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cadet blogs

New Roommate Every Semester

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo Hi everyone! When I go home and talk to my friends that go to “normal” college, they are always surprised to hear that I move rooms and have a new roommate every semester. This is something we do here to ensure that we can learn to deal with change and other personalities. This is good preparation for the fleet, since we will be on a boat at sea for possibly months at a time with the same people. This semester I am rooming with one of my best friends here. Last semester, my roommate and I asked to room with each other this semester. We hoped we would get it, but were not completely sure we would. However, when the rooming list came out right before Christmas break, we saw that we would be living together! We were super excited, however, a little skeptical. You see, we spend the majority of our day with each other without being roommates. We are friends, have most of the same classes, and are in the same division. Before living together, we joked that we were going to go crazy being with each other so much! Now that we have been living together for three months, I’ve found that it has worked out really well for each of us. Our key to success is being able to understand each other’s personality. For example, I am an introvert, so I like to sit quietly doing my homework with my headphones on. However, my roommate is an extrovert; she plays loud music, is always talking to others and inviting people over, or going to other people’s rooms. But since we know each other’s personalities, we have learned when to leave each other alone and when to be hyper and social.


My roommate and I have had some of the best times together this semester. In January, we went to the Statue of Liberty with our other friend, Christi Frost. We then went to my house to spend the weekend. At school, it’s awesome that we are roommates, especially when we have a test in one of our classes. We can just study in our room together. The same goes for group projects that we have together. And for division work, we are already together, so it is easy for our work to get done! But it’s not all work in this room! We are both absolutely obsessed with Frozen! Almost every night, right before bed, we listen to the Frozen soundtrack! We both know basically all the words! Much to the surprise of both of us, being roommates has been an awesome time and has truly worked out in our favor.


I believe that it is truly valuable that we switch rooms and roommates every semester here at the Academy. It teaches us how to deal with others in close quarters. It prepares us for the fleet when we may be stuck on a boat with only 100 other people for months at a time. It is a truly valuable lesson.



More about Kayla.


Major Decision

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Seaman Photo Choosing the major you’re going to study for the next four years can be a difficult decision. I applied as a Government major, but this past week switched into Operations Research and Computer Analysis. I chose to switch for many reasons. Operations Research is geared toward solving problems through math and logic. I find that appealing because there is always a need for advancement or more efficiency. Also, this year I realized that math comes more easily to me than other subjects. Operations Research is a math-oriented major, as opposed to Government, which is mostly writing.


The use of computers and problem solving is also a growing field in both the Coast Guard and the civilian world. I believe that the computer programming taught in the major is both interesting and a helpful skill to have with today’s advancing technology. When I made this decision, I talked to a couple teachers and upper class. I found that our majors do not have much weight when determining our jobs in the fleet, but come into play when we retire and join the civilian sector. From there I thought about which major, paired with great operational knowledge from the fleet, would provide me with the best job. I determined that to be OR. Even though I won’t be majoring in Government, the Academy still has many opportunities for me to be involved in the subject. For example, we are required to take a Government course 3/c year and I have been told that there are opportunities for OR majors to work alongside Government majors in some of the projects they work on.


Through this experience, I have learned that there is no right major to study at the Academy. The right major is the one that you can be most interested in and most successful at. So don’t worry if you aren’t sure of what you want to major in yet because 4/c year does a good job of showing you your strengths and interests academically, and it is easy to switch once you get here.



More about Rachel.


1/c Capstone Projects

(Academics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo As we approach first class year, people begin to consider capstone projects. These are usually year-long projects that challenge cadets to confront a large-scale, real-world problem while incorporating what they have learned in their previous three years of study. Cadets get to choose, or in many cases, design their own capstone project, which means that you get to devote yourself to something that you are truly passionate about.


There are a wide variety of capstone projects each year, but some of the most interesting are the Coast Guard projects that cadets can choose from. A good friend of mine is a mechanical engineer and he is working on creating a sling and recovery system for a Coast Guard small boat. Undergraduate students rarely get to make things that play such a big role in the real world. Another good example is electrical engineering majors at the Academy are working to improve a dynamic positioning system (DPS). Coast Guard buoy tenders use DPS in order to keep position in variable currents and winds. Another good friend of mine, a management major, is working on a project to determine if the Coast Guard is making the best decisions in allocating money based on geographical location. All of these projects not only help them refine their craft, but can also have a direct and long-term impact on Coast Guard missions.


I am still undecided what I want to do my capstone project on. There are a lot of good options. Right now, we have students working on mustard gas toxicity research as well as diabetes research. Other areas of research include oil spill fingerprinting, which is something that the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab does every day. There are a multitude of opportunities; the hard part is making a decision.



More about Alex.


Anticipation of Summer Adventures

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ledzian Photo Second semester I am taking less credit hours of class, 20, an easier semester on paper at least. Now three months into the semester I am still trying to match my rhythm from first semester. Boards, school work and track occupy what seems like every waking moment of every day. Spring break was a week of reprieve but once I returned to the Academy it was quickly forgotten. I do miss the warm Florida weather, only to be replaced with freezing conditions in New London. I remember enjoying the cold weather and snow, for about two weeks. Spring seems to be taking its time. The anticipation of summer adventures and an end to a long school year is pervasive. I will be traveling the Caribbean on Eagle and then head up to Station St. Emerald Isle. It is exciting to think of the coming adventures: climbing the rigging on Eagle, visiting foreign ports, and taking out a small boat. It is also easy to get trapped in a bubble and forget about the outside world, but soon I will get to leave to the Academy, for the summer at least.



More about Patrick.


Another Level of Engineering

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Frost Photo Engineers taking it to another level post dust explosion...Thankfully the dust in Chase Hall doesn't combust#FMGlobal#RealEngineers


More about Christi.





Women Engineers in Action

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Just catapulting your average 2 x 4 projectiles#SocietyOfWomenEngineersTrip#ExploringFMGlobal


More about Sarah.





Time Really Flies

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo #3weekstillcadre#unreal#thirdclassformal #ringdance#lacrosseplayoffs#ICANTWAITFORCIVIES


More about Lucy.





Ring Dance 2014

(Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo Unbelievable, bittersweet and extraordinary. Incredible night, friends, and shipmates, and an amazing class to be a part of. Two thooousand fifteen, one year to go!


More about Lindsay.





My New Social Skills

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo “How are you sir?” ”Good.” “How are you ma’am? “Good” “How are you sir?” “Good” #MyNewSocial Skills#getusedtoit#responsiblity#4/cProbz


More about Keemiya.





Things I Look Forward To

(Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo Hot sun, crashing beach waves, toes in the sand, good food and good times: Can’t wait for my trip to Mexico in one month! Summer hurry up!


More about Jade.





What Awaits Us

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Opportunities beyond compare. Though we complain, we know. There’s more to this life than we can see right now, just waiting to be achieved.


More about Sarah.





Too Much Time

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo I'm not above making up words just to sound intelligent propertastically. Everyday I genercreate new words. #toomuchtime#studyforfinals?


More about Keemiya.





Big Things Ahead

(Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo I miss blaring country music out the windows of my truck and seeing the mountains in my backyard. Less than a month until I’m Montana bound.


More about Jade.





Hard to Believe

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo Trying to get a grasp on it all, there are just so many things I’ve done this year that I never could have imagined. Is this reality?


More about Sarah.





Best Swab Summer Advice

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Always remember, “Nothing you’re asked to do during your Coast Guard career will be something you’re incapable of. You’re here for a reason” Good luck!


More about James.





Story of My Life

 Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo Reveille. Breakfast. Class. Lunch. Class. Crew Practice. Dinner. Homework. Shower. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. #StoryOfMyLife


More about Keemiya.





A Semester Wrap-Up

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo These last few weeks have been so hectic, I am mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I am actually looking forward to finals week.


More about Jade.





Never Let Go

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo The Coast Guard Academy is something you must earn, not just to get the appointment, but each and every day after. You have to want it for a reason and never let go of it.


More about Sarah.





Commencement Excitement

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Townsend Photo This semester is flying by; I can’t believe there are only a few weeks left until I walk across the stage and graduate. I have never been more excited for the future!


More about Brianna.





Finding Myself as a Leader

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo It’s hard to believe that April is already here. What is even crazier to think about is that I’m a little over a month away from starting my 2/c summer. It seems as if just yesterday I was reporting in as a swab! But two years have quickly passed by and it is my turn to lay the foundation for future Coast Guard officers. When I put it like that, it sounds so crazy – that’s so much responsibility for a 21 year old! But in that same regard, I feel that I am ready. The Academy really makes you grow up and become incredibly mature.


