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cadet blogs

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.

 

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 (Shane.P.Corbett@uscga.edu)

 

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.

 

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.

 

Spencer.M.Zwenger@USCGA.edu 

 

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 Shane.P.Corbett@uscga.edu.

 

 


More about Shane.