Skip Navigation Links
APPLY | LOGIN | CREATE AN ACCOUNT | PARENTS | PROSPECTIVE CADETS | VIRTUAL TOUR | ESPAÑOL | SEARCH
FacebookFlickrTwitterYou Tube
CADET BLOGS

cadet blogs

As Close to a Normal College Experience

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Wu Photo Finally, as a first-class cadet, I am having the closest experience to a normal college possible at CGA. Having a car makes the world of a difference! It was so nice having all of my stuff in my car and being able to drive back to the Academy in August.

 

As a firstie, we now have the privilege of going out on Thursday nights in addition to Friday nights, and unlimited Saturday to Sunday overnights. Also, as a Department Head, which is a minor leadership role, I have the privilege of liberty on Wednesday nights as well. As a second-class cadet, I never used Friday night liberty because I was limited to where I could go. However, now with a car, I am able to drive to parks with running trails and go to yoga classes in Mystic. There is a lot more freedom to go out and do my favorite activities and hobbies. It is even easier to go home now that I have a car with me. This past weekend, I was able to drive home after the CGA vs. MMA football game and surprise my mom for her birthday. She was not even expecting it because normally a trip home takes three hours on a train and then another hour or so of mass transportation from Grand Central Terminal back to my house. It is a tiring process compared to a two hours car drive home.

 

Whether going home for the weekend or just being out in the Connecticut area, it is nice to take a break from the Academy since it often encloses the feeling of stress within the barracks. Even when I do not go out on a day that I have liberty, I like knowing that I have that outlet. This lifestyle is completely different from fourth-class year and it is so weird seeing how far the class of 2015 has come!

 

More about Ellie.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Engelhardt Photo Greetings! Hopefully as your summer draws to an end and you begin to return to school you can look back on the amazing things that you did this summer – I know I certainly can.

 

After my first seven weeks of summer training at the Academy I came home for a deserved three weeks of leave. It was great being home, catching up with friends and family, and relaxing before beginning the 2nd half of my summer training.

 

When I returned to the Academy in mid-July, Swab Summer was already in full effect. It was definitely a new experience returning to Chase Hall and hearing swabs sounding off and running down the passage-ways. It was also quite the experience adapting to the challenge of having to avoid swabs during my prep week of cadre training, as the swabs were not supposed to know who the Eagle cadre were. As mentioned earlier, I had opted to be an Eagle cadre for Swab Summer, which meant that I would have the privilege to train the swabs on America’s Tall Ship, the USCGC Eagle, introducing many of them to their first taste of underway life and to the operational Coast Guard fleet.

 

As an Eagle cadre, my “prep” week was a little different than the majority of my classmates. Instead of learning how to properly encourage the swabs/AIMsters/cadet candidates through physical IT (like push-ups) or sounding off (yelling), my fellow Eagle cadre and I practiced the navigational skills that we had learned in our first two years of the Academy – including giving navigation briefs, using mobility boards, and practicing the role of a Conning Officer in the Academy’s simulators. We also got the opportunity to go to Mystic Seaport for a day. The Seaport is a local historical site that mimics a 19th century New England waterfront community. While there we learned more about sailing as well as celestial navigation and the various celestial phenomena. Lastly, during my “prep” week I took my physical fitness exam and my Standard Operating Procedure board to ensure that when I returned to the Academy after my two weeks aboard Eagle I could serve as an active cadre within Chase Hall.

 

Rest of 2/c Summer and USNA Beginning (Continued)  PDF 

 

More about James.

 

Back at the Academy

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo After my summer training program, I had three weeks of leave. I went home and spent time with my family and high school friends. I thought three weeks would be short compared to my 11 week summer program, but it was a lot different than any previous summer for me. For the past few years, I’ve had swim practices, lifeguarding, swim lessons, and summer reading projects. This year, I didn’t have to worry about any of that. It was weird because all my friends were working on internships or at minimum wage jobs, and I had more free time than ever.

 

When leave ended, it was back to the Academy. I thought it was going to be a tough adjustment, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I remember last year, Cadet Administrative Processing (CAP) week was really stressful as a 4/c. As a 3/c, it was a lot easier. Now that I can look around the halls, talk to people like normal, and look at my food, it’s a completely different experience. I spent CAP week attending trainings and welcome back speeches and packing into my new room and company. As a 3/c, I act as a role model to a 4/c. Through the week, I helped my 4/c get the signatures of all the upper-class in the company (a task every 4/c must complete) and then helped him study indoc.

 

Now, I’ve finished my first week of school. I am taking 18 credits this semester, but it already seems like a lot less work than last year. It is 1.5 credits less to be exact, but I don’t have any labs or math classes. I am starting to take major specific classes now, and as a Management major, that means a lot more focus on writing papers than solving math problems. My favorite class so far is Intro to Business and Management. I’m looking forward to seeing what this semester holds for me, as I know it will be completely different from 4/c year.

 

If you have any questions about any of my blogs, please feel free to contact me at Sarah.R.Ritchie@uscga.edu.