One thing that I have come to appreciate about this place is that it really makes you find yourself. This is something that I didn’t acknowledge or believe until recently; in the past I was always quick to say something along the lines of “we don’t really get the opportunity to express ourselves,” but I don’t agree with that anymore. What I’ve come to realize is that while the military makes you fit a certain prescribed standard, we still have the ability to form our own spin off of it.


This realization hit me once I started thinking about the type of leader I want to be over cadre summer. And for the first time, I found myself having answers to these questions – answers that differ from each and every one of my classmates. Over the course of the past two years when I thought that I was being created from the recipe all military officers are made from, what I was subconsciously doing was creating a list of things I like and dislike, slowly molding my own personal leadership style. Looking back on this past year, I see how I developed as a 3/c and role-model for the 4/c. I am passionate and empathic with a drive to help others no matter what the cost. I am a motivator and morale-booster (or at least I try to be!). Moreover, I am extremely extroverted and get my energy from interacting with people; getting to know them on a more meaningful level. All of these qualities plus many more have made me into the leader I will be over the summer as a Waterfront Cadre.


I am excited to utilize all that I have learned these past two years and really figure out the type of leader I am. As Waterfront 1 Cadre, I will be present on R-Day, which will challenge my softer side as I will need to be stern but down at the waterfront, I can hone my people skills by teaching the swabs how to sail. Altogether, I am excited for what is to come with my time left at the Academy – I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!



More about Allie.


The Best Word to Describe Cadets: Divergent

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo Veronica Roth’s hit novel Divergent was on the top of my list to read over spring break, but never did I expect to be so captivated by its simple themes. Like many popular reads I quickly saw the parallels between the values of the fictional futuristic society and that of the Academy: intelligence, selflessness, honesty, peace, and bravery are all elements weighted in different ways in our world. I wanted to give a brief humorous anecdote of how each has shaped me as a cadet and shown that living in that fictional world, I could only be a misfit; divergent.


1. Intelligence is the fundamental aspect related to a cadet’s development while at the Academy. Sometimes asking dumb questions has been a reminder of this, such as asking where my sample for material science left in the power lab was. My professor quickly responded, unless you moved it, still in the power lab.


2. Selflessness is in our service’s name and apparent in many circumstances in Chase Hall. For example, switching other people’s laundry in the laundry rooms is a common practice, even if you do not know the cadet. So clearly, dropping my dirty crew clothes off before heading out to another regatta it was assumed I would come back later that day to cleaned spandex. Instead I found a 4/c’s clean laundry in my bag and my laundry gone missing. Selfless service can lead to one pair of black socks.


3. Honesty is one of the three core values we uphold at the Academy but being too direct can often lead me into awkward situations. I accidentally played the song “Turn Down for What” instead of reveille the other morning so every cadet in Chase Hall woke to it. The spirit mission was intentional but unfortunately I let in on the plan, so the responsibility fell directly on me. I could honestly admit that playing the wrong CD was a mistake, but I could not take credit for the mischief. Neither a victim nor a rebel, I fell somewhere in the category of awkward middle cadet…but at least I was honest?


4. Peace can be a good and bad attribute, or else it would not have been included in Roth’s book. Toward the end of March Madness my Connecticut pride showed more than usual and instigated some friction in my hallway. With UCONN winning both men and women’s national championships I am proud to say I won the fight, but it cost some pretty feisty whiteboard arguments in the process of defending my great state.


5. Bravery is the last and arguably the most admirable trait both in fiction and the Academy. I wish I could share some monumental epic right here, but instead I have to say that the courage to try anything can land you in a humiliating place. Due to two shoulder surgeries I have had to push my physical fitness credits back until this semester, where I am taking an eight week personal defense course trying to catch up. My lack of coordination is embarrassing enough, but falling flat on my face in front of a Class of 2017 is probably as humiliating as it gets.


With every embarrassing memory throughout this month have come the development of some traits and the reverse of others. Collectively, fingers crossed, they will help me to become a stronger leader, which Miss Veronica Roth would be proud to call divergent.



More about Sarah.


It's About Time!

(Overcoming Challenges, Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo Well, the clock is ticking, there are only four and a half weeks left in fourth class year. Many things have occurred this past year, and I definitely feel like I have grown as a person. I have been pushed mentally, emotionally, and physically during this year, so it is safe to say that I am ready to move on toward becoming a third class next year.


Recently, we received our assignments for the summer, so this has been what I have been leaning on this semester when life seems to get tough. During the first five weeks of my summer, I actually have the opportunity to sail around the Caribbean, taking port calls in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and Miami! Since I have lived in the South my entire life before coming to the Academy, I have never been a fan of cold weather so this year has been a huge adjustment. But thankfully, I don't travel north of my home state of Georgia for the whole summer! This means two things: warm weather as well as being close to my friends and family back down South. As if my summer could not get any more exciting, I also get the privilege to work at a Coast Guard unit in Alabama for six weeks. During my time there, I will be working in the operational Coast Guard. I will be traveling there with one of my classmates who I just recently met, so it should be an adventure to say the least. Word on the street is that this particular unit is very busy the majority of the time, so it really gets my blood pumping just thinking about it.


At the end of the day, I could not honestly say what is more exciting: earning the privilege of becoming a third class or getting immersed into the Coast Guard fleet for a large chunk of this upcoming summer. I am looking forward to being able to not have to brace up in the hallways (I'll be able to relax while walking through the hallways) in addition to having my own fourth class next year. Since I will have been in their shoes so recently, I want to be the person who is able to make their day that much better, helping them through this crazy life of being a Coast Guard cadet. The only thing I will never get used to is coming back from summer vacation and being addressed as "sir" by kids virtually the same age as me. Nevertheless, my heart pounds in my chest just thinking about it all, slowly becoming one step closer to graduating as a Coast Guard officer in a mere three years. Bring it on!



More about Colton.


Swimming at the Academy

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Seaman Photo Sports are a great way to have fun and become involved at the Academy. We have sports period from 4 to 6 p.m. during the week and it is a great time to relax and forget about academics. I swim here at the Academy and we just finished our season this past weekend at NEWMACs. The season was awesome and I really enjoyed swimming for our team. The team and coaches are amazing so we always have a fun time doing team events. After a few Saturday practices, we went out to breakfast as a team and we just recently volunteered as a team in a nearby elementary school’s basket raffle. Along with the incredible experiences and camaraderie, my times improved significantly this season. The coaches make great practices and are very helpful when it comes to giving advice to fix your stroke. I would highly recommend swimming for the Academy if you have a background in the sport. Dropping time, cheering everyone on and spending the day together at NEWMACs was a great way to end my first season at the Academy. I am excited for next season and the new opportunity it will bring to improve my swimming.


If you have any questions about swimming here or anything else, you’re more than welcome to send me an email!



More about Rachel.


My Tour on Bertholf

(Life as a Junior Officer, Class of 2012) Permanent link
Shih Photo It’s been about a year since I last wrote, but after someone on my ship discovered my blogs and kindly posted them all throughout the cutter, it reminded me that I should give an update on how my first tour is going. Suppo, I hope you’re reading this and playing the Rocky theme song while you do.


I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I graduated and my swabs are about to become ensigns. I hope they have a great rest of their senior year…but the ones coming to the ship should probably get here as soon as possible.


Anyway, last patrol was pretty long, five months, but we did great as a ship and busted a bunch drugs. We had a quick in-port period and then we went up to Portland, Oregon for a dry dock. The ship was taken out of the water and put up on blocks, which was pretty cool to see. Oregon has great food, beer, and friendly people…not a bad place to be. I also was finally able to take a little bit of leave and visit the East Coast and see friends I hadn’t see for almost a year and a half. Jacksonville, Pensacola, Charleston, Boston, and New York – it was pretty sweet. After that it was all about preparing for Command Assessment for Readiness and Training (CART), which I won’t really go into but it’s not very fun and involves a lot of paperwork, inventory, and procurement requests. I’m glad that’s done. Luckily right after that, our ship got to go underway and conduct HELOSTAN (which is essentially ensuring we are ready to take on helicopters onboard our ship). HELOSTAN wasn’t as bad as CART…but now we have Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA), which is run by the same guys who did CART. TSTA is comprised of drills, drills, drills…shouldn’t be too bad…hopefully. From there it will be another patrol. However, there will be lots of San Diego time, which is always a good thing.


As my tour on Bertholf comes to a close I have a lot of mixed feelings. It definitely was rough at times as there is a lot of work and a lot to learn, but I did experience a great deal and met a lot of awesome people. The people were definitely my favorite part of the job. For those who decide to put in for a WMSL (Legend-class maritime security cutter), just know it’s a lot of days away from home port. Between patrols, school, and dry dock I would say I was only actually in Alameda seven months out of the 24. Lots of experience…not so much time in my own bed. But, if you want the most exposure possible to Coast Guard missions, put in for the Island.


