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Excited for a Busy Spring Semester

(Academics, Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Coming back from winter break this year was nowhere near as difficult as freshman year. I was excited to see my friends again after three weeks apart, and ready for the spring semester to begin.

 

This semester I am taking 19 credit hours. Two of these are attributed to my professional rescuer class where we get our lifeguard certification. So far this class has been a lot of fun. While I have never been a certified lifeguard, I have had many summer jobs working at pools/lakes being a pool “attendant” or working with rental boats, so it is a unique opportunity for me to actually get the certification. We currently are learning different rescue techniques for drowning victims, and while the class may seem silly at times since no one is actually drowning, I know the skills we are learning are useful for our future careers in the Coast Guard. My most difficult class so far is Dynamics. Luckily, many of Mechanical Engineering major friends are in the class/my company in Chase Hall, so, when collaboration is allowed, we can help to answer each other’s questions and mutually benefit from the process. While academics is keeping me busy between Dynamics, Advanced Engineering Math, Material Science, Professional Rescuer, American Government, and Morals and Ethics, lots of extracurricular activities are starting up as well. Glee Club just returned from a trip to Massachusetts where we sang over MLK Weekend at a high school, retirement community, and local church. Lacrosse season starts in the beginning of February, and I am hoping for little to no snow/cold so we can practice outside without freezing too much, even though I know this is unlikely. Spring semester is bound to be a busy, exciting semester.

 

More about Hannah.

 

Cheshire Cross Cyclocross Race

(Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Twarog Photo Sitting on the grassy starting line surrounded by a hundred other cyclists, the announcer called off “Two minutes to the start of the men’s 4-5 race.” Chills shot up my spine and butterflies lit up my stomach as I awaited the buzzer. Dozens of clicks could be heard echoing across the field as riders around me clipped into their pedals. Finally, the buzzer screamed and we were off in an explosive start. I was competing in my first cyclocross race: The Cheshire Cross CX Race and the Connecticut Cyclocross Championships.

 

Cyclocross is a form of cycling that merges road cycling with mountain biking. Racers ride bikes that look a lot like road bikes but have slightly wider tires for more traction on the grass and mud. The race took us through a combination of grassy fields, sand pits, and single track mountain bike paths. Throughout the course, super steep sections forced you to dismount your bike and sprint up the muddy slopes. Each lap was about 2 miles long, and took around 8 to 10 minutes depending on your strength. For this race in particular, the winners did five laps.

 

I initially decided to compete in the race in mid-October. For some time now, I’ve wanted to do a CX race, so I jumped in and signed up for it. Normally, fourth class cadets don’t get to leave the Academy until noon on Saturday, but I requested to leave a little early so I could race. Generally, if you ask to get special liberty (like spend Friday or Saturday night away from the Academy) and it’s related to athletics or family, it’ll be approved. In other words, if you want to do a sport that isn’t offered by the Academy, you can make it happen.

 

In the past, I’ve competed as a road cyclist, so this was a pretty dramatic move for me. I’m used to riding on smooth pavement…not rocky, sandy, rooty, muddy tracks. With these changes, a whole new set of challenges followed. I had hop off and on my bike while running to sprint up hills or over logs. I had to avoid hitting trees on the steep and windy descents. These challenges made the race that much more fun and exciting though.

 

Racing hard out of the starting line, I managed to work my way up through the crowd into the middle of the pack by the time we hit the narrow trails halfway through the first lap. Sprinting up the first hill, I was a little surprised when I heard a spectator holding a beer yell “Walk your dog, ride your bike”. I couldn’t help but laugh a little. It turns out cyclocross has a culture where the spectators heckle the riders in good fun. By the time the second lap came around, I was racing well and feeling great… That suddenly changed though.

 

About a third of the way through the race, I got a flat in my back tire. Suddenly it felt like my bike tire was gliding on butter whenever I went through a corner, which is not a good feeling when you’re passing less than a foot away from trees at 20 miles an hour. Immediately, I decided just to race through it rather than trying to fix it or drop out of the race. My previous race, the regional triathlon championships, ended early for me when I had a major mechanical issue. I wasn’t going to have a repeat of that.

 

For the rest of the race, I struggled to control my bike on the corners and push it through the rough terrain. That being said, it was refreshing to get into a completely different type of race. Change isn’t always a bad thing. In the end, I would estimate I finished mid-pack…about what I was expecting. Crossing the finish line, it was super cool to have one of my triathlon teammates, Sam Roets there supporting me. Sam has been an amazing mentor for me and he’s one of those cadets I really aspire to become a lot like.

