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cadet blogs

Returning to a New Role and Extracurricular Activities

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo So, I am finally back at school after a long, adventurous summer of sailing on Eagle and working at Station Ketchikan, Alaska. The school year is kicking off with Cadet Administrative Processing (CAP) week. I have gotten my schedule, which consists of a heavy load of science and math. I am super excited to begin my engineering classes, although slightly nervous. Coming back after fourth class year, I was not sure what to expect. Getting greeted for the first time by a fourth class stunned me. But I am excited to fulfill my place in the corps as a “role model” and I hope that I can be as good of a third class to my fourth class as mine were to me last year. I am also going to do my best to hold myself accountable and not fall into the “under the radar third class” slump.

 

Fall sports are starting up and I am participating in Triathlon Club for the first time. I am running my first triathlon this upcoming weekend! The team has been extremely welcoming. I have always loved long distance sports, so I am enjoying the sport thus far. The best thing about the Coast Guard Academy is having the opportunity to try new things, and I am attempting to take full advantage of as many of the options that are available while I am here. Glee Club is going to be very busy this year. I am in three singing groups: Glee Club, Fairwinds, and the Octet. Fairwinds is reworking their sound right now and we are attempting a new style of music. We have been singing the same songs for many years, so it is time to move on to some new pieces. Overall, this is going to be a very hectic year. There is a lot to learn before next summer when the Class of 2020 comes, and we will have to take on the mentor role of cadre. I am hoping to prepare myself as best as I can throughout the 2015–2016 school year.

 

More about Hannah.

 

July: The Eagle Experience

(Just for Fun, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Coburn Photo As I am writing this, I am one week into my summer leave and two weeks away from my 3/c year at the Academy. To say that the past 11 weeks out in the fleet were exciting would be an understatement. Leaving South Padre, I was excited to see my friends from school, but also sad to be leaving all the awesome people that I met while at my station. The Coast Guard is truly an amazing community and I learned that firsthand while in Texas. After a day of travelling to the Academy, a night of no sleep and then a bus ride leaving the Academy at 4 a.m., we arrived in Staten Island, New York. There we were able to catch glimpses of the other half of our class leaving as we shuffled onto Eagle in our trops with sea bags over our shoulders. We were given the lowdown and attended safety briefs before they granted us liberty, which meant we were allowed to go out and explore New York City. After leaving New York, we sailed for a little over a week down to Philadelphia for a tall ships festival. During that week, we encountered a storm that tore our main course sail. It was around 6 a.m. and the emergency sail stations alarm went off. This created a whole lot of chaos in a room of 15 sleeping girls. We all got dressed as fast as we could and reported up to our masts. It was pouring rain and thundering and lightning. Luckily, we were able to take down the sail and the situation didn’t end too badly. At the time it was not a very fun experience, but it gave us some good sea stories to tell while giving tours in port.

 

It was really cool coming into Philadelphia because we got to see the other tall ships and there were a lot of people watching us pull in. While on liberty we were able to tour our sister ship the Sagres and many others in the area. After Philly, we had four days underway before we reached Bermuda. On the 4th of July we arrived at the beautiful island of Bermuda. The water was a gorgeous clear blue and the weather was perfect. We had three days on the island and they were filled with (many) trips to the beach, shopping in the small towns, and tasting the different cuisines. I had one day of duty when I gave tours and it was really interesting because the question that I was asked a lot was what it was like to be a woman in the military. Many of the people that came on board were from different countries and the idea of women in the military was very unusual to them. After Bermuda, we sailed 11 days to Maine and finished up getting our qualifications as well as passing the Damage Control Test. We completed our journey in Boston and while I was going to miss seeing my friends every day, I was very excited to be heading home. Eagle was a lot of hard work and the sleeping situations weren’t ideal but it was a great bonding and learning experience for the Class of 2018.

 

More about Mimi.

 

A Cadet Summer

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Kimura Photo There’s summer, and then there’s a cadet summer. Here’s a warning; be prepared for a summer of travelling, getting dirty, climbing, new people, and experiences to share.

 

Five, six, three. Five weeks on CGC Eagle, six weeks at Station San Francisco, three weeks of leave in Hawaii. The first five weeks I spent on Eagle we cruised the southeast coast and the Caribbean. Of the port calls in Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Norfolk, Virginia; and Staten Island, New York, surprisingly, one of the most memorable experiences was in Norfolk. Harbor Fest just ended so the nightlife started to die down. At 9 p.m., a group of us still wanted to enjoy our last hours of liberty before getting underway again. As we walked the empty streets around town, we found a small hole-in-the-wall concert venue. Without any idea of the music playing, we paid our $5 to the doorman but apparently the regular price was $30. Walking through the entrance felt like stepping into a time machine. Neon lights, legwarmers, frizzy hair, engulfed in the lyrics “Whoaa-oh, we’re halfway there-er!! Whoaa-oh, livin’ on a prayer!!” Good thing I recently became an 80’s music fan so I recognized all the songs played that night. We walked onto a gem in the middle of Norfolk that turned into the best $5 spent.

 

The most unexpected events sometime make the best experiences.

 

More about Amy.

 

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.

 

From the (Far) East to the West

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Konichiwa! It’s currently 2200 in Yokosuka, Japan. We arrived onboard the USCGC Mellon two weeks ago and are currently in port. On the underway side, however, the Mellon is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen. It was overwhelming at first, this 378-foot long boat built in the 1960’s but, once you get the hang of it, it’s sort of like exploring Hogwarts. You know how in the first Harry Potter book, Harry, Ron and Hermione end up in the dungeon with Cerberus? Well, it’s sort of the same concept minus the three-headed hellhound. It’s a big boat with an awesome crew and as long as you stay out of the bilges you’ll be just fine.

 

One of the reasons why I was put on board the Mellon was for translating purposes. I wasn’t expecting to be doing much of that since we were going to be near Japan, but I was proven very wrong. As it turns out, there are two Marines who speak Mandarin as well as two Chinese Naval members. So far, we’ve come across three Chinese fishing vessels; two of which I’ve assisted with in translating on the radio. Even though I’m not qualified to go on an actual boarding with the Marines, it was really cool to be a part of the process and interact with the Chinese vessels.

 

But let’s backtrack a little bit and go back to a few weeks farther back…

 

After leaving Norfolk, Virginia (we got to see a Plain White T’s concert and went on a Brazilian tall ship!), we made our way up to New York for the Eagle change-of-command ceremony, where our previous Commanding Officer, Captain Pulver, was relieved by Captain Meilstrup. We anchored right by the Statue of Liberty and saw some awesome fireworks along the New York skyline. Being from New York, ending the phase there really hit close to home (no pun intended); especially since it was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty (I’m also a horrible New Yorker).

 

After that, the seven of us going on the Mellon were put on a 15-hour trip from Connecticut to Japan. Personally, Eagle really helped with managing jet lag because it warps your sleep schedule to the point where a 13-hour time difference is the same as having midnight watch, perfect with a cup of black coffee.

 

But I digress; our time in Japan so far has been nothing short of amazing. When we first arrived, it was still in port so we were able to walk around Yokosuka. The first day we did some community service and hung out with some Japanese students on the Japanese battleship, the Mikasa. On the second day, a few of us cadets took the train to Kamakura, where we explored the shrines, temples and had some delicious green-tea-Oreo ice cream. We also had the opportunity to climb the famous Mount Fuji; all 3,776 meters of it. It was five hours of wind, rain, and volcanic trails, but we made it to the summit! Next port call we’ll be returning to Mellon’s home port, Seattle, Washington. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

More about Olivia.