If I am being honest, I don’t think I’ve had a more difficult period of time in my life than sailing on Bertholf (it could totally be a 1st tour thing I guess…but being a 4/c was much easier ). It’s been a roller coaster ride with a lot of different things, but when I step back I can see if this was the hardest I’ve had it, then I have it pretty good. I will say the Coast Guard has given me a lot, and I am grateful for it. This gig is a pretty good deal.


So my next job is on the Island by the way, three years working in Alameda, and living in the city. I’m pretty excited, working in the Command Center as a Law Enforcement Duty Officer (LEDO). It was #5 on my list this time I think, which is a big step up from #38 (or whatever it was last time). As always, let me know if you have any questions. Take care!



More about Chris.


Serving Our Country

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo Liberty! Liberty! Liberty! The call you will hear on Eagle when liberty is being granted. Liberty is one of the coolest things because it means you are about to step foot into a city you never have before, and the first step you take off of the Eagle is the one that redefines you. As such, I am no longer going out as Keemiya Pourmonir. I am going out as a member of the United States Coast Guard. The weirdest experience is when someone calls me ma’am or thanks me for my service to our country.


My reaction? “What service? I have’t done anything yet?” But quickly I realized that choosing to serve is a service in itself. I still feel humbled at the mention of thanks and gratitude but I began to accept the idea that I have the opportunity to serve our country, that many don’t have the courage to accept. Liberty is going to restaurants, movies, and other community gatherings, but it is also giving the community a chance to get to know who we are and what we do as representatives of such a great service as the United States Coast Guard.



More about Keemiya.


On the Road

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo I have mentioned in previous blogs posts that I had the misfortune of dealing with an injury that forced me to quit rowing. As a result, I started shooting rifle – a much less impactful, easy on the body sport. In fact, it happens to be too easy and is not the kind of energy release I need. Rifle is beneficial in a good many ways, but it lacks the adrenaline pinching, muscle melting action that I was once a part of. Running, no matter how hard I try, has never been my thing (nor is it good for the injury I received). To this day, I have to watch what I do and be mindful of my body’s limits. This, as you can imagine, has been quite the nuisance. For a long time, I wasn’t getting the exercise that I needed and wanted. My typical afternoon workouts never ended with that endorphin “I think I am dead” sensation that I was so used to. This irked me, so I finally did something about it. I spoke with some folks on the triathlon team and soon found myself at the bike store picking out a sweet set of wheels. That day changed everything. I walked away with a hole in my wallet and my new best friend, a Trek Lexa SL road bike.


My experience with this bike is hard to compare. I have finally found the fix I need when it comes to exercise. Of course, I continue to do my morning swims and afternoon body weight workouts, but biking brings it all together. There is nothing like flying 20 mph down a flat stretch of road, leaning on the aero bars, feeling that burn in my legs. Hills are even better; the only pitfall is ignorant motorists. All in all, I couldn’t be more thankful for having found an exercise niche that suits my needs.



More about Alexis.


Memorization? Not Just for Indoc Anymore!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo The Coast Guard Academy, while being a STEM school, also has a highly engaged and active Humanities Department. 4/c year, cadets are required to take an English class each semester. This semester, I’m in Honors Writing about Literature, in which cadets spend time composing, memorizing, and reciting a poem in front of the class. The prompt this year was to write about a significant moment in our lives, or a situation that took our emotions to different ends of the spectrum, and model that poem after one studied in class or on our own. In my poem, based on “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, I reflected on the influence of my dad, specifically his three-month deployment to Qatar with the Air Force, on my own military career.


Usually writing and reciting is all for the assignment; for myself and a few others, though, that recitation goes further, into a full-fledged competition. We participated in a 4/c Poetry Slam, performing our pieces for our classmates and Academy faculty. Poems compete in two categories, “Best Performance” and “Best Poem,” with a winner and an honorable mention for each. Some poems were very personal and poignant, perhaps relating the sickness or pain of a loved one; a couple went for a more humorous touch, for example, one that satirically demonstrated an obsession with social media! It’s a small-scale competition, but once again, an opportunity to perform for an audience and utilize our creative talents. All the poems were very well-written, with beautiful images and emotion underneath them. I had a blast presenting for the crowd, and hearing the unique poems my classmates had created!


I’m really hoping to take more English and creative writing classes later on at the Academy; I hadn’t realized how much writing means to me until I got here. There’s not a whole lot of writing required of cadets, especially for me as a science major; but, if you want to explore language more, there are plenty of opportunities for creative writing contests, publication in a student literary magazine, and so on. I never expected to get such a kick out of editing papers, and scribbling down the thoughts in my head. Just another way this place gets to you, I suppose…


More about Abby.


But Ma, I Don’t Want to Take Boards

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Doctolero Photo It’s that time of year again and I have never been so glad not to be a 4/c. Boards are coming up. The 4/c board is basically a 10 question “What fun facts do you know about the Coast Guard?” test. The thing that stinks is that the packet for the test is like 80 pages and you have no idea what they are going to ask so you have to study the whole thing. As a 3/c, I offer help but if the 4/c don’t want it, then the only real thing you have to do is take them to the exam and stand there and listen. Luckily for me my 4/c is self-sufficient so I just took him to the board and he passed on the first try. Yay me! Some kids take five or six tries to pass. This year the board was ridiculously easy. Compared to our exam, they basically spoon fed the answers.


On the bright side, spring break was awesome! It was my first time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Unfortunately, I could have done without all the wind, but you can’t have it all. It’s a beautiful place, but it still doesn’t beat Miami. I live where others vacation; I’m proud of my city.


Anyway, now we are just waiting for all the other 4/c to pass boards so that they can get carry-on. And that means that our 3/c privileges are right around the corner. Woo-hoo civies and shorts! I can’t wait. And when I say shorts, I don’t mean an article of clothing in which people wear on the lower halves of their body to show off their legs. It means that you can sleep someplace other than Chase Hall on Saturday night. As boring as these things sound, it means a lot to you when you’re a cadet. They take away the basics and give them back one by one to make you think you’re getting something great. It’s kind of like taking one of your friend’s bracelets in January then giving it to her as a gift for her birthday in October. She had no idea she already owned it and is just happy to get a gift.



More about Rheanastasia.


In the Finest Tradition of Procrastination!

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Driscoll Photo To all my blog readers, I apologize for my lengthy absence from the cadet blog pages. I’ve decided that I will finally sit down and let you all know what I have been doing. In the finest tradition of procrastination, I am using this blog post as an excuse to not write a paper or take an online test!


March was a very busy month. For some reason, the spring semester here flies by in the blink of an eye. Coast Guard Crew traveled to Clemson, South Carolina for a week of training. We drove down, instead of flying this year; the passenger-side mirror fell off in a toll booth outside Baltimore, and we ended up adding five hours to our trip, waiting at a service station for repairs! Spring break only got better from there: we practiced twice daily, and sometimes three times a day. The water was calm, the weather was warm but not hot, and the rowing was great. At the end of the week, we came back to dreary New London to put what we had practiced into action on the racecourse.


The week after we returned to the Academy, I left for Italy. I received the opportunity to represent the Coast Guard Academy at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law’s Competition for Military Academies in San Remo, Italy! As the only second-class on the team, it was a great honor to work with the firsties and be the face of the Coast Guard to teams from other military academies from around the world. The competition revolved around a simulated conference, where mixed teams (my team consisted of a German air force cadet, a Swiss army captain, and myself.) worked through different scenarios and provided advice to a “commander” about the law of armed conflict. My favorite part of the week was meeting all sorts of new friends and exploring San Remo with them; now I have contacts throughout Europe, Nigeria, and India if I ever vacation there! San Remo had great food, warm temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Of course, when we returned to New London, Connecticut it had none of these things.


My flight from Italy landed in Boston at 2215 last Friday, and we got back to Chase Hall at 0230. I woke up at 0600 for our first regatta against Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, Wesleyan won by fifteen seconds. That won’t be happening again! We are practicing twice as intensely to make sure we race well and rank at the top of our league. As Coach says, “The days when Coast Guard was the whipping boy of our league are over.” Now we have to show everyone that!


There is so much more happening this semester. Ring Dance is coming up quickly: it is the last weekend of April. I don’t know if I can wait until the end of the month to get my class ring! It’ll be a great bonding moment as a class—the end is in sight! We are also competing at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia in early May. This will be the first time we have competed there since the 1970s, and I can’t wait to show the rowing community how resurgent we are! Then there is summer training coming…but that is best left for another post!


If you want to help me procrastinate more, please email me at with your questions, comments, or concerns. Have a great Coast Guard day, readers!



More about Peter.