 

One of the things that the race highlighted about the Academy for me is that if you’re interested in doing something, like a CX race or a marathon or starting a club, you only have to take the initiative to make it happen. Your shipmates and mentors will be there to support you. This is a pretty great feeling, because you know if you’re a leader or are motivated to make something happen, you’ll have your best friends and shipmates behind you to help it a reality. Just as I’m comfortable asking anyone for help with my homework, I’m comfortable enough to pursue opportunities like the CX race even with the constraints that fourth class year can bring.

 

For now, I go into winter training mode until the next semester, when my training will transition to focusing on preparing for the Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. This race definitely got me excited about the coming months though… Big things are coming in the future.

 

More about Evan.

 

School Starts Again

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dow Photo With fall semester 2015 in the books, and a well-deserved winter leave for the corps come and gone, it is time once again for school to start. Last semester as an engineering 3/c, I took Multivariable Calculus, Mechanics of Materials (both are engineering-specific), Physics, Ships and Maritime Systems, Navigation II, and Professional Rescuer. This semester is not much lighter with Differential Equations, Physics II, American Government, Dynamics, Engineering Material Science and Lifetime Sports. One great part about the Academy is that although some of the classes are very difficult and really challenge you, there are always other students here to lend a helping hand.

 

One part that is different than almost any other college is that the first week back is called Mid-Year Administrative Processing (MAP) week and while classes have not started yet, this week is one of the most important. This week is devoted to moving rooms (we switch roommates every semester here), as well as attend meetings and trainings for all of the cadets and faculty on order to prepare for the upcoming semester.

 

With the start of spring semester, I get excited because softball is right around the corner! Sports are the best way to blow off steam and get out of Chase Hall for a few hours after the school day ends. As a varsity sport, we get to go down to Florida during spring break to play games and get used to playing on a dirt field (New Englanders know that couldn’t happen in March up here!). We get to bond as a team and enjoy the nice Florida weather especially after the cold winters on the Thames. It is one of my favorite parts of the Academy (and the Coast Guard!); all the opportunities we are given and places we can go explore and represent the Coast Guard at the same time.

 

More about Emily.

 

Reflecting on Our Blessings

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hey, everyone!

 

Since my last blog post in September, I have finished out the fall semester of my 3/c year and have moved on into the spring semester! It’s been quite the adventure. Cheerleading this past fall semester was exciting as we mastered new stunts and dances, and our squad is now starting to cheer for basketball season. Civil engineering classes were challenging yet rewarding. We had an exciting Mechanics of Materials class, and in the lab portion we were able to test the strength of many day-to-day materials with these hefty machines. I also joined the Equestrian Club, which provided a great external outlet for me and my friends as we got to go to a stable here in Connecticut to ride some horses!

 

This semester, the Class of 2018 will be preparing for Cadre Summer. Many of us are anticipating being cadre to the Class of 2020 and cannot wait to teach them how to succeed here at the Academy and in the fleet as well. I will also be participating in the varsity Crew again this spring, and I cannot wait to get back on the water with the girls. It’s moments like horseback riding or being out on the water in a boat that make you step back and reflect on all the many blessings we have here.

 

More about Kathryn.

 

Rollin’ on the River!

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Fenster Photo Here on the banks of the Thames, the school year is just flying along! October has come and gone, Thanksgiving is less than a month away, Christmas is right around the corner—the academic year is well underway. It has been an extremely busy and exciting time here in New London—not only for me but also for the Academy.

 

This past week, we had members from eight Arctic nations come to discuss future policy in the region. The heads of the Coast Guard (or Coast Guard equivalent) from Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Denmark and the United States all came to the Academy, providing us cadets with some invaluable experiences. We got to hear a talk from Jeh C. Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, and we had the opportunity to drill for the distinguished guests. It was an exhilarating time and surely an experience that I will never forget.

 

It has also been an exciting month for me as well. We had our first swim meet against Springfield and Rhode Island after more than a month of hard work in the pool, which ended with a Coast Guard victory! We had a great meet—lots of first place finishes, personal bests, and great teamwork. In addition to swimming, I also had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Columbia Model United Nations Conference in New York, which was a tremendous experience. I spent the weekend in New York City with friends and colleagues, and even made some new friends from other schools as well.

 

There’s so much more on the horizon, too. Winter is approaching, and with it comes uniform changes, snow, and the holiday season. So while my first half semester was a whirlwind (albeit an enjoyable one), there is so much to look forward to at the Academy. As always, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me at Colin.D.Fenster@uscga.edu.

 

Semper Paratus and Go Bears,
Colin

 

More about Colin.