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cadet blogs

Academy Life Goes By Quick

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Racz Photo With the end of spring break came the beginning of the final stretch toward the end of 4/c year. It is crazy to look back and see how far I have come. It seems like just yesterday that I was walking through the arches on Reporting-In Day back in July. Everyone tells you that the Academy life goes by quick, but I never really comprehended that until now. I’ve accomplished a lot this year and I can’t believe that I will be a third class in a matter of months.

 

Toward the end of the month, the Class of 2017 passed boards. The end of the indoctrination process is a key milestone in the life of a cadet and it has been a huge relief to know that it is all over. With the passing of boards comes privileges and, of course, full carry-on. The light at the end of the tunnel is within sight and now all we can do is wait. Obtaining the privilege of full carry-on will make Academy life that much better and enjoyable.

 

Crew has been going well. My spring break was devoted to a training trip down in Clemson, South Carolina. The entire week was a great experience and I definitely enjoyed becoming closer with my teammates. The typical day went something like this: wake up for a morning row, go to lunch in the Clemson University dining hall, relax or nap for a few hours, go out for an afternoon row, eat dinner at the dining hall, go back to the hotel to relax, and then repeat. It was a grueling week, but fun and beneficial nonetheless. I felt that I definitely improved my rowing skill on that trip. I look forward to using what I learned during the week, and apply it to my rowing back at the Academy. As a freshman, I am fortunate enough to have made the varsity boat. It is rare for a freshman to make varsity, but I will do my best to embrace the opportunity. We start races soon, so I look forward to that.

 

If you have any questions about crew, 4/c year, or the Coast Guard Academy in general, always feel free to contact me. Thanks for reading!

 

More about Benjamin.

 

Sailing in 30 Degree Weather

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Kuntz Photo For the first time in my life, I didn’t make the twenty-two hour road trip from home to our house in Florida for Spring Break, instead spent it up north in Maryland with the sailing team for spring training. I was kind of bummed not to be going somewhere warm or with my friends who went to places like Cancun or Puerto Rico, but all in all it was an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

 

Back home, I only sailed from late May until around September when soccer season started, and Lake Erie freezes in the winter which makes dinghy sailing hard (although we have some awesome friends who do ice sailing, it’s not really my thing). Anyway, I’ve never had to deal with dry suits or sailing in 30 degree weather! I can say it definitely has not been my favorite, and I am counting down the days until the weather gets warm enough where the ice isn’t forming on the boom…

 

We sailed out of St. Mary’s College and practiced on the water almost every day. It was really cool to be with everyone and be away from the Academy. I really got close with some of the people on the team, especially some of the other 4/c who I didn’t really get a chance to get to know that well in the fall! Coming back was way easier than some of my friends here who had to leave the warm beach to come back to Connecticut. At least we were in the cold, miserable weather the whole time so it wasn’t as much of a shock. Life’s all about perspective!

 

More about Savannah.

 

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 Coast Guard to Army and Back

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kloo Photo Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) as part of the Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP). It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The people there were fantastic. My two roommates were extremely accommodating, explaining everything from how to get haircuts to traditions for football games. The Army crew team is an amazing group of guys who welcomed me with open arms and ergs. It was my pleasure to compete with them. All of my instructors were extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to help when I had a question. Obviously West Point is different than the Coast Guard Academy and I wanted to highlight the differences between two factors: academics and cadet leadership.

 

Going to another service academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something that I couldn’t pass up. It was also great for putting my time at CGA in perspective. In general, I found the academics at USMA to be less rigorous than at CGA, in particular, the lab periods were extremely limited due to West Point’s schedule. Additionally, classes at USMA meet for an average of 2.5 hours a week for a 3-credit class whereas Coast Guard classes meet 3 hours per week, meaning that there is less class time per week. At USMA, this means slightly lighter class loads but a longer semester in order to meet the required class time. Due to their size though, West Point offers a much larger selection of classes and majors than CGA does.

 

On a military and leadership note, I think that West Point has a more cadet run chain of command. The brigade staff at West Point truly runs the Corps of Cadets. As a second class cadet (they call it a cadet sergeant) you are in charge of four to six underclassmen. The equivalent level of responsibility at Coast Guard is reserved for seniors, instead of juniors. This exposes cadets to command earlier in their career. Because USMA is so much larger than CGA, the companies and their company commanders have much more autonomy than at CGA. The USMA Corps of Cadets is a great unit and I was proud to be a part, even if only for a semester.

 

I was extremely grateful for this unique opportunity. I was able to see how the Army does things, and I was hopefully able to improve my personal leadership ability and bring something valuable back to the Coast Guard Academy.

 

More about Alex.

 

So Much Going On

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cantrell Photo This past month has been so much fun and very eventful! I went home for spring break and was able to see my family and friends. The weather was PERFECT down there and it was a great break from the cold (yes it is still cold up here…actually if you ask me, it is FREEZING!). Like all things, spring break flew by and before I knew it I was on a flight back up. I don’t get that pit in my stomach anymore when I cross the bridge because I really do love it here. I have so many great friends and teachers and I love socializing with everyone and being able to always be on the go. The Academy really does grow on you and I have accepted the fact that it is my home away from home.

 

The weekend I got back from spring break I helped at a children’s fair in Mystic. I really enjoyed playing games with the kids and seeing them so excited when they got to pick their prize out of the bag. It’s a nice change of pace to involve yourself with kids and it was a nice break from the Academy.

 

This past weekend was Castle Dance for the first class cadets and I was able to go as a date and it was SO MUCH FUN! The group I was with got a house a couple of hours away and we spent the weekend there. It was great to see friends from other schools and be able to dress up and go to the dance. I love dancing so I was excited to go and dance with friends.

 

This upcoming month is hectic with school (as it always is at the end of the semester). I have a couple of papers due, presentations, test, quizzes, daily homework, and then, naturally, the infamous exams. Of course this is one of the reasons I am here so I can’t complain too much. I just stress out thinking about all the due dates, but like everything it will all fall into place and I will get it done on time.

 

OH! How could I forget…we received our summer assignments a couple of weeks ago and this summer I will be going to CGC Valiant and Sector Honolulu, Hawaii. I am beyond excited to get out to the fleet and experience the Coast Guard. Other than Eagle, I have not been aboard a Coast Guard cutter so I am extremely grateful I can experience one before I become an ensign.

 

Hope everyone’s semester is going as great as mine is and you all are staying busy with school, sports, and community service. As always, don’t hesitate with any questions!

 

More about Sara.