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Goodbye 3/c Year, Hello Class of 2020

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Williamson Photo Just like that 3rd class year is over. It has been a year of change. I went from running track to playing rugby. I went from general education classes to major specific courses. I went from being a club member to president of Sustainability Club. I went from a follower to a role model. After everything this year I have learned two things: you have to find your own motivation and you have to embrace failure. If you can get knocked down and jump right back up, nothing will stop you.

 

While we are on the subject of motivation and failure I would like to give a formal welcome to the Class of 2020! Your Swab Summer is rapidly approaching and I hope you are getting ready, physically and mentally. It is going to be tough (especially with the great Class of 2018 training you), but I am confident you will come out as a strong and unified class. After I swore in on my R-Day, my dad told me something that has stuck with me to this day: this summer may stink, and it may be difficult but in the end when you look back on your life, this summer will be one of your greatest memories. You should try to embrace every moment and appreciate what you are a part of.

 

Other than that, I can give you basic advice. 1. Make sure someone sends you food weekly. That is all I asked for in my letters home. 2. Write letters. Bring stamps and paper! You are going to want to write home. 3. Bring a picture of your family and friends. Remember who you are doing this for. Just seeing their faces helps. 4. Don’t quote me on this but, don’t worry about the socks. Just get a pack of socks that you actually want to wear (for me that would be Nike mid-calves). It is one little personal thing you can get away with.

 

If you have seen the new Coast Guard movie “The Finest Hours” (if not, I would watch it before Swab Summer), there was an actor in it playing Coast Guardsman Mel Gouthro. He was the one who was too sick to go out in the boat with the rest of the team. I met him before Swab Summer and he is a great man with a lot of good advice. The most impactful thing he said to me before I went off was: “When you get there, look to the left and look to the right. The guy next to you is doing it, so there is no reason you can’t do it, too. And hundreds of people before you have done it, so there is no reason you can’t do it. Never willingly let anyone be better than you. Always make them earn it.”

 

So, once again 2020, good luck. I am going to be a waterfront cadre. If you remember me and tell me you read my blog, I might have a small prize for you. Go 2018, Go 2020, and Go Bears!

 

More about Cody.

 

The Journey of Boards

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Sharp Photo Biggest news to date: I passed boards during the week of February 17th! Now, if you understand what this statement means, then feel free to stop reading here. For those that do not understand, let us venture on a little journey together.

 

It all started on R-Day; the day my life changed forever. My shipmates of the Class of 2019 reported to the Academy on June 29, 2015 and immediately got screamed at. We ran around sweating for a few hours, saw our parents for five minutes, and then returned to the grind for the rest of the summer. (Side note: I never fully understood why they let us see our parents after a few hours of running around on that first date. It’s like dangling a piece of bacon in front of a newly “discovered” vegetarian. The only plausible reason it would serve is to weed out the people who want to go home right then and there… but still.) Anyway, one of the best parts of R-Day, and even Swab Summer as a whole, is a little something the cadre call “indoc.” Sounds fun, right? WRONG. For the life of me, I cannot do indoc. What the heck is this demon, you ask? Well, my friends, it is short for “indoctrination,” which is a big, fancy word for random facts about the Coast Guard that some higher-up person thought we should all know. Some of these things are downright insane – like the 250-word response that is proper to answer the question “what time is it?” or the one that talks about a “cow…” Needless to say, I found no point in learning indoc. I would literally rather push deck (do push-ups) for hours on end instead of knowing the length, beam, draft, and displacement of Healy.

 

This mentality worked over Swab Summer because we pushed deck all the time anyway. But, then the school year rolled around, midterms came, the second semester started, and there I was. Little 4/c Sharp in complete denial of all things indoc. Still. It hit me the day before my first board that this was, like, an actual thing. You see, in order to advance a rank (to go from 4/c to 3/c) everyone must pass boards. When our whole class passes boards, we can get social media back, so the stakes are fairly high. I really did not want to be the last one in my class to pass because I hate holding back my shipmates. But, there was only so much indoc I could cram into my head within a 24-hour period. So I studied. Hard. And, with the help of a few people, I somehow managed to get a 6/10. You need at least an 8, however. After that first board, I accepted the fact that I would probably pass last in my class. But I was not about to give up.