1/c Summer: Internships and Underway

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo As great as the school year is, a huge part of our education comes during our summers. Each class has a specific summer plan designed to build leadership skills and introduce them into the operational Coast Guard. 4/c summer is Swab Summer, an introduction and boot camp program for incoming cadets. 3/c is your first experience in the fleet where you work as a non-rated enlisted member. 2/c summer you act as a cadre training the incoming cadets as well as practicing your leadership skills on T-boats and the new L-44’s. Finally 1/c summer is back out to the fleet. It allows you to “shop” for a job that you will enjoy as an ensign, as well as getting you familiar with life as a junior officer.


This summer I am going to CGC Willow, which is a 225-foot buoy tender home ported out of Newport, Rhode Island. I am excited to work with the ship’s officers and crew to see what life is like on a black hull, and see if it is something that I want to do once I graduate. The second part of my summer is in Seward, Alaska as an intern at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Here, I will be working with injured seals that need rehabilitation. Once again, I have been lucky to receive an amazing opportunity. This rounds out my summer so that I not only receive professional military training, but also a fantastic academic experience.


I am looking forward to the rest of the semester, and to see what the summer brings. Spring semester always flies, especially with spring training for rowing. After the summer is over, I will be a 1/c cadet and only one year from graduation.


More about Alex.


Service to Country and Humanity

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sandri Photo It is almost the end of March, and it feels like the end of the school year is just around the corner! The 4/c now have full wardroom carry-on, so it’s nice being able to go down to dinner and act like a normal person. Everyone in the class has now passed boards, so we are anticipating full carry-on to hopefully arrive soon.


On another note…congratulations to the prospective cadets who have received their appointments to the Academy and prep school! At this time last year, I was in the process of deciding which college to attend when my admissions officer said something that caught me by surprise. He told me that the Coast Guard Academy is unlike other schools in that it will recruit but won’t try to convince students to accept their appointments—we have to want it for ourselves. I had never heard a statement like this before, as most colleges do everything they can to entice students to accept, but it helped in putting my options into perspective. The CGA is a special place because at its core is a pure and simple mission: to educate and train leaders in the Coast Guard.


To be blunt, Academy life is challenging. But people don’t primarily come here to have fun, (though that is sometimes part of the equation), or collect a big paycheck. Most of us came here to do our part in making the world just a little bit brighter, through service to country and humanity. When days get rough, I remember that it was my decision to come here, and I am glad that hardship was something the Admissions Office made clear right off the bat. If you are passionate about service and the sea, the Coast Guard Academy is really a terrific place to be, and it was definitely the right choice for me. Good luck in choosing the right college, and as always, feel free to email me with any questions!



More about Eva.


A Much Needed Spring Break

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo If I could tell you one thing about the Academy, it is that time flies while here as a cadet. It is already the end of March of my sophomore year here and in a few short months I will be training the incoming class of 2018. All of it seems unreal considering the fact that it feels like just yesterday I was a swab.


After a couple seemingly long months without leave, a spring break was much needed. This month for spring break I jetted out to Orlando with a couple friends to go to Universal Studios and Disney World. I also have a friend who is interning at Disney this semester, and I got to see him for the first time in a long time. I got to see both Universal Parks and Epcot at Disney, and it was great to finally get some sun, have some fun and catch up with friends.


From experience, I know that time really starts to fly after spring break, and second semester ends before you know it. However, coming back from spring break was kind of rough. It was definitely tough to get back into the school grind after such a long lovely break. However, it’s already fourth quarter and final projects are already starting to pop up.


For now, I am just anxious for March and April to be over, because I get to go home, and to go to Mexico on vacation with my family in May. I also get to see my brother graduate high school in the first week of June. Going home will be a great way to start the summer, and I absolutely cannot wait to become a cadre and finally be able to train the new swabs like I was trained two summers ago.


More about Jade.


Awaiting Full Carry-On

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Kuntz Photo The time has come where everyone has now passed their boards and we can now officially look at our food! Wardroom carry-on may not be understood by some of you reading this, but let me tell you, I have never been so excited to eat like a normal person in my life. We still have to be braced up and square back up in the barracks, but day-to-day life and morale among my class is at an all-time high! There are so many things to look forward to that it’s masking the growing anxiousness for full carry-on (to an extent).


The other day we got our summer assignments! I will be going to a small boat station after sailing ends this spring and then I’ll spend about six weeks aboard Eagle with some of my classmates! I’ve heard mixed reviews about Eagle – some people love it, some people don’t love it so much, and some people have been pretty impartial. But everyone I’ve talked to has said it was definitely an experience. I mean, when else will I be on a pirate-esque ship with around 100 of my classmates!? Not to mention, some of my best friends at the Academy will be with me and we are determined to make this one of the best summers to date!


It hit me the other day how close I’ve gotten to some of the people here. When the Dark Ages struck and we didn’t see the sun for like two weeks, it was the people that made this place bearable. We’re supposed to find out company assignments here too sometime in the near future and it’ll be awesome to see who/where we all get stuck with! Until then, it’s once again back to the books and back on the water!



More about Savannah.


Go Rhea It’s Your Birthday…

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Doctolero Photo February is my favorite month. Not for Valentine’s Day, or the fact that it means only three months left of school. It’s my birthday month! I’m really excited. Gone are the days that I’m called a teenager; I’m finally the big 2-oh! And only one more year until the even bigger milestone. It’s upsetting how miserably cold it is still. In Miami, it would be warming up by now, but instead of getting warmer it feels like it’s getting colder. There are people making snowmen for crying out loud.


Not much is new in the world of academics. My classes are still mildly difficult and we still have so many trainings I can’t think straight. God knows how many times I’ve taken that alcohol awareness training, and I can’t even drink.


This year Valentine’s Day fell on Presidents Day weekend. My boyfriend flew up and we went to Boston. I had never been before but it will definitely be a place I visit again. We went to a spa, comedy shows, painting, tons of sightseeing, and of course shopping. It was a great weekend and was a much needed vacation. It’s nice to have a break. My dad always told me work for the breaks, and it’s easier when they are so close together. Speaking of breaks, spring break is right around the corner and it’s going to be a good one. I’m spending a week in Myrtle Beach and I can’t wait. Bikinis, sun, and seafood? Count me in.



More about Rheanastasia.


What Makes the Corps Great

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cadet Beck They don’t call the first half of spring semester “The Dark Ages” for nothing. Between snow, rain, and (my personal favorite) ice pellets constantly falling and below freezing temperatures, there isn’t much to look forward to each day. This week we switched back to short sleeved uniforms, and while the ice storm yesterday made this seem premature, the bright sunshine sparkling on the Thames and temperatures expected to soar to 50 degrees have everyone smiling.


In the depths of the Dark Ages, though, there were still small things to keep us all going. The Hedrick Fellow and the Ethics Forum were just a few weeks ago where we heard from some amazing speakers like Justice Antonin Scalia and Mr. Paul Bucha, Medal of Honor recipient. While most college students spend their evenings managing their time however they please, we all rushed from class to practice to dinner then back into uniform for these presenters and we were not disappointed. Following their presentations, I had many conversations with my shipmates about their presentations, all of us were engaged and thinking about what they had to say. A few people commented at how silently 900 cadets could sit and listen, especially to Justice Scalia.


Currently we are in Eclipse Week, celebrating diversity and how each of us makes the corps stronger because of our differences. Coach Herman Boone (portrayed by Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans) spoke to us last night to kick off the week. Each speaker we hear from is of such a high caliber, I really feel lucky to be here and am proud to give up hours out of my study time to listen to them.


My favorite thing about this place isn’t what makes it like a normal college; it’s what sets it apart. The desire to learn and grow from others and hear about these unique experiences makes my education far richer than I would expect from any other institution.



More about Laura.


Academy Life Goes By Quick

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Racz Photo With the end of spring break came the beginning of the final stretch toward the end of 4/c year. It is crazy to look back and see how far I have come. It seems like just yesterday that I was walking through the arches on Reporting-In Day back in July. Everyone tells you that the Academy life goes by quick, but I never really comprehended that until now. I’ve accomplished a lot this year and I can’t believe that I will be a third class in a matter of months.


Toward the end of the month, the Class of 2017 passed boards. The end of the indoctrination process is a key milestone in the life of a cadet and it has been a huge relief to know that it is all over. With the passing of boards comes privileges and, of course, full carry-on. The light at the end of the tunnel is within sight and now all we can do is wait. Obtaining the privilege of full carry-on will make Academy life that much better and enjoyable.


Crew has been going well. My spring break was devoted to a training trip down in Clemson, South Carolina. The entire week was a great experience and I definitely enjoyed becoming closer with my teammates. The typical day went something like this: wake up for a morning row, go to lunch in the Clemson University dining hall, relax or nap for a few hours, go out for an afternoon row, eat dinner at the dining hall, go back to the hotel to relax, and then repeat. It was a grueling week, but fun and beneficial nonetheless. I felt that I definitely improved my rowing skill on that trip. I look forward to using what I learned during the week, and apply it to my rowing back at the Academy. As a freshman, I am fortunate enough to have made the varsity boat. It is rare for a freshman to make varsity, but I will do my best to embrace the opportunity. We start races soon, so I look forward to that.


