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cadet blogs

Fastest Four Years I’ve Ever Experienced

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Corcoran Photo 0600: Wake up and splash some cold water on my face.
0620: Morning formation.
0625: Breakfast; try to make conversation with my division despite my exhaustion.
0645: Retreat back to my room; look at the calendar for my to-do list for the day.

 

…but wait, is that calendar correct? Is it really April 15th already? Where has the time gone?! There is still so much to do, but there is also so much to look forward to.

 

I honestly cannot believe there are now less than two weeks left of school and 33 days until the Class of 2016 graduates from this fine institution and will be heading out into the fleet. Seriously, I am in utter disbelief how fast the time has flown the past four years. However, I am also beyond ready to begin a new chapter of my life aboard the USCGC Hamilton, a national security cutter located in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

I am blessed to be heading to Charleston with one of my best friends, Jay Power. However, I cannot help but feel saddened that I will be separated from some of my other best friends. I truly believe that the Coast Guard Academy fosters deep friendships that will last a lifetime. I basically consider all of my best friends I have made here family. Don’t get me wrong, everyone here is a family. We have all been through so much together. From reporting in together as civilians who had no idea what they were doing, to surviving seven weeks of Swab Summer, getting through a strenuous work and passing boards 4/c year, creating and unveiling our class crest, sailing on the USCGC Barque Eagle, being introduced to the fleet, wearing our rec gear to numerous trips to Chili’s, Olive Garden and other liberty bus locations, making it through 100th week, indoctrinating the Class of 2018 as cadre, sailing around New England on $1 million yachts, getting civilian clothes privileges, starting to take command positions, going to Ring Dance and receiving our class rings, being introduced to the fleet as future junior officers, leading the corps through regimental reviews with our swords, attending Castle Dance at Rosecliff Mansion, dining in, enjoying billet night, and so many more memories, it’s hard not to become a family.

 

Looking back at my time here at the Academy, sure there are plenty of things I would do differently, but I would not want to go through it again with any other people. I am so thankful for everyone who has lent a helping hand to me, made me laugh, and showed me the way. I never thought that I would make it until the end of this extremely challenging, but rewarding, 200-week program, but somehow I did! (Knock on wood.)

 

I am so excited to continue learning out in the fleet and start my career, but of course I am also very nervous. However, I will continue to take life as it comes, one day at a time, and I am hoping I will have a long rewarding career – whether that be in the Coast Guard or civilian sector.

 

If there is one piece of advice I can give to those of you still in the Academy or about to join the best Corps of Cadets in the nation, it is to never take any experience you have here for granted. Sure, bracing up isn’t fun and no one wants to clean heads and passageways in their free time, but I urge you to make the best of every situation you’re put in. It’s amazing how much better your experiences will be if you look at the positive side of things and never take situations too seriously. Remember, whatever happens to you, the world keeps turning and time goes on. You will be okay and you will make it through the day.

 

More about Samantha.

 

Academy Traditions

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Friedman PhotoOne thing that helps me get through my time at the Academy is the traditions we have here. There are many, and when I try to explain them to my friends, I usually tell them if they want to know they have to call me. Trying to explain it in a text message just isn’t going to work, but I’ll try to put some into words for this blog.

 

Hiding the Chain – On campus, there are massive links to a chain that was originally drawn across the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War, and this chain isn’t a little necklace; it was used to sink ships. During Homecoming Week, it’s a tradition that the 4/c hide the chain 24 hours before the Homecoming game and the 2/c have to find it. If the 2/c doesn’t find it by the start of the game, the 4/c have to get the chain to the 50 yard line in order to earn a week of modified carry-on. I mentioned the weight earlier because I was one of the 4/c that got up at 2 a.m. to drag the chain across campus and hide it. It was a long night and even longer day the next morning but the memories are worth it. 

 

100th Day/101st Night – 100th Day is when 4/c and 2/c trade places, but in order to do this, 4/c must earn the shoulder boards of a 2/c they select. To earn shoulder boards the week leading up to 101st night is filled with spirit mission where people’s rooms end up covered in toilet paper, in the shark tank, and sometimes people’s uniforms go missing or get swapped out with something else. This leads up to 101st night where the 4/c go back to being swabs and the 2/c go back to being cadre for a few hours. Once this is over 2/c and 4/c trade shoulder boards and 4/c get to carry on for a day.

 

Class Crest – Every class at the Academy designs a crest. This crest represents your class, it’s on your class rings, class shirts, and hung on the walls of Leamy Ballroom alongside the other classes that have gone before you. The class crest is revealed at 4/c formal which recently happened for the Class of 2019. Our crest now joins the long blue line of those classes before us.

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jill.M.Friedman@uscga.edu.

 

More about Jill.

 

Two Spring Breaks for the Price of One

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo I had a bit of an odd spring break this year. I departed a day early to perform in Georgia and Alabama with the Glee Club, spent the rest of the week with my grandparents who live outside of Atlanta, and flew back the day prior to leave expiring. So all of that was pretty standard… what made it odd was that after I unpacked from my trip down south, I simply repacked for another one! The next morning, I flew out to Rome, Italy with three other cadets, one of the humanities instructors, and her husband to compete in the week-long Harvard World Model United Nations competition. Guess who got two spring breaks for the price of one?