 

The Journey of Boards (Continued) PDF 


More about Kirsten.

 

Swab Summer Preparation

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo March 18th is exactly one year since I received my appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. I remember the moment when I received the email; I stood up and cheered—even though it was in the middle of the school day. I was so excited to go to the Academy and couldn’t believe that I was heading there for Swab Summer. I started preparing for Swab Summer pretty much the day I got my appointment, and would like to share some tips.

 

Get into excellent physical shape. This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. While you can never truly prepare for the mental aspect, you can definitely prepare for the physical. Make sure to push yourself, specifically in running (three miles is a good distance), pushups, and core exercises. While it won’t make Swab Summer easy, it will definitely make it a little bit better. A physical fitness goal would to score a B or higher on the first PFE.

 

Play to your strengths and be resourceful. Not everyone is going to be excellent at pushups and not everyone is going to be awesome at memorizing information. That’s what makes your company a team. I found out pretty quickly over the summer that I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest. However, I was really good at making people laugh and staying enthusiastic. I made sure to keep the mood light and encouraged my shipmates during the seven weeks.

 

You will fail, and it will hurt. It’s really a matter of what you do afterward. Whatever you do, keep trying your hardest. Nothing can replace effort during Swab Summer. I’ve seen it happen where a perfectly fit swab gives up during a set of pushups while a less fit swab continues exercising. Your cadre will make sure that you struggle. That’s part of their job to prepare you for the school year. From my experience, they will continue to push you and will put in a ton of time and effort in training you. They won’t give up on you, so you shouldn’t give up on yourself.

 

Don’t forget to laugh. Swab Summer is chaotic, and there are days when you will want to quit. However, keep a positive attitude. During my Swab Summer, I told my company a joke every single day during bathroom breaks. This allowed for a quick break and gave some perspective. Swab Summer is only seven weeks out of 200 here. It does get better, a lot better. Just know when to laugh and when to lock it up.

 

More about Deborah.

 

A Leap of Faith

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2019) Permanent link
King Photo 4/c Matt Hwang and I decided to work together on this video project. Matt is a budding filmmaker who has been making short movies around campus. I liked the artistic shots and new perspective that he portrays. Together, we agreed to make a short video about cadet life. We brainstormed the topic, wrote a script, and filmed together. It was then edited and uploaded for your viewing pleasure.

Deb's video blog YouTube Icon

 

More about Deb.

 

Lax But Not Relax

(Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo January has come and gone and with the arrival of February came the start of spring sports. The women’s lacrosse team started their second varsity season here at the CGA. The first week of practice we got extremely lucky; there was no snow, and we could sport gym shirts and shorts on the practice field. After this past week, our luck ended and the snow has returned but we are still outside practicing in rain or shine (or snow). The first week was tough. We prepared ourselves over the winter with conditioning workouts with the new strength coach, Coach Shakira, and also with individual workouts. But regardless of the preparation, last week left me sore and tired, but also motivated for what the season will bring.

 

Our first scrimmage is on the 20th of February. We have six practices a week, two hours a day, as do all the other varsity sports at the Academy, and the improvement we see every day on the field and the bonds forming on the team is exciting to be a part of. Once games start after the 20th of February, weekends off will be a thing of the past. We have a game every weekend and on some Wednesdays. What about spring break? We’re off to Colorado to play throughout the week. I am thrilled to head back to Colorado. It will be my first time there since doing a year of civilian college at the University of Colorado in Boulder between 2013 and 2014. I am hoping some old friends may be able to visit and watch me play. While this semester is hectic, being busy helps keep me focused. I find I am more productive in my “free” time when I have a demanding schedule. So far, balancing academics, social life, Glee Club, and lacrosse has been, while frenzied occasionally, a good experience. I am getting the opportunity to do all the activities I love to do, and I feel quite lucky.

 

More about Hannah.