If you have any questions about crew, 4/c year, or the Coast Guard Academy in general, always feel free to contact me. Thanks for reading!



More about Benjamin.


Time Has Gotten Away From Me

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Daniels Photo Hello All,

I find myself with only four weeks left in my first year here at the Academy, and even though I am happy to be moving on, it seems a little strange that the time has passed so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I was experiencing Swab Summer, running around and yelling answers at my cadre’s questions. For me, the past few months have been very busy – between the multitude of band events and concerts combined with classes and military obligations – and time seems to have gotten away from me.


Last weekend, the cadet jazz group, made up of me and six other cadets and Bandmaster Ian Frenkel, travelled to the Marriott in Mystic to perform for a Coast Guard Auxiliary function. This was an awesome opportunity to meet some of the Auxiliary, and talk to them about what they do. We played for about 40 minutes preceding their awards ceremony, and they were extremely appreciative of our time, and it was a great experience for me. If you come to the academy, and find yourself wanting to get involved more, I highly suggest the music programs. They get you involved in both Academy and non-Academy functions, and you will make a great group of friends.


With so little time left until the end of classes, the workload is growing, but I am able to manage my time better and get everything out of the way so I can enjoy my free time. That’s what I’ve found the Academy to be more about than anything else, learning to manage your time so you have opportunity to do everything with time left to relax and unwind at the end of the day.


My summer assignment this year is to an 87-foot patrol boat, the Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk out of Panama City, Florida! I couldn’t be more excited to be going there, and I expect to get a lot of work toward my qualifications done this summer. These summers spent out in the fleet really help give a better perspective on the “real” Coast Guard, and I can’t wait for this chance to get out there.


Until next time.


More about Drew.


Sailing in 30 Degree Weather

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Kuntz Photo For the first time in my life, I didn’t make the twenty-two hour road trip from home to our house in Florida for Spring Break, instead spent it up north in Maryland with the sailing team for spring training. I was kind of bummed not to be going somewhere warm or with my friends who went to places like Cancun or Puerto Rico, but all in all it was an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.


Back home, I only sailed from late May until around September when soccer season started, and Lake Erie freezes in the winter which makes dinghy sailing hard (although we have some awesome friends who do ice sailing, it’s not really my thing). Anyway, I’ve never had to deal with dry suits or sailing in 30 degree weather! I can say it definitely has not been my favorite, and I am counting down the days until the weather gets warm enough where the ice isn’t forming on the boom…


We sailed out of St. Mary’s College and practiced on the water almost every day. It was really cool to be with everyone and be away from the Academy. I really got close with some of the people on the team, especially some of the other 4/c who I didn’t really get a chance to get to know that well in the fall! Coming back was way easier than some of my friends here who had to leave the warm beach to come back to Connecticut. At least we were in the cold, miserable weather the whole time so it wasn’t as much of a shock. Life’s all about perspective!



More about Savannah.


From Lazy to Productive in 2.3 Seconds

(Academics, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Doctolero Photo Coming back wasn’t as dreadful as I expected. Do not get me wrong, I love going on break. I went to Charleston, Jacksonville and Miami. I did a little of everything. And I LOVE Christmas. This year I must have been a good girl this year because Santa brought me everything I wanted, including an iPad. As the school year started I was excited to hit the books again. I can only take so much laziness; it was time for me to start being productive again. This semester I have more classes that pertain to my major, which means math all day. I can’t wait.


I’m also in a new division. I’m in the PFE retake division. That means that we take care of all the people that fail or can’t take the PFE. They basically just keep testing until they do pass. Hopefully there aren’t too many people. Taking the PFE once a semester sucks, I can only imagine taking it 3 or 4 times.


I’m hoping that this semester is better than the last. Not because my grades where bad or anything, they were actually really good, but there’s always room for improvement. I’m staying motivated this semester and I’m going to make improvements.


More about Rheanastasia.


April and the Living’s…Relatively Hard

(Academics, Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Krakower Photo I feel terrible that I haven’t been able to post in so long, but to put it lightly, my workload has been absolutely insane as of late. Papers are flying in everywhere, nautical charts need to be prepped, tests and quizzes are being taken, and presentations are being given. On top of that, so much more has been added to the ever-increasing workload that a cadet will entertain here.


On an extremely happy note, I am pleased to say that I got accepted to the Jewish Institute for National Student Affairs (JINSA) Military Program over my firstie (!!!!!!!!) summer, meaning that I get to go to Israel for three weeks and work with the Israeli Defense Forces as well as learn of the history and culture of Israel and its relationship with Palestine. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel due to my deep interest in the subject matter and its potential for leadership and military knowledge. That’s going to be an incredible three weeks.


For the other 8/9 weeks of my summer, I will be aboard the USCGC Seahawk out of Panama City, Florida. It is an 87-foot patrol boat, with an entirely enlisted crew. To say I’m not nervous would be a lie, as this will be the first time I’m onboard a REAL coast guard cutter (Sorry Eagle, but you’re not!) and I plan on getting some serious knowledge and leadership experience in. On a fun note, one of my swabs and now-4/c in my company will be coming with me, so that will be quite a good time switching from the role of a 2/c to 4/c relationship into the role of a 1/c to 3/c one. Nevertheless, it should be a great time.


Lacrosse has struggled a bit as of late. We’re 1-3 on the season, and after starting out ranked 6th in the nation, we moved down to 21st. Such is life. We have a game on Wednesday against Southern Connecticut State, so hopefully all will go according to plan and we can continue our winning ways.


Well, that’s about all I have time for, as a presentation on the Myth of Sisyphus is calling my name. Not really, but I have to do it anyway.



More about Sam.


One Coin Worth More than a Paycheck

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo While the paycheck at the Academy is an incentive to some, it turns out that some of the “coins” cadets receive aren’t produced by the U.S. Treasury. Many civilians ask me how I spend my paycheck – to be brief it’s broken up in the following way. 1) The Basic Life Requirements: Haircuts for gents, laundry, wardroom meals, along with a number of other expenses are automatically taken out of biweekly paychecks. 2) The Academy Necessities: This includes all of the uniform issues and formal tickets that test our etiquette skills and ability to keep it classy. 3) The College Wish List: Every wish can’t be fulfilled with our paycheck, but we are extremely lucky to balance the cost of textbooks, some sports equipment, travel home, and entertainment if we budget carefully.


Overall, that steady paycheck can help to make the Academy a rewarding experience. But even more gratifying are the experiences had here. One of my favorite opportunities so far has been participating in the color guard, specifically at the Major Cutters Commanding Officers Dining In event on base in February 2014. The yearly event is hosted at the Academy and in addition to all the major cutter CO’s who attend, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and many distinguished guests also come. It was very nerve-racking to present the colors in front of so much gold, knowing in the back of my mind they very well could be the ones to write my evaluations in a few years. The audience collectively had accomplished an unimaginable magnitude of good and at the end of the event Admiral Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, mentioned that my 3/c classmates and I would be the ones to take their place someday as future leaders of the service. In recognition of our small contribution at the event, he presented all nine of us on the line with his challenge coin – a highly regarded tradition in the service. On one side it reads his name, “Admiral Bob Papp” and Commandant, while the other reads “Shipmates Semper Paratus”.


Receiving Admiral Papp’s challenge coin didn’t add to my paycheck, nor did participating in that color guard event necessarily help my grade in Differential Equations, but in the long term that accomplishment is what sets the Academy apart. The idea that one coin can be worth more than a paycheck makes the nightly feeling of exhaustion just a little more satisfying.


More about Sarah.


From Coast Guard to Army and Back

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) as part of the Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP). It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The people there were fantastic. My two roommates were extremely accommodating, explaining everything from how to get haircuts to traditions for football games. The Army crew team is an amazing group of guys who welcomed me with open arms and ergs. It was my pleasure to compete with them. All of my instructors were extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to help when I had a question. Obviously West Point is different than the Coast Guard Academy and I wanted to highlight the differences between two factors: academics and cadet leadership.


Going to another service academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I couldn’t pass up. It was also great for putting my time at CGA in perspective. In general, I found the academics at USMA to be less rigorous than at CGA, in particular, the lab periods were extremely limited due to West Point’s schedule. Additionally, classes at USMA meet for an average of 2.5 hours a week for a 3-credit class whereas Coast Guard classes meet 3 hours per week, meaning that there is less class time per week. At USMA, this means slightly lighter class loads but a longer semester in order to meet the required class time. Due to their size though, West Point offers a much larger selection of classes and majors than CGA does.


