveling to different meets across Connecticut and Massachusetts, and running with a bunch of fast guys made the season a good one. Plus, the base I built for track helped a ton.

 

I sprint toward the finish, raising my arm to pass the baton to my teammate James Martin. I am no longer in the top 3, but I know our team is on pace for a great 4X800 meter relay time. The field was incredible, featuring many Division I schools, and just making the meet was a feat in itself. Now it was up to our last two legs.

 

James cruised through his 800, and as he passed the baton over to our anchor Ryan Hub, I knew we were in position for a tremendous PR. As Ryan crossed the line, we glanced at the clock and I didn’t believe what I saw.

 

8:00 for the 4X8. We had run a 13 second PR. I even ran a PR on my 800 split, proving to myself that I had finally come back from my high school injuries and that this was the start of something incredible for our team. With one sophomore and three freshmen, the road ahead looks promising.

 

As I write this, I’m on the train back home from New York City, where we just ran our 4X8 team at the ECAC championships at the New York Armory. The Armory is perhaps the greatest track facility I’ve ever been too; the entire building is dedicated to track and field. With the 8 flat we had run the previous week, we had qualified for ECACS, bettering the entry mark by 8 seconds. At the beginning of the season if you had said I’d be running in ECACS, I would have probably laughed at you. Even though we did not get a PR today, we still ran a solid 8:05 and the overall experience was amazing. I know our team will do great things in the near future. I’m excited to see how far the United States Coast Guard Academy Cross Country/Distance Track Teams can go in the future. Stay tuned.

 

 

More about Zachary.

 

Spring Stream of Consciousness

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo For once I didn’t have something pre-planned about which to write, which is pretty shocking. I’ll start with this: “Spring break was last week.” I’ll do a short stream of consciousness entry to for this blog. I guess it kind of fits with the coming of spring—spring rains filling the streams…? I don’t know.

 

For break I went home, but I got sick, so I really didn’t do anything super exciting; it was nice to not have to do any schoolwork, though. I did get to meet with a family that contacted me through reading my blog. I enjoyed telling them all about the Academy and answering their questions. I also received several emails from prospective cadets with questions (keep them coming, please!), so, while I wasn’t on official “recruiting leave” (R-Leave), I like to tell people that I did as much recruiting for the Academy as had I actually been on R-Leave.

 

And now we’re back, racing to the end of the year. It’s been so nice lately. I love it! Spring is probably my favorite season—I like the “thawing” feeling after winter…even though this one wasn’t that cold. Nevertheless, the time change has been really nice. It stays bright out so much later; to me, it makes the day seem longer.

 

In literature, we’ve been doing a poetry study. Spring reminds me of a poem I read for my Advanced Placement (AP) literature class. It’s called “The Motive for Metaphor” by Wallace Stevens. You should definitely read the whole poem, but I’ll put the most applicable stanza (2nd stanza) here: 

 

“In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon—”
 

 

I think part of my excitement is simply the fact that things are moving forward. I can’t believe that I’m almost done (3/4 of the way there) with my freshman year of college! This is definitely an exciting time at the Academy—everyone is looking forward to the summer that lies ahead. The Thursday before Spring Break was Billet Night, so all the 1/c cadets (seniors) found out where and what their first assignment is. The 3/c cadets (sophomores) just found out their assignments for Swab Summer—what type of cadre they are going to be (Swab Summer, AIM, for example). Soon, we, the 4/c cadets (freshmen), and the 2/c cadets (juniors) will find out where we will be in the fleet this summer. 

 

As my final little blurb, I’ll share with you an excerpt from a short story I am working on for a creative writing contest here at the Academy. This piece doesn’t have a title yet, and it’s not that polished, but I’ll share it with you all anyway. 

 

"She had never considered the ocean before, but then again neither had he. Too long had both of them dreamed of climbing mountains and hiding away in forests for them to consider the vast salted waters. Where would this take them?

She sat at her writing desk, and the window of that corner room was open. The apartment, high enough up, was spared the grungy noise of the street below. A street not too particularly busy but well worn by buses, garbage trucks, police cars, and minivans.

In the breeze that drifted through the window, Anne thought she could smell the salt from the ocean, but she had never been so close to the ocean, so how could she know what a sea breeze smelled like. She turned a critical eye to the pale blue beyond the window frame. Now she wished she and Roger had picked an apartment with an ocean view. She needed a better understanding of the ocean, a reaction that was new to her. But how could they have known such a view would be something they wanted at the time?

