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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.

 

One Coin Worth More than a Paycheck

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Kukich Photo While the paycheck at the Academy is an incentive to some, it turns out that some of the “coins” cadets receive aren’t produced by the U.S. Treasury. Many civilians ask me how I spend my paycheck – to be brief it’s broken up in the following way. 1) The Basic Life Requirements: Haircuts for gents, laundry, wardroom meals, along with a number of other expenses are automatically taken out of biweekly paychecks. 2) The Academy Necessities: This includes all of the uniform issues and formal tickets that test our etiquette skills and ability to keep it classy. 3) The College Wish List: Every wish can’t be fulfilled with our paycheck, but we are extremely lucky to balance the cost of textbooks, some sports equipment, travel home, and entertainment if we budget carefully.

 

Overall, that steady paycheck can help to make the Academy a rewarding experience. But even more gratifying are the experiences had here. One of my favorite opportunities so far has been participating in the color guard, specifically at the Major Cutters Commanding Officers Dining In event on base in February 2014. The yearly event is hosted at the Academy and in addition to all the major cutter CO’s who attend, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and many distinguished guests also come. It was very nerve-racking to present the colors in front of so much gold, knowing in the back of my mind they very well could be the ones to write my evaluations in a few years. The audience collectively had accomplished an unimaginable magnitude of good and at the end of the event Admiral Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, mentioned that my 3/c classmates and I would be the ones to take their place someday as future leaders of the service. In recognition of our small contribution at the event, he presented all nine of us on the line with his challenge coin – a highly regarded tradition in the service. On one side it reads his name, “Admiral Bob Papp” and Commandant, while the other reads “Shipmates Semper Paratus”.

 

Receiving Admiral Papp’s challenge coin didn’t add to my paycheck, nor did participating in that color guard event necessarily help my grade in Differential Equations, but in the long term that accomplishment is what sets the Academy apart. The idea that one coin can be worth more than a paycheck makes the nightly feeling of exhaustion just a little more satisfying.

 

More about Sarah.

 

From a Green Shield to Those Looking to Don One

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Corbett Photo As a 4/c, you don the green shield insignia. As a 3/c, you don the red shield insignia. 4/c year is but four weeks and three finals away from being over, 40 days from today if you count like I do. So here are my reflections and advice for those twenty eighteen-ers who happen to read this.

 

When I think of the colors green and red first thing that pops in my mind is a stop light. As a 4/c you are constantly moving. Its go go go, be here be there no stopping. You are always being asked to do more and push yourself further. That is just how the system works. I have squared my meals for nine months. Just this week the Class of 2017 was granted carry-on at meals. Life here moves so fast and just keeps going as a 4/c so you never take the time to stop and think about what you have done. It’s been nine months of not looking at my meals; I had not realized that until I stopped. The red shield. As I begin to see the end in sight and that red shield closer to my grasp I stop, as a red light would tell me to. I stop and think of what I have done and where I am going. I reflect and am humbled to know that I did something that I honestly cannot believe that I did… 2018 you will realize that it’s a tough life, but every moment is worth it if you stop and appreciate it. Problem is I am still green and I am moving too fast and only now, in the last few weeks, began to realize that stopping and reflecting is what needs to be done to fully appreciate what goes on here.

 

To the incoming class of 2018, congrats, you are shoving off into an unknown, new piece of your life that will challenge you beyond your limitations. While you are experiencing the summer, here are some survival tips. First off the summer is a game. The first day you will be given a few rules to start. You will play the game each day and learn new rules each day as you mess up, accidentally, but the cadre won’t see it as an accident. As you learn rules, remember them, the game starts anew at the sound of the bugle in the morning. Each rule and piece learned in the summer becomes crucial as the summer builds and as you approach the academic year. Don’t give up. The moment you give up will only be a moment away from being done. When you are being punished, know that those punishing you went through the same thing; everyone around you is with you and supporting you. No one wants you to fail; the summer is 90% mental and 10% physical. Stay strong and you will overcome anything you get thrown at you.

 

That is all I have for now, I will do another post before school lets out. Just to touch base with everyone and give a last few remarks to 2018 before you join me and the rest of the corps in the coming fall. Good luck all and stay classy!

~Corb (Shane.P.Corbett@uscga.edu)

 

More about Shane.

