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cadet blogs

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.

 

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.

 

READ ME READ ME READ ME!!!!!!

(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: Spencer.M.Zwenger@USCGA.edu.

 

More about Spencer.

 

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.