She stood up, went to the kitchen, and filled a glass of water.

There really had been nothing special about that evening. The temperature average and cool, typical of a northwest evening. A few thin clouds slightly pink from the setting sun, but the sky just a dull blue. The gray of the twilight was calming. The two of them, Anne and Roger, had been walking along the street that followed the shoreline. Where it had curved back up toward the center of town, they had continued walking straight, through the tall, sandy-colored grass. The feel of the grass sliding softly over her arms and past her ankles filled Anne with an excited tingling. She had slowed ever so slightly, expecting Roger to do the same, as he usually did. Instead, he pushed on. Anne watched him as he almost frantically moved the tall stalks aside. Something was bothering him, she knew. By the time she reached the small sandy cove, Roger was already standing at the edge of the water. For another few moments Anne watched as the water moved up and covered Rogers feet before receding back. His toes dug into the soft, wet sand.

Anne followed his lead, taking off her sandals. She placed hers next to his. The grainy sand certainly felt odd between her toes. She was a bit uncomfortable. Passing by Roger, she put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing it so that he would know that she was there.

The wet sand felt much different, and was much colder. Anne was hesitant about this new feeling; she hadn’t expected to find a texture like this among nature. Even the soft silt of a riverbed didn’t compare to the sliding feel of the wet sand. She was certainly intrigued by this, and, curious to know more about the sensation, walked along the boundary of land and water. The water rushed to meet her bare ankles now and again. The contact still shocked her. It made her feel cold. The wind was blowing, pressing her skirt close to her legs. It felt warmer that way. She pulled the thin cardigan tighter to her body, buttoned it, and pulled down the sleeves so that they covered the back of her hands.

She was surprised when she came upon a tidal pool in a more rocky area of the small beach. She recalled her days as a little girl at the zoo getting to touch the animals at the aquarium. Those had been tide pool animals. She thought she recognized some of them. She smiled at the starfish. She knew that one. She gazed at the pool for a little longer, but it was getting too dark.

Anne turned to face the street. Some large rocks a few paces up the beach were the ideal place for her to sit and listen.

They stayed all night. After listening to the area’s story told by the sounds of the nature nearby, Anne fell asleep. She wasn’t sure what time Roger had moved from standing in the water to sitting in the sand, but that’s where he was when she woke up. They stayed there until noon.

She had been the one to get up and walk back to the road, silently nudging him to leave, to come home. He grudgingly got up and walked silently to her. She took his hand as they walked home."
 

 

As usual, a CGA with an explanation. 

 

I know that Swab Summer is fast approaching for the class of 2016. This is about the time when everyone starts to find out about acceptance, so I know this can be an exciting and scary time. 

 

Cadre Gushed Anger – Pretty self-explanatory. 

 

Cadets Grasped Algebra – Well, technically we weren’t cadets yet, but nevertheless we did attend weekly “Swab Summer Math” classes to refresh on the Algebra we learned earlier in high school. 

 

Calisthenics Good All-Around – Morning workouts. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, too. 

 

 


More about Justin.

 

Our 4c Formal

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo This weekend, on St. Patrick’s Day was the 4/c formal, which turned out to be very fun. It was less crowded compared to the whole Academy winter formal in December. At the 4/c formal, we got our class crest unveiled. I have been anticipating the design of the crest for the past week. I really like the 2015 class crest and how it will soon go up in the Leamy ballroom representing us alongside all the other classes. The weekend was a stress reliever from a hard week coming back from spring break. For one, our class has been having trouble performing as 4/c and we actually got one of our privileges revoked. It is the tough part of the semester where we are losing motivation, and the end of the semester and the end of being 4/c seems so close yet so far away. I feel myself impatiently waiting for the semester to end and for the huge sigh of relief that is waiting for me at the end of April. The weather is also getting warmer and all anyone wants to do is go outside and enjoy it instead of staying in the barracks and studying. I really hope the last seven weeks come and go and that we, as 4/c, get our summer assignments soon.

