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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Summer at Home

(Academics, Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Schroeder Photo One of the most coveted things while attending the Academy is to go home. The Academy, and its summers, can be very strenuous (but still fun) and often cadets do not have the chance to go home very much. Being from Montana, I get to go home only twice a year: during Christmas and summer leave periods, so I cherish every moment.

 

After spending the summer in Alaska, which was a lot cooler than I thought, it was nice to come home. Montana is more of a desert climate, so it can get above 100 degrees in the summer, yet down to the -40s in the winter. It has been a hot summer here, so as soon as I got home, I was able to spend time on the lake with my family. I also took a camping trip to Glacier National Park with my family, and of course have had the opportunity to see and hang out with all of my friends from home.

 

Although being home is nice, being at the Academy causes cadets to change and mature in a lot of ways because they are away from the comforts and securities that family can offer. Being at home is pretty eye-opening because it can show just how far you have come and how much you have matured compared to the “traditional” college student. The Academy simply gives you opportunities and experiences that other schools cannot, and makes you step out of your comfort zone quite often. So, although being home is enjoyable, I actually can’t wait to go back to school, see my friends, start the rugby season, and start my final year of school.

 

This fall is going to be busy. I’m taking some pretty difficult classes (organic chemistry, biochemistry…do I need say more?) and I am captain of the rugby team so I will have a lot on my plate. Even though it looks like it might be a tough semester, I’m still excited to go back to see all my friends because, at the Academy, friends are family and everyone creates a huge support network to help each other out. I think that is one of the biggest silver linings here – the lifelong friendships that you build. There really is nothing like it.

 

More about Jade.

 

3/c Summer and the Benefit of Summer School

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Fruhwirth Photo It is crazy to think, as I sit here writing this, that I am now a 3/c and beginning my second year at the Academy! Spring semester flew by and before I knew it I was boarding Eagle and setting off on a five-week adventure. Very quickly my classmates and I acclimated to underway life, getting into the routine of standing duty and getting qualified in things such and Helm and Lookout as well as Auxiliary/Engineering. It was a wonderful learning experience, especially being able to interact with enlisted personnel and officers alike. The port calls weren’t too bad either: Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Norfolk, Virginia; and Staten Island, New York!

 

After I departed Eagle, I returned to the Academy for the six-week long summer school program allowing me to take Calculus II and Organizational Behavior and Leadership (OBL). I was placed in Foundations for Calculus first semester of 4/c year, then Calculus I second semester. The reason I am in summer school is due to my major; I am a technical major (Marine and Environmental Sciences) and must have Calculus II completed before my 3/c academic year begins. So here I am! An added bonus — taking OBL will actually give me a free period next semester, which will definitely help me out academically.

 

It is absolutely unreal to see parts of Swab Summer unfold and not being a swab this time! It’s so cool to see my mentors take on the role as cadre, while also seeing a new class that will take our place as lowest on the totem pole—it is a very exciting time here at the Academy! Amazing how fast this year has gone by!

 

More about Ainsley.

 

Transition to 2/c Year

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo So here we are one day before becoming second class (2/c) cadets. That means in one day we become upperclassmen, we are allowed to wear civilian attire, and are granted a much more liberal liberty. I am typing this while wearing a red cadre shirt. It’s unreal for us but also for the Class of 2015 as they watch us take the reins of leadership and pack their trunks to prepare for their graduation. Only two years ago we were their swabs; that time has gone quickly. Some officers and chiefs around the Academy have moved up a paygrade since I’ve been here, so that is validation that I’ve been here for a while! The days have been slow but the weeks and months have gone by extremely fast.

 

This past week marked 100th Week, which is the halfway point for our class. The Cape May Company Commanders, or the petty officers and chief petty officers who run the enlisted boot camp in New Jersey, instructed us on the basics of leading the new cadets who will arrive on June 29. The first day of 100th Week, we relived our swab lives—taking orders, sounding off, and being pushed physically. As the training progressed, we transitioned into a more instructional environment when the Company Commanders took a back seat as we led each other. Preparing for Reporting-In Day, some of us acted as cadre while others acted as swabs. It was strange yelling at our own classmates but it was part of the process of learning how to address swabs on R-Day. I tried to think back to my cadre, and the maxim that “you will never feel that you are as good as your own cadre” held true for me—it was extremely difficult keeping up the intensity and giving instruction, but we will get better as it as we get closer to R-Day. I did however find it hilarious that I caught myself practicing the same mannerisms and verbiage that my cadre used on me when I was a swab. For the remaining two days, our class completed a team run, conducted land navigation, and worked through the leader reaction obstacle course on a Connecticut army base. It got me pumped up and was a great reminder that I am still a member of the military after a lax 3/c year.

