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cadet blogs

Halfway Mark!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Wu Photo It is so exciting to get past the halfway mark and having the end of the semester in sight. Everyone had a refreshing and relaxing spring break and the cadets are impatiently waiting for the warm weather to come and permanently stay at the Academy. The winter has been rough and typically has the reputation as being the “Dark Ages” here, but with the sun coming out and the temperature slowly picking up, I am excited to get back into shape! I had been suffering a minor knee injury that has kept me from regularly exercising and running, but I am slowly getting back into the swing of things and the nice weather recently has tempted me to take some nice runs outside. Running off base are truly a blessing in disguise at the Academy; it is a great stress reliever to get out of Chase Hall and explore New London or Groton! Any time you have something on your mind, whether it is school or for personal reasons, a run off base usually does the job of clearing your mind and unbundling the nerves built up.

 

The nice weather around the corner also reminds me of a very exciting summer ahead; how it is often on my mind that my classmates and I will soon embark on leadership roles this summer. It is very interesting to be on the other side of Swab Summer this time and seeing everything come together. We have multiple trainings in the morning on how the summer is going to be and the Summer Regimental Staff have been working endlessly to organize and plan. It is amazing how much we have to do this summer and how it is not just Swab Summer for us, but a whole summer full of different leadership opportunities. We also have a lot of duty to sign up for and I never realized how Chase Hall is basically run by 2/c during the summer. We have recently been signing up for different duty slots and also determining our roles as a certain cadre. It is exciting to see how the summer is just around the corner and my classmates and I are getting ready to lead individuals whether it is through Swab Summer, CGAS, or the AIM program. Aside from being cadre, I am very excited for the rest of my summer and very exciting to get everything set up for my semester at the Air Force Academy. Their semester is actually starting really early, on August 4th and I hope I will not be missing out on a lot of the summer programs we have here at the Academy. I am sure all the puzzle pieces will fall into place when the time comes! Until then, I am just taking the semester one day at a time and keeping my head above water to get to the end of the semester and through finals week!

 



More about Ellie.

 

Final Four Experiences

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Carani Photo In light of the current March Madness going on in college basketball, I did some reflecting on my “final four” experiences that I’ve had here at the Coast Guard Academy. So I now present to you, in no particular order, my “final four.” (Also note that just as in the real NCAA basketball tournament, I have divided up my “final four” experiences into separate regions where they took place!).

 

#1 (East Region) Without a doubt, one of my greatest memories since coming to the Academy was getting to take part in the Presidential Inauguration parade back in January. At the time, when I was writing about and reflecting upon my experience in the parade, I remember thinking that it was a lot of fun, but I was also VERY tired, had a lot of homework to do, and had the whole semester ahead of me to complete; so the parade was really not that important to me. Now, two months later, as I reflect once more, I am beginning to truly realize how special and rare of an opportunity I had that weekend. As I marched through D.C., and heard the cheers of the crowd, I remember feeling an extreme sense pride in the United States Coast Guard. I am truly honored to have had the privilege to attend the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, and that is why it ranks as one of my “final four” experiences.

 

#2 (Northeast Region) Over President’s Day Weekend of my 4/c year, I attended a weekend retreat in Vermont that was sponsored by Officers Christian Fellowship. This retreat gave all of the cadets who attended the chance to relax, go skiing, visit the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory, and most importantly; study the Bible and gain a better understanding of God’s Word. The speakers who led the discussions that weekend were Mr. and Mrs. Van Antwerp. Mr. Van Antwerp retired from the Army in 2011, after achieving the rank of Lieutenant General and serving as the commander of Army Corps of Engineers. He and his wife are amazing and strong Christians, who shared advice on how to live boldly for Christ. Their faith was amazing and their wisdom and insight into the Bible was great! Not only that, but I also had the opportunity to grow closer to some of my classmates that weekend, who are now four of my closest friends! (One of which is 3/c Justin Sherman, you should check out his blog articles, they’re great!) That truly was one of the pivotal weekends in my spiritual life, and one of the most memorable weekends of my life , which is why it also ranks as one of my “final four” experiences.