On a military and leadership note, I think that West Point has a more cadet run chain of command. The brigade staff at West Point truly runs the Corps of Cadets. As a second class cadet (they call it a cadet sergeant) you are in charge of four to six underclassmen. The equivalent level of responsibility at Coast Guard is reserved for seniors, instead of juniors. This exposes cadets to command earlier in their career. Because USMA is so much larger than CGA, the companies and their company commanders have much more autonomy than at CGA. The USMA Corps of Cadets is a great unit and I was proud to be a part, even if only for a semester.


I was extremely grateful for this unique opportunity. I was able to see how the Army does things, and I was hopefully able to improve my personal leadership ability and bring something valuable back to the Coast Guard Academy.


More about Alex.


So Much Going On

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo This past month has been so much fun and very eventful! I went home for spring break and was able to see my family and friends. The weather was PERFECT down there and it was a great break from the cold (yes it is still cold up here…actually if you ask me, it is FREEZING!). Like all things, spring break flew by and before I knew it I was on a flight back up. I don’t get that pit in my stomach anymore when I cross the bridge because I really do love it here. I have so many great friends and teachers and I love socializing with everyone and being able to always be on the go. The Academy really does grow on you and I have accepted the fact that it is my home away from home.


The weekend I got back from spring break I helped at a children’s fair in Mystic. I really enjoyed playing games with the kids and seeing them so excited when they got to pick their prize out of the bag. It’s a nice change of pace to involve yourself with kids and it was a nice break from the Academy.


This past weekend was Castle Dance for the first class cadets and I was able to go as a date and it was SO MUCH FUN! The group I was with got a house a couple of hours away and we spent the weekend there. It was great to see friends from other schools and be able to dress up and go to the dance. I love dancing so I was excited to go and dance with friends.


This upcoming month is hectic with school (as it always is at the end of the semester). I have a couple of papers due, presentations, test, quizzes, daily homework, and then, naturally, the infamous exams. Of course this is one of the reasons I am here so I can’t complain too much. I just stress out thinking about all the due dates, but like everything it will all fall into place and I will get it done on time.


OH! How could I forget…we received our summer assignments a couple of weeks ago and this summer I will be going to CGC Valiant and Sector Honolulu, Hawaii. I am beyond excited to get out to the fleet and experience the Coast Guard. Other than Eagle, I have not been aboard a Coast Guard cutter so I am extremely grateful I can experience one before I become an ensign.


Hope everyone’s semester is going as great as mine is and you all are staying busy with school, sports, and community service. As always, don’t hesitate with any questions!



More about Sara.


Spirit Missions

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo What is a spirit mission? I thought you would never ask! A spirit mission is an attempt by fourth class cadets to increase the overall spirit or morale of the Corps of Cadets by an action which will be found humorous, frustrating, or just plain mean. Yes, basically an excuse to prank the upper-class. This very highly esteemed “mission” is only given to the most trusted rank of the corps, us fourth class. Once you finish your fourth class year, you no longer have an excuse to carry out spirit missions. This being said, as someone who played a major role in every spirit mission carried out in Alfa Company thus far, I thought I would share some of my experience.


Caution: None of the following have been done by trained professionals and they are not recommended to be attempted at home. Alfa Company started off simple, putting saran wrap on cups at lunch and doors at night. It rapidly escalated. Before the end of the semester we had filled the hallway with boxes blocking the doors of our company commander and executive officer, stole the Air Force exchange cadet’s uniform and replaced it with a bright orange pair of foul weather gear, and left all of our phones in our Guidon’s room with alarms set in the middle of the night. Might I add the last phone was in a lock box, which we disguised to trick him into thinking it was his own. We also toilet papered the wardroom and barricaded the regimental commanders car by placing a log the size of a telephone pole underneath his car between his wheels. If you find none of this funny don’t worry, you will in good time. But the moral of this story is morale. As fourth class we create it, and its presence depends on us! Now I’d like to mention that after all these pranks we created a picture slideshow with and original song about Alfa Company and our Guidon, which we used to thank him for being awesome. Side note, he is now the second class in charge of my development. Crazy how things work out. If you would like to watch the video, here it is.



More about Keemiya.


What You Become

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo Second semester. A “fresh start”? A “do-over”? Kind of. Coming back from winter break was definitely an interesting experience. As a fourth class, you spent all first semester training to be a follower, and then you go home for two weeks as an individual. The transition back to being a follower was definitely not comfortable, but it was quite intriguing to experience. For two weeks, you’re completely normal. Then you’re back squaring corners and yelling at clocks.


What is the difference now you might ask? It may not be a fresh start, but it’s a shorter race. A few weeks and we take boards. After we pass boards we can look around and eat normally. No more squaring your fork up and into your mouth at a 90 degree angle and staring awkwardly at your third class sitting across from you. I have to give it to them though, 3/c Alex Lane made it a lot less awkward to stare at him every day then I expected. The main point I am trying to make is that it gets better. Like the light at the end of the tunnel is finally showing! Soon my shoulder boards are gonna have a stripe, where it feels like just yesterday they were barren and I was still a swab. Watching all the things we do as fourth class gets better knowing we are almost done doing them. Hopefully you see how valuable everything you do is, even when it may not seem like it in the moment. It isn’t the menial seemingly mundane tasks that you are doing that have value, but what they do to you that is most valuable. As Jim Rohn once said, “The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.”



More about Keemiya.


The Semester is Flying

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello blog readers!


Sorry about my absence but I’ve been a little busy this semester. I am playing on our women’s lacrosse team and I love it! In addition, I’ve been taking more of my major-specific classes and learning about physical oceanography and marine geochemistry. I have to say that the semester is flying as there are only four weeks left of classes before I take finals and then begin 100th week.


I guess I’ll talk to you today about how my cadet career is about to change. Up until this point, I have been seen as a follower; I am expected to follow the rules and to do as I am told, respecting authority and following blindly all orders that apply to me. Even though I have not been taking out the trash, or squaring my meals this year, I am still on a very low level of the totem pole, expected only to follow the rules more closely as to become a pseudo-model for the fourth class to see. As I completed my duties as a fourth class and a third class, I found it hard or impossible to see that “light” at the end of the tunnel, the beacon that would bring leadership, or at least the ability to take on more responsibility. The time has come for me and the class of 2016, now in the final stretch of second semester third class year, to discover the weight and meaning of leadership. I guess it started when I applied for a leadership position within Delta Company. Second class cadets are expected to fill the roles of assistants to the department heads (Master at Arms) and one second class each semester to be the Guidon, which is the leader of the fourth class, upholding them to the standards of the Academy, and leading them through their first semesters. I am not sure whether or not I qualified for the positions, but applying for them opened my eyes, as I had to produce a semi-leadership philosophy.


This summer I will be a cadre. Waterfront 1 cadre. I think that the weirdest part about this is that I might be more nervous to be a cadre than I was to be a swab. My goal during Swab Summer two years ago was to survive, to make it through the summer to the school year. But this summer, that isn’t an option. I am going to be standing duty, watching over the incoming swabs, teaching the swabs how to sail and the rules of the road. I will not only be expected to perform these duties, but it will be up to me to inspire the Class of 2018 to become members of the Corps of Cadets. I am ready and willing to take on this challenge but I know that it’s not going to be easy. This is the transition point, and I wish that time would slow down enough for me to see the transformation and to anticipate it, but instead, at the rate at which time is moving, I think that the next time I blink my eyes, there are going to be two stripes on my arm, and I will be a leader and not a follower.


I hope that everyone is having a nice spring, and I hope that spring starts to act like the spring we all need it to be :)


Happy April!


3/c Lucy Daghir


See Ya Later

(Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Kuntz Photo Christmas break has come and gone and I find myself yet again stuffed into the plethora of assignments that I have due this week. I’ve never been a procrastinator and still have so much work! But it will all be for the better because I’m trying to frontload some of the work so my life won’t be as stressful once sailing season comes around.


Being home was simply awesome. It was amazing to see all of my family and best friends and hear all of their stories about “real” college (Ohio State and Miami! Woot Woot!). It was hard to describe some of the stuff that goes on here because every story needs another story to explain why we do things the way we do. I slept in with my puppy, sprawled all over my queen sized bed, stayed in sweats all day, ate my weight in Christmas cookies, went ice skating, and got to spend time with those who matter the most. It’s definitely hard leaving everyone again, especially my brother and my parents, because I don’t know when I’m going to be home next. The goodbyes are getting easier though because it’s more of a “see ya later” kind of thing!


Weather-wise, Connecticut winters are actually a little bit milder than back home! My brother didn’t have school for almost an entire week because of snow days but we haven’t been that lucky yet... Well, back to the books!



More about Savannah.