 

3/c year is very laid back and is probably the “least military” out of the four years at the Academy. This is for a good reason—it is the most academically challenging. Sadly, we are saying goodbye to many shipmates before recommitment on Friday. After 3/c year, cadets need to decide if they will commit to serving after completing two more years at the Academy. This past semester was especially difficult and it was the first semester at the Academy that I did not make the Dean’s List. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I switched my major from Government to Management. I was better at writing papers, as this makes up the bulk of work for Government majors but the Management major has many more tests and math-based courses. I wanted to challenge myself and I sure did with the math courses. I did not come close to the academic standard that I upheld during my previous three semesters at the Academy, but I learned the most. To gain acceptance to the Management major, the main hurdles are Financial Accounting and Probability/Statistics. I failed a few tests in both of these classes but I still made it out alright in the end. The way I see it is that while these classes were rough, I learned a lot and it will now allow me to take electives in what I really want to dig into as a Management major. I can’t wait to take electives linked to the required Organizational Behavior (OB) course I took this semester. I discovered that Organization Behavior is something I am good at, and something that I enjoy studying. I look forward to taking classes in OB and Human Resources in the fall.

 

3/c year was indeed an academic struggle. It was information overload with more than 20 credits in the fall. I began to stress over the fact that I probably would be out of the running for a Truman, Marshall, or Rhodes scholarship, which I was actually working toward with professors. But then I realized that I just need to do my best and that what’s really important is learning for the sake of learning. I didn’t come here to win a fancy scholarship—I came here to commission as an officer in the Coast Guard. My biggest mentor at the Academy and my former company chief, AMTCS Cain, reminded me of this when I was stressing out at midterms. He told me to hold on to what makes this place important: receiving a commission in another two years. No matter how it gets done, it will get done and nobody in the fleet will care if I had a 2.0 GPA or a 4.0 GPA. Still, I want to get as high of a GPA as possible because that’s just who I am. Regardless, my future subordinates and superiors will only care if I can lead and be led and have the organizational skillset to be a team player in today’s Coast Guard. Indeed, it is this attitude that I will strive to embody as I take on the role of cadre for the incoming Class of 2019 in late June. Failure is inevitable at this institution and the incoming class needs to understand that failure is the best producer of success—we can only succeed by learning from our past failures.

 

More about Will.

 

Stress Comes in Waves

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo At the Academy, stress comes in waves. Sometimes you have control as if you’re perfectly balanced on a surfboard riding over the waves. Other times, it seems like everything is coming at you at once and you’re drowning in work.

 

April put me in that drowning state. It was a challenging month for me, as I planned the 3/c formal, worked on numerous end-of-semester projects, took my last few tests, and then prepared for finals. It was that last push of the semester. I knew that the summer would come soon and they say that 2/c summer is the best one at the Coast Guard Academy. Still, it was so hard to find the motivation to finish the semester strong.

 

At the beginning of April, I was working on planning the 3/c formal. I had signed up to be on the planning committee and although it ended up being a lot more work than I expected, it was so rewarding to see my vision come together. The week of the formal was really stressful because other events in Leamy Hall prevented my classmates and me from setting up decorations until the night before the dance. It was a scramble to get everything set up but it was truly beautiful to see my class come together to get it all done and make Leamy look and sound amazing for the dance.

 

Throughout that week and the next few, I had tons of group projects to finish. Most of our professors assign us projects at the end of the semester to give us a way to pull together what we’ve learned and as an opportunity to boost our grades.

 

It was a relief to get to finals week, which provides us with a lot more free time than most other weeks at the Academy. The only things we have to focus on are studying and moving out of our rooms. 4/c and 2/c move their stuff into the trunk room and pack for their summer assignments. 3/c and 1/c move their stuff into other rooms for the summer or temporarily until graduation, respectively. Although it keeps us busy, it is mindless work that is a relief after taking a final.

 

The day after finals week, we start our summer assignments. I’m so excited to see what this summer holds for me in all the training programs on the itinerary for my class. As we learn to become cadre and grow into our role as 2/c, a new wave of stress will crash and we’ll take on the responsibility of training the Class of 2019.

 

More about Sarah.

 

The Final Countdown

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo The end is near, but not quite. Here I am, reporting into my cadet blog, while I really should be studying for tomorrow’s chemistry final. But I think I can afford a little more procrastination. After all, the library has free coffee and I’ve honed my skills in all-nighters. (It’s something you get to practice when you go to college; especially if you come here.) However, there’s always a ray of sunshine despite the ominous loom of finals.

 

In a few days, half the Class of 2018 will be going onto the CGC Eagle; an awesome tall ship where we’ll learn the art of seamanship, to haul lines and shine brass. We’re scheduled to go down along the East Coast, ending in Staten Island, New York. The other half will be going all over the country onto different stations and other cutters. Then, for the second half of the summer, we switch. This is all a part of our summer training, where we’ll be incorporated into the fleet. We’ll also get qualified for different jobs, such as damage control. I can’t wait to get out there, especially for the second half of the summer where I’ll be on the CGC Mellon, which is currently in Japan.

 

Before that, though, this chemistry final is the only thing standing in the way of this oncoming summer. I figure I’ll start some writing for the alumni magazine, go down to dinner, get 32 ounces of black coffee and then hole up somewhere in the library with my wad of chemistry notes. In this caffeinated world of academia, what better way to finally end this last final?

 

More about Olivia.