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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.

 

The Actor

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Not much going on around here… it’s been a pretty typical start to the semester with new classes, new divisions, etc.! Since there’s not a lot of news, I thought I’d rock the blogging boat a little bit and share some of the writing that I’ve talked about before. So, here is “The Actor” (an appropriate one as I start rehearsals for the fall musical!). Enjoy!

 

Eyes of glass illuminate a face locked in a dream.
A world, only a feet few beyond,
Seizes his soul and holds him.

 

A barrier stands, a wall unbroken.
Lights shine through the impenetrable invisibility,
Catch the glass,
Ignite the spirit that crosses the ground,
Explores,
Discovers,
Slips back into him
Bringing new life to share.

 

Who is this man
Who wears a suit of personality
Sewn by hand in recitation,
Pinned into shape with actions and motion?

 

Colors bleed from the wall
And soak the stage,
Darkness recedes,
Flaming words and sparks leap from his eyes -
They melt the barrier.

 

He rises.
Stares.
Speaks.

 

Fixed upon him, shapeless faces outside of his world
Grope for a flicker of the man hidden
Beneath the actor.

 

More about Abby.

 

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.

 

A Passion for Writing

(Academics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Twarog Photo One of the best pieces of advice that has ever been given to me is to live your life today in such a way that will make your future-self proud. Do what will make you proud…not necessarily what is easiest. I think that one of the central reasons why I chose the U.S. Coast Guard Academy was because it would be both one of the toughest and rewarding paths. I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to become an engineer and a leader, and that I wanted to make a career out of serving others. Coming to the USCGA would help me become the type of person I most deeply admire.

 

While I’ve only been a part of the Coast Guard for a few months, it seems like high school graduation was a lifetime ago. It’s amazing how quickly the Academy molds you as you’re given more responsibilities. Between balancing 19+ credit hours, practices and races with the Triathlon team, and fourth class military obligations, I’ve never been so busy in my life. Time management is critical here.

 

Before coming to the Academy, writing was one of my passions, so I’m really excited to have the chance to blog for the Academy. In the past, I’ve published personal essays and written pieces on a website called Semper Deinceps. Not only that, but I was the winner of the Rotary Global Essay Competition, and the prize took me on a week-long trip to India. I’ve written as a guest contributor on the nuclear energy blogs, YesVY and Atomic Insights, where my articles have been reposted by the ASME and the ASCE.

 

Over the next four years, I’ll have the opportunity to share my experiences as I work my way to becoming an officer in the Coast Guard. I can’t begin to imagine what sort of adventures my time here will bring. If you have any questions about life as a fourth class (freshman) or the admissions process, feel more than free to reach out to me at any point.

 

More about Evan.

 

Cooperation Between Cadets

(Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
SukchaPhoto Greetings! I am 4/c Saranjoe Sukcha from Class of 2019. I am currently in Bravo Company. As an international cadet from Malaysia, there are several reasons why I decided to join the Cadet Blog Club. I believe cooperation between cadets from different countries and United States cadets is important. They help build a positive military relationship between various countries and the U.S. In order to strengthen our ties, we share knowledge, skills and learn from each other. As an international cadet, I am happy to share my experiences and my observations throughout my journey at the United States Coast Guard Academy. We have heard comments from around the world stating that U.S. service academies have created professional leaders in all military branches. Being here for only a few months now, makes me agree that it is completely true. As an ex-officer cadet in the Royal Malaysian Navy at the National Defense University of Malaysia, I realized that there are big differences in the training of cadets.

 

Furthermore, what I will bring to this unique program is the thoughts of a foreign cadet about the great experiences in this academy. I am happy to be at this academy and I am looking forward to majoring in Marine and Environmental Sciences. I will also share stories about my involvement in the Cadet Glee Club, Pistol Team, International Council, and Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). I am truly glad to be here and look forward to experiencing more wonderful moments and activities at the Academy.

 

More about Saranjoe.