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CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

Running Down a Dream

(Athletics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Culp Photo Actually, not really a dream… I never had grand aspirations of running a full marathon until last May. In fact, if you had told 4/c or 3/c me that I would ever run more than three miles at once, let alone 26.2, I would have run far, far, away from you. (Nah, scratch that. I would have power-walked, because I didn’t do that whole “running” thing.) But some switch flipped in 2/c me. My marathoner friends certainly influenced me, but I think the interest stuck when I realized that running actually doesn’t have to be miserable. I go at my own pace, on my own schedule, with my own goals and, believe it or not, running became one of my favorite hobbies. Maybe it’s because I know I’m taking care of myself; maybe it’s because my workouts are the 1 to 2 hours where I truly do get to be left alone; maybe it’s because I have seen a significant and rewarding increase in my fitness over the last couple of years. Regardless, I have, at this point, completed two half-marathons and a full marathon! 4/c and 3/c Abby are calling 1/c Abby insane right now; but, so far, running those miles is one of the most awesome blessings from God in my life.

 

Physical fitness is a crucial part of cadet education (hence physical fitness exams twice a year), but I’ve learned working doesn’t have to be some brutal task you drag yourself through miserably every day. The Academy allows you to explore many different athletic activities to find just the right fit for your interests and abilities. For some, that takes the form of a varsity team for the sport you always played in high school – baseball, soccer, swimming, basketball, rifle, sailing, and so on. Others jump into new clubs to investigate activities like ballroom dancing, equestrian sports, or fencing. For people like me who aren’t really into the competitive nature of varsity or even club athletics, you can snag your mandatory sports credit doing something low-key like intercompany sports, and focus your efforts on those individual hobbies that make you genuinely happy and remove stress. I’ve found my athletic niche in casual, fun runs around the New England area, despite coming in as an out-of-shape swab who avoided that dreaded activity…but thanks to some awesome runner friends and the Academy’s focus on physical fitness development, that’s all changed. I can’t wait for the next race!

 

More about Abby.

 

With Freedom Comes Responsibility

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2019) Permanent link
Silliman Photo So, at the Academy I see a lot of people struggle with academics. But for me it was different. I really struggled more on the military side of things. I remember entering 4/c year, and completely brain dead from Swab Summer, did not know really what I should do to approach the academic year. This is after being trapped in the unfree environment of Swab Summer for two months, where I was told everything I had to do. I the school year introduced a new set of challenges that I was not use to, and unlike in high school, I struggled to manage my time. I now had to get work done during the day as I did not have as much free time in the evenings. I now had to balance academic work with military responsibilities as well as the basic living responsibilities my parents took care of for me. What helped me get through my first semester as a fourth class was having a good set of leaders who helped me develop into a more effective follower.

 

The second semester was different. I had to find leadership outside of my immediate superiors for guidance. Probably the big thing I learned second semester at the Academy was that here people are surrounded by good leadership, so if someone is not getting the guidance they are looking for from their immediate superiors, there are plenty of other people they can turn to.

 

I also learned a lot about the type of leader I want to be, and I think it is important to understand that while leaders have expectations of their followers, followers also have expectations of their leaders. If people care about their followers, I feel it is important to care about what their followers think of them. Coming out of fourth class year and a great summer at both a cutter and a station, I felt in order for leaders to earn the trust and respect of their followers, they have to be observant of the personal challenges and obstacles their followers face beyond what they immediately see.

 

I have two fourth class of my own now that I am in charge of, and probably the greatest privilege that comes with 3/c year is that now I am in charge of someone else. But this is not just a privilege, it is my greatest responsibility. I think it is very easy, in the chaos of everything, to see how lucky my shipmates and I are to be here, but I feel now that I have made it this far, it is so much easier to remember how fortunate we are.

 

More about Derek.

 

Perseverant Cadet

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Taking a look at the past week, I thought it was important to share with you a time that has been harder for me to cope with than anything yet at this school. In the past few weeks I have learned what it means to be a leader amongst my shipmates, what it really means to be strong for shipmates and to support them through the roughest of waters.

 

It all started a week and a half ago when I went to a soccer game against Connecticut College to support my friends, called the Whale Cup. The game was introduced to the Corps of the Cadets with freshmen making whale noises into the microphone, and all were encouraged to attend the game wearing spirit gear. I donned my spirit T-shirt and a pair of black leggings, and headed down to the game. I sat with some friends and cheered the whole time, the game was highly attended and a lot of our senior leadership was in the stands.