 

I am looking forward to having a hands-on experience this summer being on the Barque Eagle and then the cutter or at station that will get assigned to us for the second half of our summer. 3/c summer (while some of you readers might be participating in Swab Summer) consists of three parts: one being five weeks aboard the Barque Eagle traveling up and down the east coast, two being at a station or on a cutter and it can be anywhere (from Hawaii, to Alaska, Florida, Virginia, you name it), and third being the last three weeks of the summer is for our summer leave. There is so much coming up that the end of the semester seems like such a long wait, but at least we had our 4/c formal, which was a fun and successful event. I guess to make time go by a little quicker at the Academy, you have to make short-term goals and look forward to the little things that will keep you distracted as you inch closer to the summer.

 

 

More about Ellie.

 

What You Get in Return

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo Coming back home from spring leave has probably been one of the more difficult things I’ve done during my times at the Academy. Spring leave is totally different from winter leave because this time I actually went and visited my friends at college, as opposed to just hearing stories. Even though I only spend three days at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, being able to compare the life of a cadet versus the life of a regular college student was interesting and even a bit depressing. Regular college students enjoy all kinds of freedoms: being able to not go to class when they don’t feel like it, leaving campus whenever they feel like it among many other things. This was a bit depressing because I could do very few of the things they were able to.

 

When coming to the Academy you have to be prepared to give up a lot. However, in return from giving up much of your social life now, you can get a lot in return. For example, I went skydiving over spring leave, this is not something that I would have done while attending a regular college because I would probably be focused on paying off loans rather than spending my money elsewhere. In addition, I won’t have to be worried about finding a job after graduating here. So attending this institution takes a lot from your life now, however, it will pay off in the end. Any questions? Email me at Spencer.M.Zwenger@uscga.edu.

 

 

More about Spencer.

 

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! Jessica.T.Ward@uscga.edu 

 

 

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! Sara.E.Cantrell@uscga.edu.

 

 

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 upperclass 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.

 

Busy All the Time

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo Hey everyone, it’s been awhile since I have blogged but I had a decent amount of time this weekend, so I figured I would do one. I made it through last semester as Company Commander, and I am glad I was able to go through the experience. There were many times where I was stressed out, felt like I was making no difference, and buried in work. But last semester really opened my eyes about what it is to be a leader, and the sacrifices you must make for the people that you lead. I know my grades could have been better, I could have been in better shape, and could have had more free time if I had not been Company Commander. But I felt that I made a small difference in people’s lives and made their time here a little better, and that is a great feeling to have. It was a relief to be relieved earlier this semester, and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Echo Company was named Honor Company of last semester at our change of command, and it was nice to have that feeling of accomplishment after those longs months.

 

There are now around ninety days until I graduate and I must say I have never had so many problems staying focused. It is very hard to stay motivated in classes, military obligations, and overall Academy life. I know this is close to the end, and I do not understand why it is so hard to finish strong. Our class rank that determines where we go after graduation has already been finalized, so grades and military performance don’t really determine my future anymore. I find out where I will being going for the next few years in about two and a half weeks, and after that I bet it will be nearly impossible to stay focused.

 

It’s funny, you would think that second semester senior year, and everything would be incredibly relaxed for the class about to graduate. The opposite is true. I feel like no matter how many times I think a semester is going to be easy, it never is. Granted this semester is not the hardest one I have ever had, but I still find myself busy all the time. Whether it be working with 30 people to organize our upcoming Regimental Boxing Open (you should come if you are in the area…24 Feb in Billard Hall), trying to make the juniors and sophomores become qualified Officers of the Day, or working out for three or four hours a day to get in shape for spring break, I am always crunched for time. I guess this is just the life of the Academy, and a Coast Guard Officer, you never have enough time. I will be honest, part of me really wants to leave this place and get on with my life. The other part of me however, realizes that only a few short months, all the great friends I have made here will be thousands of miles away. One thing is for sure, graduation is going to be bittersweet. This chapter of my life is slowly closing, and even though it will be tough, I am determined to finish strong, and make the most of the time I have at CGA.

 

 

More about Chris.

 

Spring Break!!

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo Sunny weather, here I come! In only a few short days, I will be headed to central Florida for a fun-filled, crazy week with the crew team. I cannot wait—it’s going to be awesome.

 

Everyone here has mentally checked out already for spring break. Lots of people are going to crazy places like the Caribbean, Cabo San Lucas, or even home. Several teams are going to Florida as well. But until then, we have just three more days of school. Billet Night for the firsties is on Thursday. I really hope that all the firsties I know get the choice billets they want. Then, it’s off to party and celebrate. And for all the underclassmen, it’s SPRING BREAK!! Can you tell I’m excited?!