(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tress Salvatori Photo Hola amigos y amigas. En este bloque quisiera compartir con ustedes mis experiencias en la formación de mi liderazgo como parte de la Academia de Guardacostas de los Estados Unidos. Primero comenzare por describir brevemente la experiencia de haber tenido un alumno de Preparatoria como mi sombra. Este alumno de preparatoria ya ha sido aceptado en la academia de Guarda Costas de los Estados Unidos y es invitado a pasar un día en la academia viviendo la experiencia de ser un cadete por un día.


Mi alumna de preparatoria fue Alysia. Fue una experiencia muy bonita porque tuve la oportunidad de compartir mis experiencias con una futura miembro de mi Academia. A mí me hubiera gustado que alguien me hubiese contado la experiencia en general de como es Swab Summer así como haber recibido algunos consejos que me pudieran haber ayudado en los primeros días. Por eso es que fue muy importante para mí haber compartido este día con ella y espero haber compartido suficientes experiencias con ella así como consejos.


En segundo término este viernes fue un día entero de conferencias referentes a la ética y el liderazgo. Fuimos deleitados por diferentes profesores, militares en el activo y militares retirados expertos en liderazgo. Así mismo fuimos honrados con la presencia de Paul W. Bucha. El señor Bucha recibió la medalla de honor por sus valientes acciones durante la Guerra de Vietnam. Su conferencia dejo impregnado en mi humildad. Que por sobre todas las cosas un buen líder debe de ser humilde y él es un claro ejemplo de ello.


En conclusión esta semana fue dedicada al liderazgo. Ya fuese orientando a Alysia o participando en estas conferencias, poco a poco voy dejando atrás el papel de cadete novel para formar parte del anhelado grupo de cadetes antiguos.



More about Ruth.



(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tress Salvatori Photo Hello friends. In this session I would like to share with you my experiences related to the formation of my leadership being part of the United States Coast Guard Academy. First I will start by briefly describing the experience of having a high school student shadow me. This student, who has already been accepted into the Coast Guard Academy, was invited to the Academy to have the experience of being a cadet for one day.


My student’s name was Alysia. It was a very nice experience because I had the opportunity to share my experiences with a future member of my Academy. I would have liked that someone had shared with me the experience of Swab Summer in general terms as well as received some tips which would had helped me on the first days. That is why it was really important for me have had shared this day with her and I hope I have had shared enough experiences as well as tips with her.


Second, this Friday March 21st it was a day full of conferences related to ethics and leadership. We were delighted by different professors, active duty military personnel and retired military personnel as experts in leadership. Also we were honored by the presence of Mr. Paul W. Bucha. Mr. Bucha received the Medal of Honor because of his valiant actions during Vietnam War. His conference left in me the concept of humility. On top of everything, a great leader should be humble and he is a clear example of that.


In conclusion, this week was successfully dedicated to leadership. Whether it was sharing experiences with Alysia or participating in this conferences, little by little I am leaving behind the role of a fourth class cadet in order to be part of the so desired group of upper class cadets.



More about Ruth.



(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo Jeez, where did time go?! I have already made it to nearly the end of my second semester second class year, and with about one month to go I have so much to look forward to in the next month and the summer to come. Coming up in the next month we have Ring Dance, finals, summer assignments, and the Derby. I will reflect on some of these things in the months to come but as for now I’ll tell you a little about each. Ring Dance is the second class formal in which the great Class of 2015 finally receives our class rings that we ordered months ago. There are a couple of traditions that go along with it, however, and I am not familiar with them right now, so I’ll have to tell you about them later. Finals are pretty self-explanatory; we take them at the end of every semester and this set is just another step closer to graduating (*knock on wood* - I am fairly superstitious about it). When I say the Derby I am talking about the Kentucky Derby, and for those that don’t know what I am talking about it is proclaimed as “the best two minutes in sports.” Look it up and educate yourself about it. I will be going home to Louisville, Kentucky (the best city in the U.S.) and attending this event!


Now onto the summer! This summer I will be going to two different Coast Guard units to learn and absorb as much information as I can to help prepare myself for my future career in the fleet (*knock on wood* - once again, superstitious). For the first six weeks of my summer, I will be headed to Port Angeles, Washington to be spending my time on CGC Active, a 210-foot cutter. I will be taking a look at the engineering side of the cutter and will hopefully grab some qualifications while I am at it. Although this was not my first choice for the summer, I am getting sent to the west coast, which I am pretty stoked about. I was hoping for more of a 378 or 418-foot cutter, however, I have a few friends going there so I can just get their insight on how it went. For the second half of my summer (the last five weeks, that is) I will be going to KODIAK, ALASKA. YES! I could not be any more excited about this. On top of that, I will be working underneath the facilities engineer to gain some knowledge of how civil engineering is implemented in the Coast Guard. This is a civil engineering internship, which is another reason why I am so stoked to go; civil engineering really has become a passion of mine since I started to get into my core classes last semester and this semester. Additionally, this is why I became the president of civil engineering here at the Academy.


Finally, I will most likely not be going home for summer leave. I plan to spend three weeks backpacking through Europe with a friend. He has not decided if he is going to stay the entire three weeks, so if he leaves early I may come back to spend a little time at home or just continue the adventure by myself. Really that is about all I have planned for the next couple months but I will continue to update you on how things are going.


If you have any questions, like seriously any questions at all, please please please feel free to email me. And if you have any suggestions of what to do in Port Angeles or Kodiak this summer I’d be down to hear those as well. Here’s the email address:



More about Spencer.


From a Green Shield to Those Looking to Don One

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo As a 4/c, you don the green shield insignia. As a 3/c, you don the red shield insignia. 4/c year is but four weeks and three finals away from being over, 40 days from today if you count like I do. So here are my reflections and advice for those twenty eighteen-ers who happen to read this.


When I think of the colors green and red first thing that pops in my mind is a stop light. As a 4/c you are constantly moving. Its go go go, be here be there no stopping. You are always being asked to do more and push yourself further. That is just how the system works. I have squared my meals for nine months. Just this week the Class of 2017 was granted carry-on at meals. Life here moves so fast and just keeps going as a 4/c so you never take the time to stop and think about what you have done. It’s been nine months of not looking at my meals; I had not realized that until I stopped. The red shield. As I begin to see the end in sight and that red shield closer to my grasp I stop, as a red light would tell me to. I stop and think of what I have done and where I am going. I reflect and am humbled to know that I did something that I honestly cannot believe that I did… 2018 you will realize that it’s a tough life, but every moment is worth it if you stop and appreciate it. Problem is I am still green and I am moving too fast and only now, in the last few weeks, began to realize that stopping and reflecting is what needs to be done to fully appreciate what goes on here.


To the incoming class of 2018, congrats, you are shoving off into an unknown, new piece of your life that will challenge you beyond your limitations. While you are experiencing the summer, here are some survival tips. First off the summer is a game. The first day you will be given a few rules to start. You will play the game each day and learn new rules each day as you mess up, accidentally, but the cadre won’t see it as an accident. As you learn rules, remember them, the game starts anew at the sound of the bugle in the morning. Each rule and piece learned in the summer becomes crucial as the summer builds and as you approach the academic year. Don’t give up. The moment you give up will only be a moment away from being done. When you are being punished, know that those punishing you went through the same thing; everyone around you is with you and supporting you. No one wants you to fail; the summer is 90% mental and 10% physical. Stay strong and you will overcome anything you get thrown at you.


That is all I have for now, I will do another post before school lets out. Just to touch base with everyone and give a last few remarks to 2018 before you join me and the rest of the corps in the coming fall. Good luck all and stay classy!

~Corb (


More about Shane.


Spring is Finally Here!

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Cardoza Photo Even though not many San Diegans are eager to admit it, I actually enjoy having four seasons! However, with that being said, after this cold and long winter, I can’t wait to get some sunshine on my face! Along with spring comes the end of my 2/c year and the beginning of my 1/c summer! About a week ago, we were given our assignments for the summer and I am beyond ecstatic to get out onto a ship and experience life afloat. I originally put in for a cutter out of Alaska, but was definitely not complaining when I received one out of Hawaii instead! After hearing about what our cutter is going to be doing for the upcoming summer, I am very excited to get this season started. Regardless of my excitement, I still have a few more weeks to go, but there are also many upcoming events that I cannot wait for. Ring Dance is coming in a couple of weeks and my classmates and I are eager to get together to dip our rings into the water basin and have one last get together as a class before we have finals and head out.


Spring break was a couple weeks ago but I am still not over how exciting that week was! A few of my Coastie friends and I went to Arizona to go backpacking for a few days before we headed back to the Academy. I had to come back early from my spring break in order to attend a water polo tournament in Vermont. Every day I am still reminded of how lucky I am to attend this institution and be able to experience all of these amazing opportunities and be around people that are so incredible. I definitely do not take it for granted!



More about Samantha.


