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cadet blogs

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.


A Passion for Electrical Engineering

(Academics, Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Hoburg Photo With a simple glance at my past blogs you might noticed that it has been a while since I have submitted an entry. Well I just want you to know that I am still alive an kicking and the spring semester of my 3/c year has proved to be nothing short of exciting. The reason I haven’t written in a while actually ties really nicely into the topic I would like to discuss in this blog which happens to be the academics of your second year as a cadet. 3/c year is when everybody starts to get into his or her respective major-specific classes, which can be an extremely exciting time. I have discovered that all through my academic career I have been told which classes to take and when. Now I have the opportunity to take classes that I want and decide a course of study that I really enjoy and am passionate about, which is awesome!


I am an Electrical Engineering major taking the Systems track offered here at the Academy and so far I absolutely love it. I have been very fortunate that the major I chose has turned out to be exactly what I am passionate about; I love learning how to use technology to solve the world’s problems. I would just like to highlight some of the excellent aspects of the Academy’s Electrical Engineering Department. First off, I must mention that we are an accredited program, which as little as that meant to me as a high school senior, turns out that means some really good things for future endeavors of grad school. But anyway, as far as the interesting things go, the one thing that makes our department awesome is that we are a very tight knit community. I currently have 19 classmates that are EE’s and we are all very close to each other and want nothing more than to see each succeed. Which means we will all do whatever it takes to help our classmates out when they are struggling. We really have each others’ backs because I’m going to be honest with you, EE is not an easy major but it is extremely rewarding.


That being said, each and every one of the instructors is the exact same way. They all want to see you succeed and they will not hesitate to go out of their way to stay at work late or help you on the weekends to make sure that you understand the material and pass your courses. The Engineering Department is set up in such a way that you walk into a big room with a conference table in the middle and all of the instructors offices have doors are around the room facing the conference table. This means that whenever I need help on something all I have to do is sit down at that conference table and ask one of the instructors for help and they will stop what they are doing and put my success first. They really are an excellent group of people that are all highly trained experts in their field and work very hard to make sure that labs and coursework are productive tools to help us really grasp concepts. One of the best parts I must add is that everybody chips in to provide coffee and a well stocked M&M machine for all of the EEs. Sshhh! Don’t tell the other Engineering majors.


So I sit here and glorify the Electrical Engineering Department because I have found my place academically at the Academy and I love it. But literally every major offered here has an endless list of attributes that make it great and drive their students to succeed. I know a lot of people in the Government major that talk extremely highly of their instructors and coursework and really are getting a lot out of their education. And the same goes for all the majors. It really comes down to finding what the Academy has to offer that is going to spark your inner passion and excite you to go to class every morning. I won’t lie to you, there will be days where your military, academic, and athletic requirements build up. There are going to be tough days. But if you can find that passion inside you that’s going to spark your intellectual curiosity and make you want to learn and work hard, it is all going to be worth it in the end.


I really hope my insight into the Electrical Engineering major will get you thinking about the endless possibilities that come with any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors offered here at the Academy. But whatever area you passion lies in do not be afraid to take a chance and give yourself the opportunity you deserve to succeed. If you have any further questions about any of the majors or anything about cadet life please email me at: Thank you for your time.


More about Adam.


Spring’s Here!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Hi all! Spring semester is still plugging away. We are down to the last month or so of classes, and it was back down to the grind last week after a very enjoyable spring break. I can’t think of a better way I could have spent my break! I got to spend time with my two families – my real family and my sailing family. The sailing team spent Saturday through Thursday training in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sailing back in Florida was so nice! It definitely beats wearing dry suits, which still seem like a foreign entity to me. We had four alumni join us for the training trip; they were stationed as close as down the road at sector St. Petersburg and as far away as Seattle. This was a really cool opportunity to sail with alumni who participated in college sailing for four years already, and to get to talk with junior officers in the fleet right now. Everyone does something different in the Coast Guard, so it was nice to get multiple different perspectives on fleet life.


Now, we are back to school, classes, exams, trainings, and the endless list of things to do. I feel like spring semester is so much more rushed than fall. The to-do list never ends, and it’s hard to find time to come up from air. This being said, it should go by fast. Until then it’s just day by day to get through.


As always, you can contact me at with any questions you may have!


More about Christi.