 

Yesterday was my first day out on the water for crew. With a whole new group of novs, our upcoming season will be so much fun. I get a new boat, as the other coxswains move up to “Candy” and our newest boat. I am really excited for the season. With all the changes on the team, I will have a new group of rowers in my boat. However, I will get to cox a four (four rowers and a cox) with the more experienced novs. With the new season fast approaching, the team did a 2K test the other day. Will Rimmler, the 1V cox, coxed me through my first one—and it sucked! I felt horrible; it was miserable. But I met my goal, so I can work to improve.

 

Well, I didn’t really have anything else to say, so I’ll try to write a (clean...ha, ha) version of what happened in Florida when we get back! Have a great Coast Guard day!

 

 

More about Peter.

 

The Fun Parts

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Martin Photo If you talk to most cadets, they will tell you how much homework they have to do, how little sleep they got last night, and whine about taking duty. Along with the drudgery, there are some sparks of fun here and there that give some light and some excitement to our dark days of February. There are many opportunities to get off base and into the world to see some cool things and meet some cool people that most people wouldn’t get to do. Over President’s Day, Officer’s Christian Fellowship had their Weekend Retreat up to Barre, Vermont where we got to frolic in the snow, stay at host family’s homes with real people, and got to have some down time and watch a game or two on TV. The main part of our time, though, was bible study with a retired Army General and his wife that were truly amazing people. He had started Delta Force, been chief of Army Corps of Engineers, they had ran over 20 marathons combined and were down to earth, honest people who took time out of their lives to come and share their experiences with us.

 

After that weekend, the Jewish Club took a trip to Annapolis, getting out of school on Friday and driving down. We stayed at the Naval Academy, which was very cool to see how amazing their campus was, but to also meet our Navy brothers and sisters (and to see how much better the Coast Guard was). We went into D.C. the next day and visited the Holocaust Museum for three hours and then got to hear from and meet a Holocaust survivor. Mr. Greenbaum had survived everything from living in a ghetto, a work camp, Auschwitz, to a 3 month long journey with nothing but a potato a day. He survived the Holocaust, but so did his faith, his hope, and his will. He is a true hero who spreads his message of hope and peace today. Next week, I get to see the Sikorsky plant and see their helicopters being made and fly in their simulators. We have so many things to do and so much to see, but the problem is finding time to do it all.

 

 

More about Matt.

 

Preparing for Cadre

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Capuzzi Photo Like most of my classmates, I still remember June 28, 2010 very well. Reporting-In Day for the Class of 2014, a day filled with both excitement and anxiety. I clearly recall waiting in line in Leamy Hall, joining my company for the ride up to Chase Hall, and, of course, getting off the bus.

 

Though it doesn’t feel like it, more than a year and a half has passed since Swab Summer commenced for the Class of 2014. Now we are preparing to be the cadre, the larger than life individuals who were responsible for forging military academy cadets out of regular high school students. And now, in just a few short months, we will be those individuals, tasked with providing a disciplined Class of 2016 to learn the ways of a Coast Guard Officer.

 

Preparation for this awesome task has already begun. During our Swab Summer, we kept a journal of sorts, called “Thoughts of the Day.” Now, we’re getting to look at them. While we didn’t care for this at the time, these notebooks now provide invaluable insight into our Swab Summer experiences. We can read about what made our good days good and our bad days bad.

 

That’s not all, though. During our professional development discussions with our company chiefs and company officers, we frequently discuss the upcoming summer. We talk about leadership styles, motivation techniques, and other relevant information. The company officers and chiefs are great sources of guidance for any Academy issue, not just Swab Summer. They are not afraid to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with cadets.

 

In addition, we are expanding our horizons by interacting with the Class of 2013. Because even class years are trained by even class years and odd class years are trained by odd class years, some strategies differ between even and odd years. By combining the best points of each, we can create the best possible training environment for the Class of 2016.

 

Congratulations to all of those appointed to the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2016. We’ll be ready for you.

 

Semper Paratus!

 

Nicholas.P.Capuzzi@uscga.edu 

 

 

More about Nick.

 

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: Adam.J.Hoburg@uscga.edu. 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: Adam.J.Hoburg@uscga.edu. 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 Stephen.T.Nolan@uscga.edu.

Semper P.
2/c Stephen Nolan

 

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