 

The next day my company chief came to my room and informed me that I needed to go down with him to meet with the Assistant Commandant of Cadets. I found myself at the Commandant of Cadets conference table and there he sat in front of me due to the fact that I wore black leggings to the soccer game, and they had not been technically authorized for game attendance (they were allowed to be worn while working out). I was sentenced to two weeks of restriction and two marching tours and four work hours. All for wearing leggings. As a side note, I want you to know that I love being in the Coast Guard (see previous blogs) and I am super excited to graduate BUT this is not the end of my story.

 

Okay so I am restricted for two weeks, which means that I am not allowed to leave school at all or be out of uniform during the workday. Then I found out that my classmate Ricky Davies passed away this weekend. I had had every class with Ricky all through my time at the Academy, we were the same major and he was a dear friend. Dealing with this kind of tragedy was and is crazy for me. As an always very positive person, I have never really had to cope with such negativity and while I could come closer to the men’s soccer team to find comfort and support, the Academy never stops.

 

It actually hit me this week that being an officer or even being an adult in real life means that you can’t shut down once you are hit with even the worst news. Life doesn’t stop. In fact, the day after Ricky died, I had to help a teammate with a very serious issue, and after that, my company had an inspection that went poorly and we were punished for that further.

 

I hate to write such a negative blog (sorry again) but I just want you all to know that as much fun as I have here, it definitely takes a strong person, or a person who can learn to be strong to go through a place like this. The rewards are worth the effort, but none of it is easy. And it will never be the same for you as it is for someone else. Some people struggle with grades here, others with not being able to live like their friends at normal college, others with being so busy that you lose time for yourself. Just know that the friends you make and the lessons you learn are irreplaceable and that it really does challenge you to become bigger than yourself.

 

More about Lucy.

 

This Summer I Learned ______ About Myself

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo I always forget how many people read these blogs, so it comes as a surprise when people say they read my last entry. (If you’re reading this, hi, Cuzza and Doyle!)

 

One of the main Academy missions is the professional and leadership development of cadets. This is typically done through corps-wide lectures, discussions with company officers and chiefs, and the examples set by the upper-class. We also have leadership journals, usually done once or twice a semester. Our journals are due soon and I haven’t started a blog entry yet, so, to kill two birds with one stone, here’s a part of my leadership journal with the topic, “This Summer I Learned _____ About Myself.”

 

Every Academy summer has taught me new things about myself, but I’ve found that I’m also learning the same lessons every summer, just from a different angle. The importance of patience and perseverance are recurring lessons that I’m grateful to have had. As a swab, being patient helped me stay calm, which made it easier to accomplish a task. Likewise, as a cadre I found that being patient and encouraging was a more suitable leadership style for me. The swabs saw me as an approachable figure, were less afraid of asking questions, and therefore were able to effectively learn seamanship in a safe environment.

 

While I’ve learned a lot about myself this summer, I’ve also learned what I need to work on: public speaking skills. I’ve never been the most assertive person, and while I’ve become more apt to speak up, the navigation briefs I gave this summer were kind of rough. At the Academy, there are plenty of opportunities for me to work on this skill via cadet panels, classroom speeches, or simple practice.

 

More about Olivia.

 

Thank You CGA!

(Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo Throughout middle school and high school I hated who I was. I tried so hard in academics and athletics to try to compensate for what I saw as both a grave sin and a major character flaw. I excelled in my classes and played three sports every year of high school. Going to Catholic school for most of my life, I developed a limited world view on issues such as gay rights. This view that was formed by my sheltered small town world imposed countless shame for what I was feeling sexually. I hid a big part of my life from my family and friends for years and years while at the same time trying to live as an honorable person. When I came to the Academy, my life started to change little by little. I became more comfortable with who I was as I was accepted into a group that prided themselves on openness and non-judgment. I was able to form a confident self-identity in which I embraced my feelings. I now love who I am. I would like to thank the fine institution in which I have learned to uphold the highest morals and values. Thank you to an institution that has transformed me from a self-loathing individual to a confident leader. I have learned that you cannot be an effective leader until you understand your abilities and limitations. I am a part of the Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard is a part of me, and I am ready for any challenges that may come my way for the rest of my time as a cadet and as a new officer!

 

More about Jackie.