 

Rants on Rants on Rants

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Zwenger Photo So, sorry I missed the month of January but I became pretty busy last months and decided to do some self-reflecting while I was at it. Anyway, I guess I’ll start off by talking about school. Just like last semester I am taking mainly civil engineering classes, which is a blessing because I pulled out my best GPA last semester. This semester I am taking Environmental Engineering II, Steel Design, Soil Mechanics, Criminal Justice, and Nautical Science III. I have come to absolutely love the civil engineering department and all of the teachers that teach them. Doc Z and Doc Maz have been pretty inspirational especially whenever they give insight into the work that they did in the field. If I graduate, I plan to attempt to get into graduate school and get my masters; part of my drive to do this can be attributed to the phenomenal teachers we have here. Having said that, if you have any desire to become a civil engineer I would highly highly suggest coming to this fine institution. Alright, so enough school talk, I’m around that all the time anyway, BUT if you have questions about civil engineering or school in general email me.

 

Some of the self-reflecting that I had was on my past and how fortunate I am to have the parents that I have today. Instead of taking the yearly vacation to go to the beach, camping, or skiing, we would go on vacations to different countries. Which I think is one of the best parenting decisions they made for my sister and me. We went to many places as a family such as Japan and China multiple times. Additionally they let us go places with a group such as People to People (do they still exist?) to Australia and New Zealand or my soccer team to play against the Brazilians. Anyway, this definitely instilled a huge desire to travel to different places on the globe and see as much as I can in my entire lifetime. In the past couple of years, I had become pretty complacent about obtaining that goal which upsets me a little bit so I am trying to plan something this summer. “But how can you travel all over the place when you are so young with such little money?” you may be asking. Well, I plan to live out of one backpack and only stay in hostels or do some couch surfing (not familiar? Look it up!) while I am over in Europe. Additionally, buses are super cheap ways of getting from country to country over there so I will definitely be utilizing that. Currently I am looking for a travel buddy here at the Academy so I will see how that turns out in the next couple of months. Worst case scenario, I will travel solo, which is safe for those of you concerned already. Although it scares the life out of me being a pretty large introvert, from all the blogs that I have read it is extremely life changing for the good. Also, I think a huge way to grow is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and having to make the best of it. It bores and even scares me to think about doing the same thing every day for the rest of my life; for that reason, I hope to never have a typical nine to five job. It is way too redundant and leaves you no room to grow, I would much rather have adventure in my job and off time that have what has been called a “stable nine to five job.” Sorry now I am just ranting. Anyways if you want to talk about anything else I just wrote about or if you just need someone to talk to, shoot me an email.

 

Spencer.M.Zwenger@USCGA.edu 

 

Seriously, it helps me get my mind away from this place anyway. Hope to hear from you.

 



More about Spencer.

 

Worth It

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mayer Photo Last week was spring break. I really wish it was more than just one week, but I had desperately needed the time at home. This week so far has been great due to having gotten the break. For my own spring break I flew back to California to see my boyfriend, family, and friends. Others have come back from Israel, Cancun, and many other exciting places.

 

This upcoming weekend will be 2017 4/c Formal. A dance where our class crest is finally shown to the entire class. As 2017 Treasurer I have been working with the rest of 2017 class council and other volunteers to get the Formal designed, set up, and ready to go. It has been a lot of logistics, but I am really excited to see how it finally turns out.

 

There are only five people left in our class to pass the indoctrination boards. Once they pass soon afterwards we will have wardroom carry-on, and then full carry-on, meaning we will be able to be normal people.

 

Everyone has received their summer assignments, or billets for the firsties soon to be officers. I get to spend the entire summer in the Gulf region: 1st phase Eagle headed down to Brazil and such, and then reporting to Galveston, Texas, on the CGC Dauntless, a 210. I am with five others from 2017, and one from 2014. I don’t know the other cadets very well, but am excited and nervous to get underway and begin to learn about what I will really be doing in the Coast Guard.

 

I have also found that it took all the way through 1st semester, up to now, for me to really begin to improve on the skills that I desperately needed to work on, as well as adjust to all of what is required of me here. I feel happier and healthier after spring break, and through plenty of struggles have learned the RIGHT ways to deal with situations. So, yes, it is a big adjustment. I have been very happy here, but some personal issues have made it harder to adjust and focus on the Academy.

 

Never give up, it may seem like an eternity to get through challenges, but once they are over so much can be learned, and you can be proud to say you got through it. Swab Summer felt like an eternity when going through it, but now it’s seems an eternity ago. The first semester went by at least as fast as Swab Summer, and now time is flying. It is always worth it in the end.

 



More about Rachel.