A Night to Remember

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo After being at the Academy for so long now, I feel like many of the people here are just a part of one big family. For me, this includes not only the great Class of 2015, but also the folks in the Class of 2014 - our beloved firsties. Due to my whole prep-school escapade, I am a year behind and would have been a part of their class had I received an appointment immediately after high school. However, my time down at Marion Military Institute did not quell my relationship with these folks and I think AIM helped with that. As their final chapter at the Academy comes to a close, I cannot help but to feel like I am losing a huge chunk of what makes this place so wonderful. But enough of that dismal nostalgia; this blog entry is meant to preserve the joy that 2014 has brought to my life and to the Academy as a whole.


I had the fortune to attend Castle Dance with 1/c Gus Manzi last night, and boy what a bash it was. Everyone looked absolutely stunning, the ladies in their gowns and all the gentlemen in their handsome “whites.” They had a band that played all the right music, a hilarious poem presented by Treston Taylor and Andrew Heaney, the most divine selection of food that a mere cadet could ask for, and a Coldplay song that was sung by the one and only Jerry Hong. We had so much fun just dancing the night away. Good times were had by all. To the Class of 2014, I will always treasure my memories with you and am excited to see you off into your bright futures. It’s people like you all that make this place bearable when all surely seems lost. Stay classy, dear 2014.



More about Alexis.


Those Nice Winter Days…

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Miller Photo A few weeks ago, my classmate and former roommate 3/c Sarah Kukich posted about the best ways to survive winter at the Academy. Since the first day of spring was a few days ago, I think it’s only appropriate that I give ten reasons why winter at the Academy is actually pretty good (would it make more sense to write why spring is good at the Academy? Maybe, but winter is underappreciated).


10. Temperatures inside Chase Hall actually become bearable.
My room in Chase is ridiculously hot and even when it’s snowing, the window is open. The colder it is outside, the closer to room temperature my room comes.


9. Drinking hot beverages such as tea and coffee is more normal.
I drink a lot of tea and coffee, but it’s more acceptable to do it when it’s about 25 degrees outside than when it’s 85.


8. Watching movies is more acceptable.
If it’s nice out in New London, it’s kind of an obligation to not stay in your room. But when the sky is grey and the temperature is cold, watching movies is the thing to do. I’ve watched more movies this semester than I normally do in a year, and sadly that’s not an exaggeration.


7. It isn’t hot outside.
New London in the summer is the worst—it’s hot and humid.


6. You can think about how nice the summer is.
As opposed to actually having summer and hating almost every second of it.


5. Bridge coats and parkas are actually sort of necessary.
Here at the Academy, when we’re told to wear bridge coats (giant sleeping bags pretending to be coats) and parkas, we have to wear them. The colder it is, the more useful they are.


4. Snow.
It’s fantastic.


3. Sledding in the snow.
I remember doing this as the 4/c and it was probably one of the highlights of that year.


2. Snowball fights.
4/c bonding, especially when it was 4/c vs. the upper-class.


1. Snow days.
In the battle between spring and winter, winter wins because no matter how spring-like it is outside during spring, you don’t get a day off.



More about Caroline.


Rants on Rants on Rants

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So, sorry I missed the month of January but I became pretty busy last months and decided to do some self-reflecting while I was at it. Anyway, I guess I’ll start off by talking about school. Just like last semester I am taking mainly civil engineering classes, which is a blessing because I pulled out my best GPA last semester. This semester I am taking Environmental Engineering II, Steel Design, Soil Mechanics, Criminal Justice, and Nautical Science III. I have come to absolutely love the civil engineering department and all of the teachers that teach them. Doc Z and Doc Maz have been pretty inspirational especially whenever they give insight into the work that they did in the field. If I graduate, I plan to attempt to get into graduate school and get my masters; part of my drive to do this can be attributed to the phenomenal teachers we have here. Having said that, if you have any desire to become a civil engineer I would highly highly suggest coming to this fine institution. Alright, so enough school talk, I’m around that all the time anyway, BUT if you have questions about civil engineering or school in general email me.


Some of the self-reflecting that I had was on my past and how fortunate I am to have the parents that I have today. Instead of taking the yearly vacation to go to the beach, camping, or skiing, we would go on vacations to different countries. Which I think is one of the best parenting decisions they made for my sister and me. We went to many places as a family such as Japan and China multiple times. Additionally they let us go places with a group such as People to People (do they still exist?) to Australia and New Zealand or my soccer team to play against the Brazilians. Anyway, this definitely instilled a huge desire to travel to different places on the globe and see as much as I can in my entire lifetime. In the past couple of years, I had become pretty complacent about obtaining that goal which upsets me a little bit so I am trying to plan something this summer. “But how can you travel all over the place when you are so young with such little money?” you may be asking. Well, I plan to live out of one backpack and only stay in hostels or do some couch surfing (not familiar? Look it up!) while I am over in Europe. Additionally, buses are super cheap ways of getting from country to country over there so I will definitely be utilizing that. Currently I am looking for a travel buddy here at the Academy so I will see how that turns out in the next couple of months. Worst case scenario, I will travel solo, which is safe for those of you concerned already. Although it scares the life out of me being a pretty large introvert, from all the blogs that I have read it is extremely life changing for the good. Also, I think a huge way to grow is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and having to make the best of it. It bores and even scares me to think about doing the same thing every day for the rest of my life; for that reason, I hope to never have a typical nine to five job. It is way too redundant and leaves you no room to grow, I would much rather have adventure in my job and off time that have what has been called a “stable nine to five job.” Sorry now I am just ranting. Anyways if you want to talk about anything else I just wrote about or if you just need someone to talk to, shoot me an email. 


Seriously, it helps me get my mind away from this place anyway. Hope to hear from you.


More about Spencer.


Light Amongst the Darkness

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo There is currently a grudge match at the Academy. The dark and cold of winter versus the exasperated cadets who just want to make it to that spring break location. This time of the year is commonly referred to as the “Dark Ages.” The upper-classmen have warned the 4/c of this depressing time at the Academy all year. Now being a part of it, I can’t help but think, why give this time the satisfaction of depressing us all? I began to think of happiness and what it means. What does it take for someone to be happy, here or anywhere? What I came up with is that the pursuit of happiness is a lie. Now hold on, I am not going off the deep end here, I am a very cheery person I love my happiness and optimism.


Here is what struck me though, in my many daydreams. Why does someone always pursue happiness? If you are on a pursuit of happiness doesn’t that mean you are currently not happy, and your goal in life is to become happy? If you follow the pursuit of happiness psychology you are treating a human emotion as an end product of your life plan. I have a quote as the background on my phone so I am always reminded of my recently discovered ideology. This quote reads, “Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling” ~ Margaret Runbeck. Think about that for a second. Instead of being on a road to happiness, why not be on a journey of happiness. That probably sounds like something a cheesy children’s author would write, and maybe that is another problem. We all think we are just too grown up and mature for the silliness and games that truly make us happy. Even in the military, it is wake up and smell the coffee, this is real life. Well, I want real life to be fun! I enjoy being a goofy, tall, lanky kid because I am at least enjoying my journey here. I have had, and am being offered, opportunities of a lifetime that a very small group of Americans can say they share, or shared. Why should I be bogged down by a little winter weather? It is a small portion of the year and then it is back to sunny days. Then you and I will have even more reasons to be happy. Keep on trucking through the winter and whatever it is that occupies your time. And of course remember, always look on the bright side of things, and continue on a road of joy not a journey to it.


Have a question or comment on my post? Shoot me an email at



More about Shane.


Finishing Second Class Year, Moving On to the Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Duplessis Photo The downside of being extremely busy constantly (besides that in itself) is that the weeks, semesters, and years seem to fly by. I cannot believe there are five weeks left of my 2/c year at the Academy. I find myself having to constantly take a breath and enjoy the opportunities I have been given this semester, and take the time to enjoy being in a place with so many of my friends.


I am extremely grateful that I was able to be Guidon for Golf Company this semester. My 4/c are exceptionally hard working and disciplined, which has allowed me to step into more of a guidance role instead of an enforcer one. I’ve enjoyed developing them as followers, and feel confident that they are all ready to take the next step as role models. They will all be great representatives during their upcoming summer in the fleet as well, and I look forward to working with them next year.


For this summer, I will be doing six weeks aboard Eagle, and then five weeks in Sitka, Alaska aboard the CGC Maple. I’m very excited for both of these phases, as Eagle is a great way to prepare for the Maple, and an awesome way to master the subjects I have been learning in NautSci this year. I’ve also never been to Alaska, and cannot wait to experience what it is like in the summer while I’m aboard the Maple (a 225’ seagoing buoy tender). This summer, I will also be treated as more of a junior officer at my assignments, so I will be able to get a look into life after I graduate. Summers at the Academy are where cadets truly learn and develop, and I cannot wait to get started.


More about Lindsay.