 

#3 (South Region) Being a part of the men’s crew team here at the Academy has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it is hard to pinpoint a single day or event that was most memorable with the crew team; because every day is fun and exciting. That being said, this past spring break when we went down to Florida was one of the best weeks of my life, for multiple reasons. For one, the entire week consisted of two practices a day, getting ready and preparing for the upcoming season. Besides the great team comradery and bonding that comes with spending an entire week practicing and hanging out with the crew team, I also had the special opportunity to hang out with my girlfriend for a couple of days that week! I hadn’t seen her since the beginning of January, so that’s why I was so thankful when Maureen (my girlfriend), my mom, and Maureen’s mom were willing to come down to Florida and work through my crazy practice schedule to find some time to spend with me! In fact, on Wednesday of that week Maureen and I got to go to Disneyworld together! It was a fantastic time, and we were so thankful for the opportunity. We definitely made memories that we will remember and treasure for a lifetime! Spending time with the crew team, my girlfriend, and going to Disneyworld, it is no wonder why this was one of the best weeks and best experiences of my Academy career!

 

#4 (Midwest Region) To round off my list of “final four” experiences, I decided to include my first trip home after beginning Swab Summer. Thanksgiving of my 4/c year – November 2011 – was the first time that I was able to return home. That was after five grueling months of Swab Summer plus the majority of the first semester of 4/c year; arguably the hardest semester at the Academy. I cannot express the emotions I felt as I visited home that first time, and how proud I felt of all that I had accomplished. It continues to be a strange yet exciting experience every time I go home, and every day that I get to spend at home with my family is a day that is truly special to me, but none are so memorable as those first days that I went home after beginning my journey at the Academy.

 



More about Luke.

 

What is Memory?

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Lukasik Photo Memory is a perplexing thing; it’s beloved, it’s life changing, it’s sweet, and it’s deceptive all at once. For all the time we spend recounting our experiences and looking back at days-gone-by, it’s vital to note that oftentimes our memories are as much the synthesis of the outside world with our own dreams, fantasies, and illusions as they are accurate depictions of the past. And this is precisely what makes them so important. Our memories are not just a reflection of what has happened to us to make us who we are; they are the very manifestation of who we are, showing, through our own interpretations of and selections of our memorable moments, how we view and define our world. I remember the things that I remember how I remember them because of who I am, and the way those events have changed me. They show how my existence is very much different than yours – perhaps we don’t even exist in the same reality, when it comes down to it. So, I say again, memory is a perplexing thing.

 

I’m nearing the end of my 2/c spring semester; a few more months, and I’ll have been at the Academy for a full three years. So what, then, has my experience been here so far? What are the memories that my mind has chosen to form, and how has it created them? What is my Academy reality? Accurate or not, in the absolute sense, I’ve considered my “Final Four:” the top four memorable moments without which my Academy experience would be a very different story.

 

Memory 1: The Challenge

 

When I arrived on R-Day, physically, I was not cut out for Swab Summer. About 15 lbs too skinny, with a moderate background running and swimming being about the extent of my athletics skills, I spent most of my summer feeling like “the weak link in the chain.” In many ways it was good for me; I was used to being independent, strong academically, taking care of myself and rarely having to go to others for any sort of assistance. My lack of brute strength taught me humility, and it taught me to trust my shipmates to pick me up off the ground when I needed it, and trust them not to begrudge me for having to do so. But, in other ways, my deficiency took a toll on me mentally. Even as my strength improved, I hated feeling like a failure, feeling like I still hadn’t earned the respect and admiration of my shipmates. I wanted to prove myself if the area where I knew I was weakest.

 

I got my chance. One blissful night toward the end of the summer the cadre were clearly getting bored with the typical IT session, so they decided to mix things up. Our company was broken into five teams, and in turn a representative from each team would challenge the others to an exercise; whichever team’s representative won the round scored a point for their team. Part of me was dreading my turn; how could I stand it if I picked the exercise challenge, and then failed? But, there was one thing I knew I could do…I could hold a plank forever. If only that exercise didn’t get taken by another team before I got up…

 

What is Memory? (Continued) PDF Icon  

 



More about Jessie.