 

The Model United Nations team is one of the fastest-growing clubs at school. This time last year, it was a ragtag group of individuals piling onto a train going to New York City… now, we’ve become well-established enough to ship cadets overseas to compete. This particular conference is easily one of the most remarkable events of which I’ve been a part in my life. I worked with one of my classmates in a group simulating the United Nations’ Disarmament and International Security committee. We represented the interests of South Sudan in conversations about Violent Non-State Actors, and collaborated with about 400 other students from all across the globe to formulate mock laws facing that issue. The people who participated alongside us were from Germany, France, England, Iran, Australia, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, Italy, and countless other countries. Considering that cadets aren’t even allowed to leave the base most days of the week, you can imagine what an enriching experience it was to learn about so many different places from the people who know them best! It was such an excellent place in which to learn about international politics and relations. Seeing as how there is not as much room in the science major for such study, I appreciated the practical lesson in applying and acquiring current events knowledge!

 

And the conference wasn’t even the end of the fun… each night, my classmates and I were able to go out and explore every corner of Rome. I won’t bore you with the extensive list of the sights we saw, but I will mention that Harvard arranged for us to hear a speech by the Pope (yes, he spoke in Italian, so I had no idea what he was saying… but it was still him, so that’s cool), the Colosseum is indeed humongous, the piazzas are pretty and plentiful, gelato is amazing, and the best part was meeting up with one of my best friends from high school! Yes, I saw my friend from quiet little Nebraska in Europe, of all places! No better person with which to watch the sun set over Rome from a beautifully sculpted terrace in the middle of the city!

 

It’s easy to look at the Academy and think only of all the restrictions and sacrifices you have to make to be a cadet here. No daily liberty, no deciding on my own clothes, lots of time spent on homework… And yet, because I chose to give up those little freedoms, I’ve been rewarded with the most fantastic of opportunities and chances to see so much more of the world than I ever would have at a different school. Rome was incredible, the people at the conference taught me so much, and I made a once-in-a-lifetime memory with a close friend. So I suppose in a sense, by making your world a little bit smaller, you expand it beyond anything you could expect… isn’t that funny?

 

More about Abby.

 

So...It Has Been a While

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo I am quite guilty of neglecting my blog over most of the year, so I’m going to try to update what’s happened with me over the past year over the next few weeks, starting with the fall. Swab Summer ended and that was one of the best feelings ever. The next week was Cadet Administrative Processing week, which was a lot of fun and we had various trainings and lectures to get us oriented for the academic year. The week ended with a formal room and wing, which I passed. I had a really good roommate first semester and that Friday my roommate, me, and one other friend went to my house for the weekend. Going home for the first time since reporting in incredible. My fellow cadets and I had a great time. After the weekend, we returned to the Academy to jump into academics.

 

This was when I joined the Academy’s dinghy sailing team. It’s a really great group of people, and I love being part of the team. I thought I was a pretty good sailor recreationally, but getting into competitive racing I learned I have a lot of skills to pick up. After two weeks of academics and practice I returned home, this time for three nights over Labor Day weekend. After that, I assisted at a number of regattas on the weekends for the sailing team. As just a walk-on with little previous racing experience, I had a lot of catching up to do before they would let me race. I had the last weekend in September off from sailing and my parents came down for Parent’s Weekend. They got to see my classes on Friday and they took me off campus Friday and Saturday night and we checked out an old whaling village called Mystic.

 

Two weeks later, I had another three-night weekend for Columbus Day. I spent that weekend with my family in New York City while my younger sister visited colleges. While in New York I caught up with an old friend I had not seen in forever. I also went to the Freedom Tower, and as a member of the military, I was able to go up for free. It was an incredible thing to see New York from the top of the Freedom Tower. During the journey to the top, we got to hear an interesting history of the City of New York. On that Sunday, I saw the musical Hamilton, which told the incredible story of the life of the father of the Coast Guard. At the end of that weekend I returned to the Academy. And that was my first half of first semester. I’ll post another update on the rest of first semester soon, and hopefully I will eventually catch up to the present.

 

More about Derek.

 

Spring Break Lacrosse Trip 2016: Colorado

(Athletics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Hello everyone and happy spring! Today is our second day back at school after spring break, so everyone is trying to adjust back to Academy life, not always the easiest transition. However, this year’s spring break trip was a blast! The men’s lacrosse team traveled to Virginia Beach, and we got to go to Colorado Springs, which was absolutely incredible. No matter where you are in the city you can see these beautiful towering mountains in the background that just take your breath away! And speaking of breath, Colorado Springs is situated at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet and adjusting to the altitude was definitely not easy. We played two games out in Colorado, one against Colorado College and one against Messiah College. Both teams were very good and sprinting at that altitude had us out of breath and exhausted very quickly, but it was a great workout and now that were back, running here is a breeze!

 

Also while we were out in Colorado we had the opportunity to do some amazing things outside of lacrosse. One morning we convinced our coach to let us wake up before sunrise and hike up to this rock formation outside the city called Pulpit Rock. It was cold and dark when we woke up, but we all ran up the mountainside in excitement. Once we reached the rock formation we were tired and out of breath, but the view was amazing! We climbed all over the rocks while watching the sun rise up over the mountain with a spectacular view of the whole city as well (I have included a few pictures). The other hike we did was through the national historic site, Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods was beautiful! These huge red rock formations dotted the hillsides and visitors can hike and climb throughout the park. We hiked to a rock formation called the Siamese Twins, which was really neat, but my favorite formation was the rock structure called the Kissing Camels named after the two kissing rocks that look like camels. If you ever have a chance to go visit Colorado Springs or the Garden of the Gods, I would definitely recommend it!

 

More about Cece.