 

More about Sarah.

 

Remarkable Transformation

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Pourmonir Photo I would like to start by saying that the weirdest part of this year is definitely being called ma’am. It is believed that the word ma’am was first used in 1668. In today’s society the definition of the word ma’am is a word used to politely reference a queen, a woman that you do not know, or one that ranks above you in the military or police. So my first thought is that I am not royalty, so this word ma’am should not apply. Then when the fourth class continued to greet me as ma’am, my next thought is that they know my name so clearly this common courtesy should not apply either. That leaves me with only one option. They must be greeting me for the position I hold. My thoughts entering this year were that I no longer had to complete the menial tasks of a fourth class cadet, but that my ranking among the corps of cadets had not really shifted. This fallacy was quickly proven false, as I entered the year as Ms. Pourmonir. This sign of respect is used throughout every branch of the military. It still baffled me that one year could change so much. Not only did I become a third class cadet, but I now have responsibility. Not the fourth class kind that requires taking out the trash, but the kind that involves being a role model for those around me and setting standards for others to follow.

 

This school year came with a lot of changes, but the biggest for me was this. Being a role model and having the chance to change someone’s life. Helping them through what some believe to be the hardest year for cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy. I have two fourth class cadets that I share the responsibility of training and developing. I am in a place now where I can learn the fundamentals of leadership, through experience rather than in a classroom with a whiteboard. This leadership experience transforms each cadet into someone who will one day be leading the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. I am honored to have this opportunity, and wish everyone was able to experience the same remarkable transformation that we learn here at the Academy.

 

More about Keemiya.

 

Cadre Summer: Coastal Sail

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo Hey there CGA blog readers. As promised, I said I would write a blog about my coastal sail experience. Coastal Sail is a program with two objectives in my mind. First, we have to learn how to sail a 44-foot sail boat on our own. Second, we have to learn the most difficult type of leadership: leading peers.

 

The Coastal Sail program is two weeks long. The first few days are spent learning how to set sails, what lines control what, how to moor up to and depart from a dock, and recover a man overboard. Also, we load on all of the food we will need for the voyage. After that, we set sail. The voyage is from the Academy to Block Island, Block Island to Falmouth, Massachusetts, Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket, Nantucket to Hyannis, Hyannis to Woods Hole, Woods Hole to Newport, Newport to Stonington, and Stonington to the Academy. As you can see, we sailed a lot. We pulled into a different port every day, so we never had to sail at night, and we got to see some of every port.

 

I can’t say I had a favorite port. Every one of them was unique and cool. I’ve been to some of those places before, but seeing the marina side was totally different. I loved walking around the piers, seeing the different types of boats and people. I spent every port call with my buddy doing pretty much the same routine. We go for a run first to get a sense of the scene. Then we would walk around looking for ice cream spots and people watching. After we got ice cream, we would check out the boats, talk about the ones we would want, and imagine a life with enough money to afford some of the gigantic yachts we would see. I had a ton of fun in port, and my “routine” is a little bit of an oversimplification, but it makes the point.

 

My true passion during the trip was sailing. I had never sailed before Coastal Sail but I developed a passion for it. I didn’t learn everything there was to know about sailing a boat by the end, but I learned a ton. My passion underway was below decks doing navigation. I liked trying to figure out the optimal course to make us go faster, while trying to keep us in the relative direction we wanted to be going. My most memorable experience underway was sailing from Hyannis to Woods Hole. We were in 20 knots of wind and high seas. Everyone that went below decks was getting sea sick from the rolls, and we were heeled over almost thirty degrees. I spent about three to four hours below deck making sure we weren’t going to run aground, because we were transiting through a lot of shallow water, and with the wind and rolls it was hard to stay on course. It was a rough day. I have no idea how I didn’t get sea sick. But, we ended up making it safely to Woods Hole, so I felt like my efforts were worth it.

 

My leadership developed even more during coastal sail. I had two main lesson learned. First, leadership can be simplified down to accomplishing the mission and motivating people. Most people can tell someone else to do something that needs to be done, but that is only half of leadership. The other half is people. You have to be able to motivate people to want to do their job, and you have to take care of your people. If you can accomplish the mission and if you can figure out how to motivate your people, you will be a great leader. The second lesson I learned was more about what attributes people use to lead. For instance, one of my friends on my boat came into the program knowing how to sail. He had what is called expert power. His knowledge of sailing helped him to lead the rest of us because we didn’t know what we were doing for the first few days. Even after that, we still looked to him for his advice on specific sailing maneuvers. There are many other types of leadership. I’ve seen good leaders and I’ve seen bad leaders. As a result, I’ve tried to make myself the best leader I can be by reading books and reflecting on my experiences.

 

In the end, I loved Coastal Sail. I had a ton of fun, and I learned a lot. I would go again in a second. Looking back over the whole summer, I grew tremendously. That is a testament to the Academy as a 200-week leadership development program – it really works.

 

More about Hunter.